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Flushing Town Hall welcomes spring with first-ever Holi music, dance festival

Mar. 3, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed

Flushing Town Hall is welcoming spring with its first-ever Holi music and dance festival featuring performances by the Srijan Dance Company and Apoorva Mudgal Ensemble on Saturday, March 18. 

The event, Celebrate Holi! a celebration of the new beginnings that come with the changing of the seasons — will begin at 2:15 p.m. and is sponsored by the Guru Krupa Foundation, which recently announced a $50,000 donation to support the Holi festival and the ninth annual Diwali Festival in the fall.

“The Guru Krupa Foundation has been a supporter of the Diwali program at Flushing Town Hall since 2019, and this year, we’re very happy to extend this support to the Holi program as well,” said Mukund Padmanabhan, founder of the Guru Krupa Foundation. 

The Holi and Diwali programs at Flushing Town Hall are a great occasion for visitors to come together and learn about and celebrate popular Indian festivals and culture, according to Padmanabhan. 

“They promote cross-cultural integration and harmony and also provide a platform to showcase creativity, as many of the art, dance and music performances are fusions of Indian and other forms,” Padmanabhan said. 

Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall’s executive and artistic director, said she’s looking forward to celebrating spring’s beginning with the great festival. 

“The Guru Krupa Foundation has been a wonderful partner to Flushing Town Hall, and this generous donation is another example of their selflessness and commitment to celebrating Indian culture and promoting cultural understanding,” Kodadek said. 

Holi, known as the Festival of Colors, is one of the most popular festivals in Hinduism. The festival is celebrated as a way to welcome spring and is seen as a new beginning where people can release all their inhibitions and start fresh.

Traditionally, festival participants throw powder dye into the air, covering all in attendance with vibrant colors. For some, the rich colors represent starting a vibrant new life. For others, washing off the dye at the end of the day represents cleansing oneself of evils and demons and a new commitment to living a good life.

This year, those attending the Flushing Town Hall festival will throw colorful scarves and confetti to celebrate. 

The Srijan Dance Company and its artistic director Abha Roy will join the Apoorva Mudgal Ensemble for a concert to celebrate the new season. The festival will feature performances of devotional and Hindustani classical raga music, traditional Kathak dance, a dance drama of Holi, folk dances and more. 

The theme of this show is celebrating love and forgiveness.

Roy is the artistic director of Srijan Dance Center and Flushing Town Hall’s annual Diwali Festival. She is a master of Kathak dance, who studied under the guidance of 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. 

Roy 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 venues such as Lincoln Center, Flushing Town Hall, Queens Museum, NYC Cultural Festival and many more. 

The Srijan Dance Company, founded by Roy in 2001, has performed at Flushing Town Hall and festival stages throughout New York and the U.S. Featured musicians from this group are Tabla-Naren Budhakar and Gulam Mirasi. 

The Apoorva Mudgal Ensemble features the serene vocals of Agra-born (North India) and New York-based Hindustani singer and composer Apoorva Mudgal, arranged to Ria Modak’s classical guitar, and Yacouba Sissoko’s Kora (African harp) to make for transcendental performances of the Urdu Ghazal, Hindavi folk and Punjabi Sufi Kalaam. 

In-person tickets are $15 and $10 for members of Flushing Town Hall, seniors, children and students with ID. Tickets must be purchased in advance; they will not be available at the door. Click here for more details and to purchase tickets.

For the venue’s full schedule of 2023 winter events, click here

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