This coming weekend, Flushing Town Hall will present a program featuring artists who identify as LGBTQ and/or immigrant to kick off Queens Pride Week and celebrate the strength of the LGBTQ community in the borough. The event will be held at Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights, and you can learn more here.
SALGA Dance Team – one of the performances you will see – is the official dance troupe of SALGA-NYC, a not-for-profit, all-volunteer organization, serving the South Asian LGBTQ community for over 20 years.
SALGA-NYC serves to promote awareness, tolerance, acceptance, empowerment and safe spaces for sexual minorities and people of all gender identities, who trace their heritage to South Asia or who identify as South Asian.
SALGA Dance Team was founded with the goals of raising visibility of the desi queer community, bringing together those who love South Asian music and dance, and generating joy wherever they appear. SDT celebrates the diversity of cultural, sexual, and gender identity through exciting and crowd-pleasing performances.
How would you describe your performance?
We perform various styles of Indian and American dance, including pieces that are based on classical Indian dance forms, modern fusion dances, hip-hop, semi-traditional/folk dances, as well as bhangra which is a lively music and dance form well known for its exciting drum beats that will make the audience want to get up and dance too!
What will people see and hear this Saturday?
SALGA Dance Team hopes to share a unique and exciting dance performance with the community at the Flushing Town Hall concert. We will be doing a medley of songs that range from telling the story of a “modern girl from a foreign land” who discovers another side of herself when she travels to India, to a woman unabashedly proclaiming her passion for the “handsome hunks” around her.
Through our performance we hope to ignite the audience’s passions as well for Indian music and dance, and challenge traditional gender norms and expectations in order to promote the visibility and empowerment of different kinds of gender expression.
What has influenced your style?
Our members are influenced by art, music, and dance forms all around us- from Bollywood and Tamil films, to American styles of dance such as hip hop and modern dance. You can just as easily find our members watching and being inspired by Beyonce dance clips and India’s Got Talent episodes, as Korean pop music videos and African dance routines. Some of our members are also trained dancers who studied traditional folk dance forms from a young age, and this training continues to influence and guide their dancing.
How long have you lived in Queens and what brought you here?
Our members come from many different backgrounds and are based out of Queens and other boroughs. Those of us who don’t live in Queens often visit to see family and friends based in Queens. I was born and raised in Queens, went to elementary school here as did my siblings, and we all continue to live and work in the borough.
What do you most love about Queens?
Our members love many things about Queens- the food, the culture, the street parking (compared to Manhattan). It’s no surprise that Queens is one of the most ethnically diverse urban areas in the world, and was ranked by Lonely Planet as the best travel destination in the U.S. As big as New York City is, we especially love Queens because people are able to find a sense of community and home in our borough. In Queens, everyone can feel like they belong, including our LGBTQ community.