Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning to Host Free Two-Day Festival Featuring Diverse NYC Choreographers and Dancers – QNS.com

The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL) will host the Making Moves Dance Festival (MMDF)an annual landmark event promoting new, emerging and underrepresented choreographers, dancers and dance companies from Queens and New York.

The free two-day festival will take place on the outdoor stage of the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, located at 153-10 Jamaica Ave., on Friday and Saturday, September 23 and 24, at 7 p.m. both days.

This year’s theme is “Carpe Diem”, which means to seize the day.

“One thing the recent past has taught us is that time is precious – and perhaps most importantly, time to create,” said Courtney Ffrench, Artistic Director of JCAL. “As we were thinking about the themes for this year’s festival, the phrase ‘carpe diem’ – seize the day – came to mind. Because there is something irresistible, even urgent, in the work of these choreographers and dancers, we felt it only in their applications. Their work teaches why you have to seize the day – why you should never let a day pass without a gesture, an act of thoughtful creativity.

Now in its 13th year, MMDF is a testament to the rich diversity of Queens and New York as it features traditional and contemporary dance styles, from Indian classical to tap and ballet. Alongside the festival’s outdoor presentation, audiences can experience each company’s process, as all rehearsals will take place on JCAL’s outdoor stage, visible from Jamaica Avenue.

After an open appeal process, JCAL’s professional jurors selected nine New York-based dance companies for this year’s MMDF. Commissioned artists will receive $3,000 to create a new 30-45 minute work; emerging artists will receive $1,250 to present a work of 15 to 25 minutes; and early career artists will receive a $750 stipend to submit a 15-25 minute work.

“We feel pride, warmth, even a little admiration for this year’s MMDF artists,” said Leonard Jacobs, JCAL’s executive director. “Partly because they are an inherently diverse group that speaks to the strength of our community, but also partly because, as individuals and collectively, they harness the power of their creativity in all that they do – a crucial skill in these bracing times.These artists understand that the act of creation, whatever the subject or theme, is about the gift of freedom of expression.

On Friday, September 23, JCAL will also present works created as part of the Redtail Artist Residencies, a partnership with JCAL supported by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation. Redtail offers choreographers and composers three months of free rehearsal space at JCAL each year, as well as opportunities for public performance.

This year, Hannah Garner will present “Slumber (Duet 2021)”, which she wrote, directed and will perform. The work is presented in collaboration with Courtney Barth.

JCAL’s Making Moves Dance Festival is supported by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Harkness Foundation for Dance, Howard Gilman Foundation, Con Edison and Resorts World New York City. It was made possible with public support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Mayor Eric Adams’ office, New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, and Councilwoman Nantasha. Williams and Selena Brooks-Powers.

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