Immediate Release
Contact: Catherine Peila

JCAL Cultural Spaces:
Jamaica Art Center (JAC) 161-04 Jamaica Avenue
Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC) 153-10 Jamaica Avenue

JCAL’s Full Spring Dance Performance Season includes
Open Studios, Lecture/Demonstrations for Process & Performance

(Jamaica Queens, NYC) - JCAL is a multi-disciplinary educational and presenting organization with two performing and visual arts buildings in Jamaica Queens. Our programs include short-term and long-term residencies, career building, educational programs and workshops that are meant to support practicing artist’s creative career growth. We commission and produce artists and follow their quest to create; they use JCAL’s spaces and through their unique processes, we have the honor of supporting them from the initiation of an idea to presenting them to audiences.

JCAL’s 2019 Dance Season was initiated with our artists and their process through residency programs that started in 2018. JCAL, with its many studios and performance spaces is the place where artists can give and take classes to strengthen their techniques; strengthen their careers; spend long periods of time to experiment and refine creative ideas; showcase their work throughout their creative process; and perform a benchmark or final iteration of their dance piece. Finally, if they need to adjust or rework their ideas we get down to business and redesign a residency to repeat so they are able to reach set visions and goals. 

As part of JCAL’s commitment to our community audiences get the opportunities to see artists in action - from developing in an open studio invitation to a showcase style performing elements of their work in a black box theater to the main stage no-stops performances and intimate productions. JCAL is creating season that offers audiences a glimpse into all phases of our artists work and we want it to be experienced by audiences of all ages.

As dance incorporates new disciplines, blurring lines to build upon concepts inspired by the artist’s vision, contemporary politics, social and artistic movements JCAL adjusts its presenting process. Our season is rooted in the commitment to the technically complex process of dance - codified patterns and movement vocabularies built to create a choreographic event; we also honor the contemporary producer’s challenge of experimentation and emerging artists who take risks with new movement vocabularies, refining their creative vision. We believe in process and support the commitment to detail and pursuit of the perfect performance.

JCAL’s dance season can be experienced in its studios and proscenium style Black Box theater at the headquarters Jamaica Art Center (JAC) 161-04 Jamaica Avenue and at its multi-configured Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC) 153-10 Jamaica Avenue. Be a part of it all from our intimate and interactive performance and process style programs to the proscenium stage extravaganza. You are invited to experience performances of a lifetime - join us in all of our spaces!

MAIN STAGE PERFORMANCES at Jamaica Performing Arts Center

March 22, 7:30 - 9pm Gesel Mason & Guests No Boundaries and No Less Black @JPAC
April 12, 7:30 - 9pm Omar Edwards & K360 Club Harlem Nights @JPAC
May 17, 7pm - 9pm Queens Dance Festival a juried evening of Queens Dance @JPAC
May 31, 1pm & 7pm Laura Peterson Paper Room: Folding/Unfolding Conversations @JPAC

RESIDENCIES at Jamaica Arts Center
In-Studio Development; Intimate Conversations & Performances; and Youth, Audience and Artist Engagement - our residencies are short-term and year-round integrating artmaking and community engagement.

Exploring the Metropolis (EtM) residenc y - Janessa Clark, Joya Powell, I-Ling Liu & Shiuan Chang, Doug Varone & David Van Tieghhem.
JCAL Presents Visions of Americana: March 28 - April 4, 2019 Visionary folk artist, Mary T. Carson Clements, folk singer/songwriter Terre Roche, & award winning storyteller/choreographer, Mark Lamb.
JCAL Presents: No Less Black Residency- March 18 - 24, 2019 Gesel Mason and Queens Artists
JCAL Presents: Omar Edwards the Tap Master * Musical Magician - Developing Future Artists
JCAL Resident: Monstah Black & The IllustriousBlacks - Choreographer, Recording Artist and Performer - the Future
JCAL Resident Dance Company Kofago Dance Ensemble (year round @JCAL)
Program by Month
MARCH (Celebrating Women’s History Month)

March 16, 5:30pm - 7pm
WANTED choreographer I-Ling Liu & composer Shiuan Chang @JAC theater

March 22, 7:30pm - 9pm
Gesel Mason & Guests No Boundaries and No Less Black with guests @JPAC
Tix: $15 General Public ($5 Children and Seniors)
(Free Afternoon interactive showing and conversation 1pm)

March 30, 2019, 3:00pm - 5:00pm  
Interactive storytelling and creating performance @ JAC
Free - Kids & Families

April 2, 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Mark Lamb, Mary Clements, Terre Roche - Americana: Our Art @JAC
Free - Building Stories, Building Exhibits, Building Performance

April 12, 7:30pm - 9pm
Omar Edwards & K360 Club Harlem Nights @JPAC
Tix: $20 General Public ($10 Children and Seniors)
also feature Grammy nominated vocalist Angel Rose and more special guests
(Free Afternoon interactive showing and conversation 1pm)

April 13, 2pm - 5pm
Joya Powell Choreographing the Head Wrap @JAC Studio A
Free - Performance with Movement Discovery workshop
Creative Exploration and You!

April 26, 7pm - 9pm
Janessa Clarke @JAC theater
Free Film/Performance/Intimate Conversations

May 6, 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Doug Varone - EVERYTHING IS FINE in Intimate Conversations @JAC
FREE to public

May 17, 7pm - 9pm
QueensBoro Dance Festival @JPAC (Celebrating Queens’ Dance Artists)
Free with suggested donation of General $10
and $5 Children & Seniors

May 31, 1pm & 7pm
Laura Peterson @JPAC Paper Rooms: Folding/Unfolding (workshop/convo)
Free with suggested donation of General $10
and $5 Children & Seniors.
Daytime School Assembly workshop style

On-going Artist Residencies: Relationship Building thru Open Studios, Lecture/Demos and Process & Performance
Gesel Mason, JAC Studios/JPAC Theater March 18 - 24th - JCAL dance program
Joya Powell, JAC Studios/Theater - EtM/JCAL Residency open studio showcase
Omar Edwards, JAC Studios/Theater & JPAC - JCAL Tap Masterclass / Community Stepping UP
Laura Peterson, JPAC / JAC Building Paper Rooms - workshops and conversations
Mark Lamb & Friends, JAC Studios / Theater Storytelling, Folk Arts, Songwriting and Performance
Kofago Dance Ensemble , JCAL Resident Dance Company - Dance Classes, Workshops, Performances
Monstah Black, JCAL Residency - New Work | Movement Practices | Illustrious Blacks
WANTED is a collaboration between the choreographer I-Ling Liu and composer Shiuan Chang. The two talk about how much art is needed in the daily life. Based on the idea of trading behaviors in the market, the work shows the process of producing products and question of its value and who.

Originally from Taiwan, I-Ling Liu is a senior member of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. She received a BFA from Taipei National University of the Arts in 2005. I-Ling has been creating and displaying her own works as well as collaborating with visual artists, photographers, music composers, directors and actors in theater and film. She was a recipient of the 2011-2012 Dance in Queens Awardees. New York based Taiwanese composer Shiuan Chang’s music has been described as “a tapestry of extraordinary sound and idea; not word of painting or sound landscape, but rather a psychological meditation.” – by Malcolm Peyton, Professor of the New England Conservatory. Shiuan’s music has been performed nationally and internationally.
Digital and Live Performance
No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers and
No Less Black performed by Gesel Mason and Queens’ African American Women poets.    

Mason is an artistic director, choreographer, performer, educator, and arts facilitator utilizing dance, theater, humor, and storytelling to bring visibility to voices unheard, situations neglected, or perspectives considered taboo.

Gesel Mason will present an audience interactive Docu(film)Performance of No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers and No Less Black .  Her digital archive, highlights 10 black artists relatively unknown to the general public but famous in the world of dance and key to building Black American Contemporary dance.

No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers is a living, breathing history project archiving, through film and movement, prominent African American choreographers. The project uses dance as the vehicle to understand a distinctly African American theme of resilience in spite of a history of silencing, erasure, and appropriation of African American cultural contributions. By expanding the genre of Black dance and interrupting the systematic erasure of names lost to the archive, No Boundaries reveals the tenacity of resilience and the diversity of Black contemporary performance.
As an exploration of identity and related hate crimes, "No Less Black" is Mason's attempt to "have a conversation, not an assertion of blackness." Dancer, choreographer and poet Gesel Mason explores what it means to be "black enough" through stereotypes of race, color and social responsibility within the African-American community. What does it mean to be black? Are particular skin tones and behaviors not black enough?  
Visionary folk artist, Mary T. Carson Clements , legendary folk singer/songwriter, Terre Roche , and award winning storyteller/choreographer, Mark Lamb team up to explore how art and community intersect. In this project the artists asks themselves and their collaborators why they make art and its impact not only on themselves but their audiences.

Mark Lamb, Mary Carson Clements and Terre Roche have a story to tell through movement, visual arts, voice and song the public is invited to share in the initial tales of finding place with each other and in community. Mark, Mary and Terre are working in Queens in a multi-year residency interacting with the community to share the merging of traditional and change that make American culture so broad and interesting.  

Exploring Americana - Our Story, Your Story is a multi-year residency at JCAL and with producing partners that brings together artists of various disciplines and spectrums of creative processes. Each is trained in their disciplines but still each improvises when engaging and responding to the internal voices that guide them in their creative vision. Lamb, Carson-Clements and Roche focus on working with their communities through conversation, interaction and interpretation and they see Jamaica Queens and JCAL as holding a deep well of inspiration and community that the project is meant to live.

Elements of the project include Roche and Lamb working with dancers/choreographers on music, text and movement improvisation and Carson-Clement working with the elders and youth and the artists of Queens working with found objects to make visual art. Together an improvisational process is developed, unique to each site, that leads to a larger performance of the core artists and community-at-large. The team has garnered attention from critics of all genres and leaders in the arts education and dance community with their methods because “their work is something out of the box” and “they engage people of all ages and they change lives.

Additional March date programs and artist possibilities include Literary, Visual Arts, Music, Ceramics, Saturday JCAL School of the Arts classes and please check our website for an overview of Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning and our attractions.
Omar Edwards & The K360 Club
Harlem Nights in Jamaica Queens  
Omar is a consummate artist in tap and presentation always reaching never relenting.”

Rhythm Tap Virtuoso Omar Edwards to bring HARLEM NIGHT IN JAMAICA / A Dance and Musical Showcase. Born in Brooklyn but raised in Queens, Omar Edwards, former “Sandman” from "Showtime at the Apollo," and The K360 Club musicians will bring 90 minutes of dance and music to the stage. Edwards is known across the country for his performance and choreography in the 2016 Crossroads Theatre Company/Pasadena Playhouse production of Fly, the story of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. He received numerous dance and music awards including the NYC Bessie and LA Award.
Called “a wildly imaginative and free jazz artist” by dance writer Constance Valis Hill in her 2010 book, “Tap Dancing America, A Cultural History,” Edwards doesn’t dance to music; he IS the music.  He calls himself a “straight-up soloist musician,” whose shoes – his beloved Capezio K360s that his band is named for – provide the percussion for musicians Shaine Wilson, Jarred Barnes and Wahkiba Julion.
A Queens man, Edwards developed his passion for tap as a 12-year-old growing up in New York’s outer boroughs. His dancing has been shaped by more than two decades of experience and formal training with such tap masters as Henry LeTang, Jimmy Slyde, Marie Brooks and his famed cousin, Savion Glover. He honed his musical and songwriting talents under the tutelage of Olu Dara.
Edwards first came to the nation’s attention as a teenager when he and then-tap partner Daniel B. Wooten Jr. were grand-prize winners on the popular “Star Search.” From there, his dance career exploded, spanning the worlds of music, dance, television, theater and film. He’s danced in more than 20 countries, performed on Broadway in Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk , and as a featured performer in the national touring company of Black and Blue . He spent seven years as the “Sandman” on NBC’s “Showtime at the Apollo.” Edwards has also been a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and gave a command performance at the White House with cousin Savion Glover. He was the first of his generation of tappers to record an album, “Tap Dancing is Music,” in which he is both the band leader and lead instrument.
Edwards is committed to education and the preservation of tap dancing. He’s been engaged in creating, teaching, performing and promoting the art form since he put on his first pair of tap shows.
Joya Powell & Movement of the People Dance Company
Choreographing the Head Wrap

A native Harlemite, Joya Powell is a choreographer and educator passionate about community, activism, and dances of the African Diaspora. Hailed by The New York Times as a “radiant performer,” throughout her career leading her to found Movement of the People Dance Company, dedicated to creating Socially Conscious Contemporary Dance Theater.

Bessie Award winning Joya Powell, created Movement of the People Dance Company as a primily Dance Theater company comprised of dancers from diverse multicultural backgrounds and international experiences dedicated to addressing historic and present socio-cultural injustices through dance. Their choreography combines dynamic Contemporary Dance with traditional dances, and develops a sensitive balance of pedestrian gestural phrases with grounded visceral movements that use breath and musicality at its core.

Ms. Powell’s and the MPDC dancers’ work has appeared in national and international venues and choreographed theatrical performances both classical plays and contemporary experimental theater. In April 2015, MOPDC was featured in Dance Magazine for their choreographic journey in their company repertory piece Her Veiled Reflections . MOPDC has facilitated workshops and residencies at various colleges and community spaces nationally and internationally, and holds an annual Free Day of Dance and acclaimed Winter Intensive. MOPDC is dedicated to connecting cultures through dance, composing socially conscious choreography, and community engagement Joya’s ultimate goal is to create socially relevant and visceral choreography that speaks to a common thread of human nature; to address social issues through the medium of dance in order to seek truths in the face of oppression. I stand firm in the notion of dance is resistance. I am passionate about process: research, collective inquiry, didactic discussion through verbal discourse and movement experimentation. My choreography is intrinsically collaborative. I am fueled by the notion that we are vessels of collective memory, and incorporate community engagement in my dance making, to share and celebrate the stories of others.
Janessa Clark
I Shall Ride This Storm into the Ocean and Hotel Destiny (film)

I Shall Ride this Storm into the Ocean is a solo work for one woman. Journeying deep into themes of feminism, identity, gender roles, agency, subjugation, and perseverance one dancer will enter into the ring embodying and articulating a banner for the new age.

I Shall Ride this Storm into the Ocean is being developed through the support of a 2018 Residency at THE CHURCH Residency of Mt. Vision, NY and through a 2018-19 Choreographic Residency at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning in Queens, NY.

Hotel Destiny (work in progress) is a dance film about the journey into one's deepest self. Based loosely around the idea of Lachesis (the Second Fate) as a young woman, the film examines the existential dilemma of facing the far side of forever.
Janessa teaches: Improvisation as a Prismatic Tool & Choreographic Scores. Within the context of today's artistic fields, improvisation is a necessary vehicle for creating, performing, engaging, and educating. Whether a tool for choreographic processes, a skill for versatility within a performer/collaborator, or a means for generating new artistic and self-knowledge, improvisation allows us as artists to uncover and develop a deeper sense of agency. Improvisation is a platform for the intersection of different forms, aesthetics, methodologies, and bodies, and cannot be understated as a driving force specifically in dance innovation and evolution. Within these classes, participants are offered the opportunity to experiment, explore, observe, agitate, and discuss how improvisation can become not only a skill for dance, but a scope for examining behavior, power, hierarchies, positions, and identities.
Doug Varone + David Van Tieghem
EVERYTHING IS FINE in Intimate Conversations

everything is fine is loosely inspired by images, characters and situations culled from the collection of poems entitled Ballistics by Billy Collins. The work unfolds in seven interwoven narratives mapping an array of themes: love, solitude, separation, forgiveness, and aging. With a multi-generational cast of 16 artists, the work delves deep into our memories, creating intimate portraits of ordinary lives.
"This piece," says Varone, "explores a darker and more disturbing range of emotions than has generally characterized my work. It is about the relationships we've all survived and their impact on our lives."

For more than 30 years, Doug Varone and Dancers has devoted itself to the humanity and virtuosity of dance, reaching out to our audiences well beyond the proscenium arch. We believe this philosophy has allowed us to endure, earning the reputation as one of the most respected dance companies working today. Over time, we’ve created an expansive legacy encompassing dance, theatre, opera and film – establishing an impressive body of work.

The recipient of 11 Bessie Awards, the Company has toured to more than 125 cities in 45 states across the US and in Europe, Asia, Canada, and South America.
Queensboro Dance Festival
In Celebration of Queens Dance Artists  

JCAL is thrilled to partner with the 2019 Queensboro Dance Festival tour, which features performances throughout Queens by Queens-based dance companies of all cultures and styles.  Dances include tap, Indian, modern, Colombian, hip-hop, Chinese, Flamenco, and more. Come see a one-night-only show with a juried group of diverse Queens dance companies on the JPAC’s main stage!

The Queensboro Dance Festival is an annual 6-month season of community events + performances throughout Queens neighborhoods of only Queens-based cultural and contemporary dance companies. QDF offers companies free master dance classes, rehearsal space, networking events, teaching opportunities, and special access to Queens arts institutions. QDF presents a tour of evening-length performances across unique Queens public spaces and theaters, & audience dance engagement activities & talkbacks.
QDF's goal is to serve the Queens dance community and greater Queens public, elevate the value & reputation of Queens dance, and represent a slice of our diverse cultures, neighborhoods, and dance styles by coming together each season.
Laura Peterson Intimate Conversations
Paper Rooms: Folding/Unfolding

JCAL’s Making Moves Dance Festival 2018 Commissioned Artist Laura Peterson returns to Jamaica Center Arts and Learning (JCAL) to offer us Intimate Conversations into her choreographic process of Paper Room: Folding/Unfolding in partnership with installation designer Jon Pope. Laura’s contemporary workshop/performance process offers the daytime youth and family audiences a dance workshop/installation using origami paper-folding techniques with foldable materials - bright, white paper as in her Paper Rooms piece or fabric and other foldable materials. Through folding and like her dancers who move in staccato cycles of continuous movement while changing the environment of folding and unfolding viewers and/or participants will engage in the Laura Peterson/Jon Pope artist process in creating choreography based on outside influences.

Background: Paper Room is based around a larger concept – our shared American experience of never really knowing the full story in any situation. It is about half-truths and manipulation of viewpoint. This dance is now in its mid-stages of development and JCAL is pleased that she continues to work with JCAL to share her process with the Queens and New York City communities.

Laura Peterson is a Brooklyn-based dance artist creating works that challenge the limits of physicality and redefine performance spaces. Influenced by the visual art of the 1970’s, she simultaneously creates visually arresting installations and rigorous choreography. Her performances have included large-scale paintings, 1000 sq feet of living lawn, 16 ft tall paper sculptures, 1500 feet of foam tubes, and other large-scale environments. Her most recent works seek to evoke and articulate the emotions associated with the current American political and social landscape.
Community Build Residencies:
Open Studios, Lecture/Demonstrations, Intimate Conversations plus Process & Performance (Meet the Spring Season Residents)

Black and the Illustrious Black
Resident Artist (year-round) multi-disciplinary

When not traveling the world, Monstah Black is working on refining his work, leading master classes and performing in the JCAL Studios and in the future JCAL’s main stage JPAC. He is a multi-disciplinary performing and recording artist, tours internationally with husband Manchildblack as . When not performing on tour with the Illustrious Blacks he works in the studio to create and develop dance, vocal and multi-disciplinary performance projects (both large and small). As a movement artist he is known for his twist on contemporary dance as he inserts voguing movement from his life in the “House of Ninja” to working his costumes and fashion into exhibits, performances and halls.

Awards include The Tom Murrin Performance Award, Franklin Furnace Fund, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, American Music Center Live Music for Dance and NYSCA. He is a performer and teaching artist @Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, The Field, Movement Research and New York Live Arts. Publications include, New York Magazine, Billboard Magazine, Paper Magazine and The New York Times.  Monstah is a Queer Arts Mentorship and Yaddo fellow as well as a Long Island University New Media Art and Performance, MFA. .
Community Build Residencies:
Open Studios, Lecture/Demonstrations, Intimate Conversations plus Process & Performance (Meet the Spring Season Residents)

Kevin McEwan & Kofago Dance Ensemble
Resident Dance Company - West African Dance and Drumming

Kevin McEwan is an amazing resident artist and team player with the JCAL programming and educational departments. As JCAL grows we are working to increase our inclusion of professional artists and our assembly and CASA and Su-CASA integration and McEwan as a professional drummer and dance leader in developing Community Build and ongoing creative programming while also training his ensemble and building his own educational programs, choreography and performance work.

A native of Brooklyn New York but with his roots in Queens, Kevin’s dance training and is focused on traditional African dance techniques from the countries of Mali and Senegal. His choreographic work highlights topics of social justice and ancestral memory, using dance as a creative form of expression. As a lecturer in traditional African dance ethnography, Kevin has presented his research at several conferences, including the Season of Dance in Barbados and the African Theater Associations Annual International Conference in Abuja, Nigeria. Kevin brought four young boys from the Southside of Chicago in the groundbreaking documentary, “Walk All Night: A Drum Beat Journey,” which documents the sojourn of these young men back to Senegal, West Africa to study the musical and cultural traditions of the Gewel (Griot) caste of musicians.
About Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL)
amaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL) founded in 1972, is a multidisciplinary arts center based in the heart of Southeast Queens, the most densely culturally diverse community in the United States. Its mission is to offer high quality and accessible arts and cultural programming that expose communities to all disciplines, encouraging greater understanding and participation in the arts. JCAL's cultural campus includes two buildings, the Jamaica Arts Center (JAC) 161-04 Jamaica Avenue and the Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC), located 1 block away 153-10 Jamaica from JAC helping build a Jamaica Avenue Cultural Corridor.

JCAL, an incubator for creativity, is a 47-year-old multidisciplinary urban arts center built by the Southeast Queens community. JCAL programs represent and serve the diverse communities of Queens (over 185 languages spoken) and NYC. More than 52,000 people of all ages and backgrounds come through our doors engaging in our children, teens, and adult programs including multicultural series in music, theater, and dance performances; film screenings and lectures; contemporary visual arts exhibitions; in-school artist residencies; a series of nearly 50 different art workshops; and free or low-cost after-school and summer programs.

JCAL's programs are made possible by Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, Resort World Casino, American Airlines and individual contributions.

JCAL receives ongoing general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs with support from Mayor Bill de Blasio, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, the Queens Delegation of the New York City Council, New York City Councilman I. Daneek Miller, Councilman Barry Grodenchik, Councilman Rory Lancman, and Councilwoman Adrienne Adams, New York State Regional Economic Development Council.
Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL) | w