Flushing Town Hall Announces 8th Annual Diwali Festival
Saturday, November 5
11:00 am and 2:00 pm
Flushing Town Hall
In-Person Tickets: $15/$12 Members; Virtual: $7/$5 Members
The festival will feature a rangoli art competition and display, a dance party and performances, and delicious Indian cuisine
(Flushing, N.Y.) – On Saturday, November 5, Flushing Town Hall will host its eighth annual Diwali Festival—a celebration welcoming audiences of all ages and cultures and a very popular event each year at the Hall.
Abha Roy, a master teaching artist and artistic director of the Srijan Dance Company, will share the stage with IMGE: Ishita Mili Global Exposé for a performance rooted in Indian classical, hip-hop, and contemporary dance. Attendees can also enjoy a dance party with instruction on traditional moves from Roy, a Kathak classical dancer, and Mili, a Bharatanatyam dancer. Festival goers can also explore traditional rangoli design with artist Anju Gupta, savor Indian foods with Queens Curry Kitchen, and discover ayurvedic treatments with Shweta Parmar.
The Indian holiday of Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, 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. It 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 celebrated by all groups regardless of religious affiliation as a time of renewal and growth.
At the event, Flushing Town Hall will present the artwork of the winners of its Rangoli Design Competition. Rangoli is an age-old art form from India. Derived from a Sanskrit word meaning “rows of colors,” rangoli is a celebratory Hindu art form usually drawn in homes or courtyards with the hope of inviting blessings from the gods.
Abha Roy has led the Flushing Town Hall Diwali Festival since its beginnings. A master of Kathak dance, she studied under the guidance of the late great Guru Kundan Lal Gangani and attained professional precision under the training of Pt. Durgalal when she completed her specialization in Kathak Kendra, New Delhi. She represented the Indian Council of Cultural Relations and has taught and performed in South America, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago. She has also performed throughout Europe and at venues such as Lincoln Center and the Queens Museum, among others.
Roy lost her beloved husband and creative partner, Sandeep Roychowdhury, to COVID in June of 2021, when he contracted the illness while on a trip to India to help care for family, and she dedicated last year’s festival to his memory and their love.
“We are so fortunate to work with the talented Abha Roy, who has helped our community to heal and experience joy again—even as she’s navigated her own painful loss,” says Flushing Town Hall Executive & Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek. “We are a resilient community, and I look forward to the delicious smells, lively dancing, and vibrant colors soon to fill our Hall for Diwali.”
New to the festival this year is the Ishita Mili Global Exposé, founded by Ishita Mili, a dance company using Indian classical moves (like the mudras hand gestures), as well as hip-hop and contemporary dance vocabularies to tell new and powerful global stories. IMGE transcends regional and cultural boundaries by creating an encompassing dance language that can speak to anyone.
“We are excited to celebrate Diwali with our audiences, to welcome new performers, and to display the great Rangoli submissions we’ve received through our competition this year,” says Director of Education and Public Programs at Flushing Town Hall Gabrielle M. Hamilton. “We will be selecting artwork in five categories (kids, teenagers, adults, seniors, and professional artists) and displaying their winning designs along our exterior fence along Northern Boulevard.”
The Rangoli competition is accepting submissions through October 21, 2022. A jury will select one winner in each group, who in addition to having their work displayed, will receive free, one-year memberships to Flushing Town Hall and pairs of tickets to any upcoming programs of their choice. For submission instructions, visit: https://www.flushingtownhall.org/rangoli-competition
The 2022 Diwali Festival will be held in person and also streamed live on YouTube to serve global audiences.
Anyone can purchase in-person tickets to attend the Festival, taking place on Saturday, November 5, for either the 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM show or the 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM show at Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Blvd. Flushing, Queens.
In-person tickets are $15 and $10 for members of Flushing Town Hall and children. Tickets must be purchased in advance; they will not be available at the door. Virtual tickets are $7 and $5 for members. Visit https://www.flushingtownhall.org/diwali-festival for more details and to purchase tickets.
This program is generously sponsored by the Guru Krupa Foundation.
Although as of March 7, 2022, New York City has relaxed its COVID policies for indoor arts and entertainment events, Flushing Town Hall will maintain its prior policy for the safety of its audiences, artists, and staff. This policy will remain in effect until further notice: Flushing Town Hall requires all visitors, performers, and staff to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 with matching identification. Additionally, masks will be required at all times. For more details on Flushing Town Hall’s Covid-safety measures and vaccine requirements, please visit: https://www.flushingtownhall.org/covid-safety.
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