Flushing Town Hall: At the Fore of Language Immersion

The benefits of language immersion are well-documented. The more a student is immersed in a language, the more likely that they will be flexible and critical thinkers, better problem solvers, and high achievers.

Flushing Town Hall Education works with bi-lingual master teaching artists from all over the world. They conduct their workshops and residencies in their native language alone, in English, or in both languages. The students they reach reinforce their language learning as they become culturally immersed and gain a greater understanding of different cultures and traditions.

Our current roster of languages span the globe – and speak to our mission or providing global arts for a global audience: French, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish and Taiwanese.

For educators wishing to engage with us, here are our current offerings:

FRENCH

African dance with Vado Diomande from the Ivory Coast

Introduce your students to the rhythms of the Ivory Coast through a combination of dance and drumming workshops, assemblies or residencies. Students are introduced to a series of dance steps that are put together with the drum rhythms. Students also learn how the drum and dancing fit together with live accompaniment. This program can be developed into an 8-week residency with a culminating performance.

HINDI

Indian dance & yoga with Abha Roy 

Students will be introduced to Kathak- the classical dance of Northern India. This dance is centuries years old and is used to tell stories that originated in Hindu temples. The dancers become actors who use spinning and posing to tell a story. The diversity of India’s culture and traditions is also demonstrated with a variety of Indian folk dances from the entire country. In each session, students learn Indian dance steps with a focus on storytelling.

ITALIAN

Blues/Jazz with Carol Sudhalter

Students will listen to blues recordings with special attention to the lyrics which demonstrate the blues’ expressive nature. The class will talk about their own emotions and select one emotion to focus on for the song’s theme. Students will write a sentence or two at a time, ending up with a blues that expresses the described experience in a whole new way. Through the process of turning the emotion into a lyric and a melody, which is then sung with class support, the students experience the process of metamorphosis, and catharsis, through art.

KOREAN

Korean dance & drumming with Songhee Lee

Students will be exposed to the various traditional folk dances of Korea such as Buchaechum (fan dance) which combines the graceof the music and the shifting of geometric designs with the fans, Janggo (hour-glass drum dance) where dancers play a double-headed drum in the shape of an hour-glass that is strapped to their body while they dance and spin, Sogo Chum (small hand-drum dance) where the dancers move with a small drum in one hand and a stick in the other, and the Jindo Buk Chum (drum dance) a dynamic dance traditionally performed to ensure and celebrate a good harvest.

Korean minhwa painting with Stephanie Lee

Many aspects of Asian culture such as art have been influenced by China. Before the collapse of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) in China, most paintings were done only by educated painters and shared mainly with those in the upper class, in the style of idealized landscapes in black and white. After the collapse, Korea was forced to build new artistic models based on an inner search for Korean subjects. Developed during the latter half of the Joseon dynasty (1392-1897), the last and longest imperial dynasty of Korea, folk paintings called minhwa became very popular. Minhwa paintings were done and shared by ordinary people with vibrant colors and energetic subject matters. These paintings were considered “true view” and decorated almost every household in Korea!

MANDARIN

Chinese dance with Ling Tang

Just like the Chinese language, Chinese dance has its own unique vocabulary and structure that enables the dancer to express their thoughts and feelings. Students will learn about the historical and cultural developments in diverse Chinese dance vocabularies. Each session starts with a warm up followed by a mini repertoire of a specific Chinese dance style(s). Students also have the opportunity to use unique props such as fans, ribbons, and handkerchiefs.

PORTUGUESE

Ceramics with Marcela Carvalho

Exploring the elements of earth, wind, water and fire, students will be guided to imagine, design and create their own clay teacups using a pinch method technique. Through the use of arts vocabulary and literacy, students will use their own set of skills that support learning across the curriculum in Geometry, Mathematics, Ceramic Technical Language, Physics and Earth Science as part of their work. Connections to cultural, social, and historical contexts in clay works will help students gain a better understanding of the work, while acknowledging some links to their community and experiences on the subject of pottery making.

SPANISH

Piñata making with Aurelia Fernandez from Mexico

Most people think of piñatas as a fun activity during a party or celebration. But, did you know that the history of piñatas show that they were made to be more than just a game? In this workshop, students will learn about the history and create their own traditional Mexican piñatas using vibrant colored tissue paper and a ready-made papier-mâché structure.

Mexican dance with Alberto Lopez & Calpulli Mexican Dance

In this interactive program, students receive an overview of traditional Mexican folk dances as they learn simplified movements from dances such as little old men- a four hundred year old indigenous dance, Jalisco, and El jarabe tapatio- the world famous Mexican hat dance! Students will also have the opportunity to wear traditional dress such as hats, fan handkerchiefs, and folkloric dresses.

Andean music with Pepe Santana from Ecuador

An overview of native Andean music from Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador demonstrated through a live demonstration of several percussion, wind, and string instruments, followed by an interactive instrument-making workshop where participants will have the opportunity to build a pentatonic panpipe called palla. Students will also learn how to play simple Andean melodies.

Cumbia music with Pablo Mayor from Colombia

This is an engaging program for kids that showcase the rich musical and dance traditions of Colombia. Students have the opportunity to play folkloric instruments from the four regions of Colombia, learn simple percussive rhythms, sing in Spanish, and dance in the traditions of Colombia.

Nutrition and healthy eating with Christina Camacho from Peru

Engage in a discussion of healthy eating through the preparation and demonstration of how to cook quinoa: a high-endurance aerobic-efficiency food with an amazing nutritional food profile, also known as a “supergrain.” Most people including vegetarians, vegans, and those with cereal grain allergies can base their diets off this delicious food that is easy to prepare and high in protein. With an emphasis on seniors, a focus is drawn on how to achieve a balanced nutrition, keeping your bones strong, why being physically active is important, and how to eat healthy on a budget. Food samples are available.

TAIWANESE

Chinese calligraphy with Dr. Hsing-lih Chou from Taiwan

Learning to write in an artistic way is a wonderful way to learn about ancient China and its culture. Chinese Calligraphy is the highly regarded fine art of writing dating back thousands of years. Using traditional ink, brush pens, and ink stones, students will replicate some of the various characters found in these long-established and honored writings.

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The countdown is on til 123 Andrés

123 Andrés is one of the most exciting new voices on the family music scene in the US and Latin America – “A rockstar for little language learners” according to Billboard Magazine. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Andrés brings to audiences joyful sounds, passion for bilingualism and a high-energy love of music that gets kids singing and dancing in Spanish and English.

On Sunday, October 15, join Latin Grammy-winning Andrés on an exciting cultural journey of Latin America through an introduction of language, music, and dance, when he presents at Flushing Town Hall. Families will sing and dance to rhythms while gaining knowledge of vocabulary in English and Spanish. Children will be encouraged to use their imaginations to ride an airplane and join in singing songs that will entice dancing while practicing new vocabulary.

The 2:15 PM family performance will be preceded by a 1:00 PM interactive arts workshop. Tickets are available here.

What can an audience expect to see/experience at your (performance, workshop, event)?

Our family workshop will focus on using music to expand children’s vocabulary and language skills, including for children who are growing up with two or more languages. We will get the whole family involved in singing, making movements to songs, playing with words, and even writing whole new songs. I really enjoy seeing families be creative together!

At our concert, Christina and I will be joined by our band – so expect a high-energy show! We’ll play some classics as well as songs from our albums, and everyone – regardless of age – is invited to stand up to dance and jump. During the concert you’ll also see that Christina and Andrés have a disagreement that we have to resolve.

After the concert, children may want to talk about all of the instruments they heard, or about Andrés and Christina’s disagreement and how we resolved it. Talking and retelling shared experiences is an important way for children to develop early literacy skills, so we hope that the concert is a jumping off point for lots of family conversations!

What do you hope audiences learn/discover/feel at one of your events?

I hope families leave the hall singing one of our songs! We hope adults get to enjoy a unique time of interaction with their children. We always say that our concerts aren’t kids’ shows but family shows, so we hope that each member of the family leaves having learned something and having laughed or smiled at some aspect of the concert.

Tell us about you – how you started as a (performer, artist, photographer, etc.)?

I started as a kid, in Bogotá, Colombia. One day when I was six, my dad was walking by a community center and heard kids’ voices singing. It turned out to be a kids’ music group.

My dad signed me and my brother up. In the group we sang many traditional kids songs and learned to play the recorder. We would perform, singing and dancing, at community events in Bogotá. Then, when I was nine, we had the opportunity to participate in recording an album of kids music called “El Ratoncito Marinero.”

Around same time my dad started teaching me to play the guitar. Then I went on to study the clarinet at the Conservatory and then in college, and then in grad school. I also played in lots of other bands, from rock to opera to Norteña to Latin Jazz. It wasn’t until after I finished graduate school that I decided to come back full circle and dedicate myself to music for children and families full-time.

Where did you grow up / where do you live? (this helps us when we pitch local media in NYC)?

I grew up in Bogotá, Colombia and moved to the US for graduate school. We travel a lot so we live in many places but mostly in the Washington DC area and Kansas City!

What does Flushing Town Hall mean to you?

Coming to Flushing Town Hall means coming to one of the most diverse places in the world, where hearing multiple languages is a part of daily life. I come here with an open heart not only to share my music but to learn from this vibrant community.

What is on the horizon for you (what other projects are you working on? Do you have a book/movie/recording coming out?)

We are working on two new albums at the same time! One project is a CD of lullabies, with some traditional and some original songs. The other album… will also be for families but the theme will be totally different from lullabies. It’s still a surprise but stay tuned!

Experience Stillness in Queens on September 15

On Friday, September 15th, 2017 at 8pm, Malaysian-born Chinese musician/composer JunYi Chow (www.junyichow.com), Asian Cultural Council grantee flutist Seungmin Cha (www.seungminchamusic.com), and video artist Karen Y. Chan (www.karenychan.com) will be performing STILLNESS IN QUEENS at the Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd, Flushing, NY.  The prices are $16 for general public, $10 for FTH members and students, Free for teens (13-19 yr).

STILLNESS IN QUEENS is an experimental video and sound art performance exploring the beauty and quietude of everyday life in Queens. Audience members are invited to experience the borough in a new way, and an evening of stillness, by engaging in a multi-dimensional dialogue between video and sound. The performance provides an accessible space for deep contemplation on the complexities of Queens within the simplicity of stillness. This event is made possible in part by funding from Queens Council on the Arts.

The cultural landscape of Queens is in constant flux and continues to grow. There is a need to invigorate the heart of the diversity by bringing people of different backgrounds closer together through shared experiences. STILLNESS IN QUEENS is a multi-faceted cultural event that not only makes experimental practices accessible to the public, it also invites Queens residents and visitors to come together for an artistic experience that offers, through a lens of stillness, a new perspective of the borough. The project hopes to enrich cultural life in Queens by engaging disparate communities in a shared experience of creative contemplation and awareness.

JunYi Chow

The film projection will be footage from present daily life that will incorporate old heritage footage, both of Queens, to create a conversation between the past and present. JunYi Chow and Seungmin Cha will create music by live improvisation to live-score the film footage shot by Karen Y. Chan. There will be instruments such as Piano, Cello, Chinese Ruan (Moon Lute), Melodion, and the Korean Daegum (Traditional Bamboo Flute), as well as electronics and field recordings from different places around the world. There will also be interactive parts where the audience will be invited to create sounds and be part of the performance.

This performance is the second public performance in a series that follows its June 2nd evening at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning as part of the First Friday Series Program. 

The event starts at 8:00 PM Tickets are $16/$10 for member and students. Visit http://www.flushingtownhall.org and for more information.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens.

This season, Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to teenagers – for FREE. Under the “Teen Access Program”, all 13- to 19-year- old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

A new season filled with fun, fantasy, food and flair at Flushing Town Hall

On Thursday, September 7, Flushing Town Hall kicked off the fall 2017 season with a news conference and preview performances offering a taste of a robust array of global performances, family programs, workshops, exhibitions and much more.

The event featured a presentation previewing Enchanted Formosa and a dance showcase previewing The Garifuna Collective featuring Umalali and the Diwali Festival. New York City Council Member Peter Koo, New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisk, and representatives for New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim and U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng delivered remarks.

“We are located in one of the most diverse regions in the state – and country. It’s this diversity that gives us the ability to discover cultures and customs, and the melting pot that makes us stronger as a nation. For those who are new to us, the hallmark of our programming is a cross-cultural focus, works that bridge different cultures, as well as programs that present art forms from across the globe,” said Ellen Kodadek, Executive and Artistic Director at Flushing Town Hall. “Starting this week, audiences can discover and explore all the world, right here at Flushing Town Hall.”

Kodadek thanked the many performers, presenters and supporters in attendance, including: Al Harris, Carol Sudhalter, Richard Hourahan, Anna Etsuko Tsuri, Hsing-Lih Chou, Tai Wang, Karen Lee, Sherry Chen, Ms. Chi-Ping Yan from Taipei Cultural Center, Mr. Yu-Wei Hsieh and his band, JunYi Chow, Dongshin Chang, Dezhang Wu, Akemi Kinukawa, Brian Gill, Mark Wade, Barbara Morales, Gary “Wicked” Fritz, Kristina Teuschler, Noah Elwell, and Gary Padmore, all from the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and members of our Chinese Cultural Committee: Minwen Yang, Paul Ru, Kuang-Yu Fong, Hank Yeh, and Arthur Liu.

This fall, Flushing Town Hall will continue its popular Teen Access Program, which grants free entry to performances for 13- to 19-year-olds. This program encourages young people to engage with the magnificent arts opportunities in our community.

Flushing Town Hall’s September highlights include (in chronological order): Enchanted Formosa (Sept. 8), a spectacular concert combining folk, pop, and alt-rock in collaboration with the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York; Full Moon Drumming with Juan Gutiérrez (Sept. 13); and, Jose Conde Eclectric & Ola Fresca (Sept. 22), featuring original tropical Latin roots dance music with Cuban rhythms.

Other season highlights are: The Garifuna Collective featuring Umalali (Oct. 6); 1, 2, 3, Andrés (Oct. 15); Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo (Oct. 21); the annual Diwali Festival: Kathak, Bhangra & Beyond, featuring Basement Bhangra’s DJ Rekha (Oct. 29); NEA Jazz Masters: Celebrating 100 Years of Dizzy and Monk (Nov. 3); Astoria Big Band: Memories of Jazz in Queens (Nov. 17); Fall for Kunqu (Nov. 18); Fairy Tale: World Music from Korea (Dec. 1); The Brubeck Brothers Quartet (Dec. 8); Vado Diomande & Kotchegna Dance Company (Dec. 9); and, Queens Opera Theatre: The Gift of the Magi (Dec. 17 and 18).

An Enchanting Evening at Flushing Town Hall on September 8

Flushing Town Hall, in collaboration with Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York, present Enchanted Formosa on Friday, September 8. The show explores the exciting history of Taiwan in a multi-genre musical performance.

On Thursday, Flushing Town Hall held a news conference to announce its new fall season, and attendees were treated to a preview of this Friday’s performance.

Enchanted Formosa captures over one hundred years of Taiwan’s history, from the Qing imperial era, to the Japanese colonial decades, to present day Taiwan. Combining traits of folk, pop, and alt-rock music, Yu-Wei Hsieh and the band will share the provocative and traditional ideas of the time. In keeping with Flushing Town Hall’s global music tradition, New York-based guest singers Shan Y Chaung, Macy Chen, Han Hsiao, and Taipei-based artists Ma Nan and Tan Teng Teng will also perform songs and melodies in different genres.

With music that highlights the indigenous tribes, the Hoklo groups, and the Hakka villages, guests will be sure to love the diverse array of music throughout the night.

The event starts at 7:30 PM and is free, with a suggested donation of $10. Online RSVP is required. Visit  http://www.flushingtownhall.org to RSVP and for more information.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens.

This season, Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to teenagers – for FREE. Under the “Teen Access Program”, all 13- to 19-year- old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Discover the Meaning of Family in “Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China”

Flushing Town Hall hosts a screening of the documentary Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China on August 4. The film follows three successful black siblings from Harlem as they embark on an emotional journey to trace their family lineage.

Paula Williams Madison and her brothers, Elrick and Howard Williams, start with their Chinese-Jamaican roots, and soon the story of their grandfather’s past begins to unfold. Despite their vastly different upbringings, the siblings find his experience mirrors their own in a variety of ways.

They set their sights on China to discover more about their grandfather and their heritage. Along with 16 family members, they visit two cities, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, and their ancestral village, discovering documentation that traces their family back over 3,000 years.

The documentary explores the depth of family, highlighting the joy an

d power it has to unite people from all over the world. Paula and her family’s emotional search demonstrates the power of familial love and devotion to conquer race, time, and distance.

You can purchase tickets here. Tickets are $5/Free for Flushing Town Hall members and New York Hakka Conference participants. Filmmaker and entrepreneur Paula Williams Madison will join the screening with Q&As and her book Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem. Screening starts at 7:30 PM, but come at 6:30 PM to enjoy food and music prepared by C

aribbean Food Delights and VP Records.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens.

This season, Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to teenagers – for FREE. Under the “Teen Access Program”, all 13- to 19-year- old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Full Moon Drumming Workshop & Irish Drumming with Niall O’Leary

This Sunday, August 6, celebrate the full moon with a drum circle led by Niall O’Leary in Flushing Town Hall’s garden. Participants will begin with a workshop, and then jam with the entire group under the full moon.
Niall O’Leary is a former All-Ireland and World Champion Irish dancer, who excels at the top of his profession as a performer, teacher and choreographer, specializing in many forms of Irish Dance: Hardshoe, Softshoe, Traditional and Contemporary Percussive Dance, Sean Nós Dance, and Celtic Tap Improv, a style of dance he has developed himself, improvising using syncopation and rhythmic variation to complement and enhance exciting Irish Dance Music.
Niall is also a multi-instrumentalist: piano-accordion, keyboards, spoon-horn, spoons, bodhran, cojon. He teaches and performs locally and internationally with Mick Moloney’s Green Fields of America, as well as with his dance school “The Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance”, and his professional dance company “The Niall O’Leary Irish Dance Troupe”. He was the president of the Irish Business Organization of NY Inc. 2010-2011. Niall was honored in 2004 by Irish America Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Irish-Americans of the Year”, and in 2017 by the Irish Echo newspaper as a “Community Champion”.
Tickets are available here (but hurry, because space is limited to only 20 participants and the last drumming workshop sold out quickly this summer!). To learn more, you can watch this video below, and read our Q&A with Niall.

 

What can an audience expect to experience at your workshop?
In my Irish percussive workshop, we will be exploring how to bring out the many rhythmic patterns inherent in Irish dance music.
What do you hope audiences discover at your workshop?
I hope they discover the magic and beauty of Irish music, and how subtle and complementary percussion patterns can enhance the music!
Tell us about you.
I started doing Irish dance at the age of 4, accordion at 7, spoons at 8, keyboards at 15…I was fortunate to have the same dance teacher, Kevin Massey, who taught, motivated and choreographed for Michael Flately.  
Where did you grow up / where do you live?
I was born and grew up in Dublin, Ireland. My parents are from scenic County Kerry, an area rich in musical and dance heritage, and they were a huge influence in my voyage of discovery of authentic sources of inspiration!
What is on the horizon for you?
I will be teaching weekly dance and music classes all over 
NYC in the Fall, and also doing some concerts in Symphony Space on Broadway, presented by the Irish Arts Center: (Friday December 15, 2017 and Friday March 9, 2018) I will also continue to perform and teach internationally
 

Finding Crouching Tigers and Hidden Dragons: Flushing Town Hall Hosts Benefit Concert Celebrating Power of the Community

Flushing Town Hall will host a benefit concert on Friday, July 28 to support the continuation of funding for the arts and arts programming. Local community members and artists are taking a stand to emphasize the importance of celebrating global cultures and arts events.

With performances by the New Asia Chamber Music Society and the immensely talented tenor, Dr. William Cai, the concert is a celebration of the intricacies of music from various cultures. The show will bring audience members joy and reinforce the importance of music-making and the arts.

“This is a grassroots effort calling for support from all our community members to financially safeguard our cultural gem in Queens – Flushing Town Hall,” says Tai Wang of the Chinese Cultural Committee of Flushing Town Hall. As co-founder of the Glow Foundation, Mrs. Wang aspires “to help Flushing Town Hall further its mission with this unprecedented initiative.”

In addition to the New Asia Chamber Music Society, special guest Dr. William Cai will also perform. Selected from the many heartfelt applications from talented performers, Dr. William Cai is a Chinese acupuncturist by day who has treated celebrities from Spike Lee to Kathleen Turner, curing pain-related illness and vocal disease.

He has also become known for his Qigong Bel Cando, a singing technique that combines his training in Chinese body exercise with his learnings from legends, such as Luciano Pavarotti. Praised for his brilliant and bright tone, Dr. Cai’s solid, dramatic, and operatic voice carries Qi and medical science of the art into the world.

A tribute to his talent, Dr. Cai is slated to perform in December at the Shanghai Grand Theatre with Mr. Wei Song, the most prestigious tenor in China. Audiences will not want to miss his Flushing Town Hall debut on July 28.

In addition to the astonishing opera aria, the audience will be entertained by a robust selection of classical music from the West and the East. Led by New Asia Chamber Music Society, the concert will showcase talents who are skilled with violin, viola, cello, piano, daegun, erhu pipa, and guzheng.

“Now more than ever, we need to stand together to protect Flushing Town Hall,” says Minwen Yang, an arts advocate and honorary chair of the Chinese Cultural Committee. “We are proud to say that this initiative is an inspiration, not a competition, that truly brings people of all background together.”

The concert starts at 7 P.M. Tickets are $10/$30 and there are also sponsorship packages available. To purchase tickets, visit www.flushingtownhall.org. For more information on sponsorship packages, contact mliu@flushingtownhall.org.

Are you ready for “a “marvelous concoction of friendship, invention, and adventure”?

For more than 15 years, Bonnie Duncan has blended puppetry, dance, and physical theatre in surprising and delightful ways.  Her work has been described as “an artful world of silent dreams, mime, and dance.” This summer, she will return to Flushing Town Hall with an amazing presentation, “Lollipops for Breakfast,” with the Gottabees on July 30.

Now, we know you can’t have lollipops for breakfast!  But in this presentation, Sylvie decides she’s going to break that rule, even if it means she has to make her own amazingly perfect lollipop from scratch. The audience is invited to come along as she and her trusty pet bird search for missing ingredients, wrestle with giant candy machines, and get lost in a magical pop-up cookbook.

Tickets are available for two shows that day – at 11 AM AND 2 PM – and can be purchased here.

What can an audience expect to experience at your performances?

Lollipops for Breakfast is a “marvelous concoction of friendship, invention, and adventure” comprised of puppetry, physical theater, live music, and a tiny bit of acrobatics.  We aim to capture our audience’s collective imagination and take them on a journey together.  We can be furiously silly and then profoundly grounded all within five or six minutes.  We love surprising our audience with twists and turns in the story and visual changes to the world created on stage.

Tell us about you – how you started as a performer?

I started performing as a child — my dance school had an outreach program where we performed in nursing homes and other community organizations.  I was smitten with sharing joy from stage!  I continued to study dance, focused on theater in college, and then found puppetry on my own after that.  I was a company member of a modern dance company in Boston for 8 years—we collaboratively created and performed sculptural dance theater.  We toured nationally and  internationally.  All the while I was working in puppetry with friends and making solo pieces.  So, basically, I followed my interests and ended up here as The Gottabees!

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in South Carolina and now live in Boston.  Brendan Burns & Tony Leva (the musicians) both grew up in upstate New York (Fredonia & Binghampton respectively).  My husband, who also directed and co-wrote Lollipops for Breakfast, Dan Milstein, grew up in Princeton, NJ and grew up seeing lots of shows in New York with his parents, who are avid modern dance and theater fans.

What do you hope audiences discoverat one of your events?

The Gottabees has a “Terms of Service” that sums up our greatest hope: We find it deeply satisfying to create original physical theater so families can do something fun together that allows them all to giggle, gasp, sigh, and cheer in 45 minutes or less.   One of the things that makes us happiest is when we meet children who have seen a show and parents tell us how their child acted out the entire show for weeks after seeing it.  This is the core reason why we make theater for young audiences:  The Gottabees want children to know in their hearts that they, too, can make theater wherever they are and whomever they are.

What does Flushing Town Hall mean to you?

When we performed at Flushing Town Hall last year, we were so impressed and thrilled by how much this beautiful space felt so open and available to the entire local community and felt so lucky to be part of the fabric of this organization.

What is on the horizon for you?

When we arrive at Flushing Town Hall, we will have just returned from a pretty big driving tour—-Boston to Detroit to St. Paul, MN to Morristown, NJ!  In August we head up to Maine for a week (which is combo tour / vacation!).

We are also working on a new show for families that we hope will premiere in 2018.  We began development last year and just returned from a residency at Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Puppetry Conference where we explored some of our central themes and tested ideas on fresh audiences.  We’ll continue working on it at a residency at The Yard, on Martha’s Vineyard in July and then in Boston after that.  Themes, visuals, and sounds are Top Secret so stay tuned!

(You can read more about Bonnie is this wonderful NY Times article, too!), and you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, too! And you can check out a preview of the show below!