Queens Theatre, SOLE Defined, and Queensborough Dance Festival team up for Summer Vibez on July 25
Queens Theatre brings together the electrifying talents of D.C. based SOLE Defined and local dance companies from the Queensboro Dance Festival (QDF) for a sensational 60 minutes of a cultural dance experience streaming on Queens Theatre’s website, YouTube and Facebook channels on July 25, 2020, at 1:00pm. The program includes four integrated performances by QDF companies’ dancers choreographed by SOLE Defined artists, a live dance class for the public conducted by Crishon Jerome and a digital dance party for all by DJ RBI featuring dancers from QDF companies.
Special guests include Hamilton’s Tamar Greene & actress Lindsay Roberts, STOMP’s Krystal Renée, Rose Rabbit Lie’s Kenji Igus, and dance companies of Queensboro Dance Festival performing work by SOLE Defined, including Cole Collective (tap), Flamenco Latino (Flamenco), Mala’s Odissi (Indian dance), Exquisite Chill (tap), FANIKE! African Dance Troupe (West African), and Gotham Dance Theater (street jazz). Each company was paired with a SOLE Defined company member to learn and rehearse a new work over the last 4-5 weeks while bringing their own distinct dance training to the process. Each dancer then self-taped the choreography based on specific guidelines. It was then edited to combine with others for the final performance.
“With this project, we’ve brought our favorite collaborators together for a special, joyful event that our community will love. We were proud to present SOLE Defined at Queens Theatre at the start of our 19/20 season – they have extraordinary talent and their positive energy is infectious. Queensboro Dance Festival has been in residence at Queens Theatre for the past two seasons and is the perfect partner for a project that celebrates dancemakers and the power of dance to connect people,” said Executive Director Taryn Sacramone.
Ryan K. Johnson, Artistic Director of SOLE Defined, adds, “Queens Theatre continues to cultivate innovative ways to support and connect with the community by creating accessible programming that represents the demographic of Queens. The QDF hold space for multifaceted artists to showcase their work, which inspires generations of people.”
SOLE Defined is the intersection of music, movement, and imagination, providing a multifaceted experience promoting an understanding and appreciation for African-American percussive dance forms rooted in the African Diaspora. Under the Artistic Direction of Ryan K. Johnson & Quynn Johnson, SOLE Defined has performed on stages across the globe, including The World Children’s Festival in Italy, International Cajon Festival in Lima, Peru, DancEncore International Dance Festival, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Perform- ing Arts, Lincoln Center Education Clark Theater, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Jacobs Pillow, The Shakespeare Theater, The Smithsonian Discovery Theater, Dance Place, DC Mayor’s Awards, The Hip Hop Theater Festival, Harlem Stage, Queens Theater and more! www.soledefined.com | @soledefinedlive
“Queensboro Dance Festival is thrilled to partner with Queens Theatre and SOLE Defined in the spirit of dance culture exchange,” said QDF Director Karesia Batan. The Queensboro Dance Festival is an annual summer tour of performances and classes featuring all Queens-based dance companies of diverse cultures and styles. QDF tours Queens theaters, parks, plazas, libraries, and street events, bringing local dance to neighborhood communities to promote cross-cultural exchange. The festival also connects its dancers to various career resources in Queens. QDF’s mission is to strengthen the dance community in Queens and garner a greater appreciation of Queens dance. @queensborodancefestival
Queens Theatre is a performing arts center located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Since temporarily closing due to COVID-19, QT has launched a number of digital programs and events: Queens Theatre at Home. All information can be found at www.queenstheatre.org
About Queens Theatre
Queens Theatre is the premier performing arts venue in Queens. Queens Theatre’s mission is to provide quality and diverse performing arts activities that are economically and geographically accessible to the 2.2 million residents of Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the nation, and the surrounding metropolitan region. To foster greater cultural awareness and appreciation, the Theatre presents and produces programs that reflect this diversity and features international, national and local artists. Queens Theatre’s facilities, located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, have been closed since early March due to COVID-19. During the closure, the Theatre has launched Queens Theatre At Home, a digital programming initiative providing cultural, community, and educational activities, including moderated discussion groups, workshops and seminars for students, live performances and play readings.
About SOLE Defined
Artistic Director Ryan Johnson [@rkj.dance] is an award-winning Artist, who seeks to provoke, inspire, and hold space for cultural dialogue and reflection by presenting historically informed, intellectually rigorous, and genre-bending performance and dance engagement activities. His work has been performed globally throughout Africa, North, South, and Central America, Southeast Asia, and on stages including Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Lincoln Center Clark Theater and The John F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts, along with commissioned new works by Universities across the United States. Johnson’s performance career includes The Beatles LOVE & One Drop by Cirque Du Soleil, STOMP, Step Afrika!, Broadway’s After Midnight Tour, Rose Rabbit Lie at The Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino, and was a resident tap dancer for The Washington Ballet’s The Great Gatsby performances at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. He continues to weave together the techniques, history, and aesthetics of Tap Dance, Body Percussion, Stepping, and Theater to forge works that reclaim Black narratives. Ryan K. Johnson actively engages in cultivating conversations and systems to support the equality of Black, Indigenous and Artist of Color.
About Queensboro Dance Festival
The Queensboro Dance Festival is an annual summer tour of performances and classes throughout Queens neighborhoods, featuring all Queens-based dance companies of diverse cultures and styles. QDF’s goal is to serve the Queens dance community and greater Queens public, elevate the value & reputation of Queens dance, and represent a slice of our diverse cultures, neighborhoods, and dance styles by coming together each season. To date, QDF is a growing network of over 120 diverse Queens dance companies and reaches about 10,000 people each season. Established in 2014, The Queensboro Dance Festival (QDF) was created out of a need for a more accessible, unified sense of community among Queens dancers. The mission of the festival is to strengthen the dance community in Queens, and garner a greater appreciation for Queens dance. In 2019, QDF was named the Best in Arts & Humanities with the Long Island City Game Changer award and certificate recognition from Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan. QDF is produced by The Physical Plant.
Quynn Johnson is an award-winning choreographer, nationally credentialed teaching artist, author, and educator. As the co-founder of SOLE Defined, Ms. Johnson has presented work at Lincoln Center Education, Jacobs Pillow, and the Internacional Festival de Cajon. Quynn is the John F Kennedy Center Local Dance Commissioning Project 2020 Awardee.
Jodeci Milhouse is blazing her way in the industry through music and dance. Originally from Augusta Georgia, Ms. Milhouse started her professional career at the young age of 13. Her professional credits include Lincoln Center for Performing Arts , Jacobs Pillow, Shakespeare Theatre, Disney, The Kennedy Center, and Showtime at the Apollo as well as international performances and numerous instructional dance videos. Jodeci is currently pursuing music and performs both nationally and internationally with Sole Defined.
Max Pollak‘s critically acclaimed, ground-breaking approach soars across multiple styles and cultures, merging Afro-Cuban and other folkloric music and dance with tap, voice and body percussion. An accomplished performer, award-winning choreographer, educator, and composer, the Austrian native is also co-creator of the off-Broadway hit show Carmen, to Havana and Back. His CD RumbaTap was released in 2015.
Ana Tomioshi is a Brazilian multi-style dancer. She has performed at some of the most important theaters, dance, and music events in Brazil, such as São Paulo Municipal Theater, Joinville Dance Festival and Rock in Rio. Ana is also an alumna of The School at Jacob’s Pillow. She is a member of the Dance Companies Sole Defined, based in Washington DC and Music From the Sole, based in New York City.
Queensboro Dance Festival Companies
Cole Collective (Astoria) Cole Collective is a professional tap dance company founded in 2014 by choreographer Nicole Ohr. They have performed throughout the tri-state area in different festivals and shows such as Dance Astoria, Queensboro Dance Festival, Choreographer’s Collective, Choreographer’s Canvas and Choreographer’s Forum. @coletaps85
Flamenco Latino (Jackson Heights)
Aurora Reyes is a respected flamenco dancer, choreographer, and teacher in the Flamenco communities of Spain and New York. She is of Spanish descent, which inspired her inquiry into flamenco. Aurora’s collaboration with composer Basilio Georges produced Flamenco Latino, a NY-based Flamenco dance company, fusing Flamenco and Afro-Caribbean traditions. www.flamencolatino.com @flamencolatinonyc
Mala’s Odissi (Forest Hills)
Mala Desai is an international dancer, teacher, choreographer. Inspired by life experiences, she creates productions synthesizing various dance techniques. Recipient NYFA Scholarship & Immigrant Artist Fellowship. Current Artistic Director, Mala’s School of Odissi Dance, Faculty, YICG, Guest, NYU World Dances, 2017 Art Producer, Artist Commission Project, QCA. https://sites.google.com/site/malasodissi/ @MalaDOdissi
Exquisite Chill (Jamaica)
A collective of professional musicians and vocalists rotated and paired with an ensemble of up and coming foot musicians called A-Tone-Meant conducted by Omar Edwards. The company was formed to promote tap as an American Folk art of sound and preserve and perpetuate its traditions. www.omaredwardsnyc.com @a.tone.ment @omaredwardsandcompany
FANIKE! African Dance Troupe (Springfield Gardens)
Patricia Ghizamboule Robinson is an Artistic Director, choreographer and teacher. Her artistic focus is grounded in the traditional and cultural arts of Africa, specifically West Africa. As a former dancer and sabar drummer with several NY premier African dance companies, she has decades of performance experience. www.fanikeafricandance.com @fanike_dance_troupe
Gotham Dance Theater (Sunnyside)
Marc Nuñez is a Queens-based Choreographer/Dancer. Credits include: Gotham Dance Theater (Founder/Director), Rihanna, Todrick Hall, BARE Dance Company (Mike Esperanza), Entity Contemporary, Peter Pan, Newsies, The Tank (Dance Curator), BFA in Dance with Excellence in Choreography (University of California, Irvine). Member of Actors Equity. Represented by CESD Talent Agency. www.gothamdancetheater.com @GothamDanceTheater