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Queensborough Community College dance program holds annual spring concert

May. 15, 2023 By Ethan Marshall

The dance program at Queensborough Community College put on its annual spring concert at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center on May 11 and May 12, during which students performed choreography by multiple guest artists.

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Queensborough Community College students perform in the annual dance workshop in the college’s new performing arts center. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

The guest artists for whom the dancers choreographed included Raphael Xavier, Robert Battle, Bakary Fall and Queensborough Community College Associate Professor of Dance Emily Berry. The program’s students took the audience through an eight-piece performance, featuring both ensemble and solo acts.

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Queensborough Community College students perform in the annual dance workshop in the college’s new performing arts center. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

Xavier’s work, “Tea in the Sahara,” retells the classic Lewis Carroll story “Alice in Wonderland” from an Afrocentric perspective. Battle’s “Strapped” is an ensemble work created when he was directing his company, Battleworks. Fall’s “Baobab Spirit” presents Sabar, the national dance of Senegal. “Moving Through” by Berry explores grief inspired by and in collaboration with the student dancers.

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Queensborough Community College students perform in the annual dance workshop in the college’s new performing arts center. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

“This is an exciting couple of nights because this is our first time back in QPAC in five years,” Berry said. “It’s so wonderful to be in this newly, beautifully renovated theater.”

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Queensborough Community College students perform in the annual dance workshop in the college’s new performing arts center. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

In addition to being the college’s associate professor of dance, Berry is also the founding director and co-creator of B3W Performance Group, a social impact arts organization. B3W is committed to collaboration, as well as reflecting and revealing the world we live in through community-building workshops and multi-disciplinary performances.

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Queensborough Community College students perform in the annual dance workshop in the college’s new performing arts center. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

“Our professional and rigorous training is designed to help students of all levels reach their goals in the field of dance,” Health, Physical Education and Dance Assistant Professor Nicole McClam said. “With our workshops, we provide a unique opportunity for aspiring artists to develop lifelong career skills.”

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Queensborough Community College students perform in the annual dance workshop in the college’s new performing arts center. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

Following the performances, two of the 14 dancers in the program were presented with awards. Zarina Medwinter received the Rising Star Award and Reyona Oyama received the Evelyn Carlin Award, which is presented to the performer with an impeccable work ethic and has been an all-around phenomenal part of the world of dance.

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Queensborough Community College students perform in the annual dance workshop in the college’s new performing arts center. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

Queensborough Community College Dance Instructor Kevin McEwan served as the rehearsal director for the performance of Baobob Spirit. A lecturer in traditional African dance ethnography, McEwen has presented his research at numerous conferences, including the Season of Dance in Barbados and the African Theatre Association’s Annual International Conference in Nigeria. His tireless dedication to supporting young people led to the creation of a foundation for him to start his own dance company, the Kofago Dance Ensemble, where he provides training and performance opportunities to young aspiring performing artists.

Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane.

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