Flushing Town Hall will celebrate the Festival of Lights with its fifth annual Diwali Festival, a Diwali Dance Party that features DJ Rekha and Abha Roy in a mash-up of Bhangra and Kathak music and dance styles, on November 2, 2019.
The celebration also will include cooking workshops, dance lessons, traditional foods, and family-friendly activities such as henna painting, a jewelry workshop, Indian fashions and games.
“Diwali is a festive time of gift-giving, charity and sharing in feasts with loved ones,” said Ellen Kodadek, Executive and Artistic Director of Flushing Town Hall. “We are excited to continue this tradition for the fifth time at Flushing Town Hall and to provide an experience that fills all senses: musical performances, classical dance, traditional food, henna painting, fashion and much more.”
Diwali, or Deepavali, comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “row of lights.” It is a day of solidarity, where the soft light of diyas – or oil-wick candles – illuminate streets and homes, banishing the darkness of ignorance and suffering. Diwali began as a part of an ancient harvest festival, which celebrated the fertility of the earth and prosperity of the new harvest. Though Diwali has taken on a significant meaning in Hinduism, in India, it is still celebrated by all groups regardless of religious affiliation as a time of renewal and growth.
The 2019 Diwali Festival is supported in part by the Guru Krupa Foundation, with additional support from New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Mayor Bill de Blasio; The National Endowment of the Arts; The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; Con Edison; and The New York Community Bank Foundation.
The three-hour celebration features DJ Rekha, who returns to the stage for a Bhangra dance party, and master Indian dancer Abha B. Roy and the Srijan Dance Center dance, who will present traditional kathak dance dramas. Prior to the performance, each artist will introduce to her form and invite to learn traditional Kathak dance moves and bhangra folk dances mixed with hip-hop, according to a press release. Then hit the dance floor!
Attendees also will enjoy henna painting, Indian games, rangoli (decorative design) workshops, a dance workshop, and a cooking workshop led by Nupur Arora, owner of Queens Curry Kitchen. Arora will cook mouth-watering authentic Indian dishes, including chickpea biryani, broccoli stuffed flat bread, and boondi raita (chickpea & yogurt), and Queens Curry Kitchen also be have samosas, paneer tikka, laddoo and chai tea for sale. Additionally, Marriellen Nya Abba Gittens will demonstrate traditional Indian beading and her work will be sold at the celebration; and Shamsum Elite will share her Indian fashions.
The event runs from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Blvd. Flushing, Queens.
Additionally, Flushing Town Hall will hold two school shows for grades four to eight on Friday, November 1st at 10:00 AM and 11:30 AM.
Abha Roy has blazed a trail of her own in the sphere of Kathak, a classic northern Indian dance form. Abha, who is a dance Teaching Artist at Flushing Town Hall, started her career as a classical dancer in 1984, completing her diploma in Kathak under the guidance of late great Guru Kundan Lal Gangani.
DJ Rekha is a London-born, Flushing-raised musician, DJ, producer, curator and activist. She has been credited with pioneering Bhangra music in North America. Bhangra a dance and genre of music originates from Punjab a region divided by Indian and Pakistan. Basement Bhangra NYCs longest continuous monthly club night ran from 1997-2017. DJ Rekha has performed at the Obama White House and internationally.