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Live music, dancing returns to LIC park

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Music and dance will return to the waterfront at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City this summer.

“Live at the Gantries,” which made its debut last year, is back, hosted in part by the state Parks Department, Queens Council on the Arts, Queens Theatre in the Park, Rockrose Development, state Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D−Ridgewood), O’Connor Capital Partners and Con Edison.

Every Tuesday the park will host performances from musical and stage groups from the borough.

The series was the brainchild of Rachel Gordon, regional director for the state Parks Department, who last year brought her idea to the Council on the Arts and the Queens Theatre.

“I went to the two groups that could make it happen,” she said, praising the wide array of cultural traditions represented in the borough. “We wanted to showcase the diversity of Queens’ performing arts. If we had 100 concerts, we could do it. We only have 10.”

Hoong−Yee Krakauer, executive director of the Council on the Arts, praised the collaboration, and said the organizations were working to make this year better than last year.

“We took our cues from last year,” she said. “A lot of people said they like dance.”

The series kicks off June 14 before moving to Tuesdays, with a performance from the Hungry March Band, fresh off a tour of France. Next, on June 23, the Chinese Theatre Works in Jackson Heights presents Taiwanese hand puppets, dances from the Sichuan Opera, a mouth organ performance and excerpts from the classic Chinese martial−arts opera “Monkey Steals the Heavenly Peaches.”

“We are very happy to perform locally,” said Chinese Theatre Works Director Kuang−Yu Fong, noting the group travels nationwide and as far as Taiwan to put on shows. “This is our contribution to the community.”

On June 30, the group Earthdriver brings its fusion of spoken word, hip−hop and soul music to the park, followed July 7 by the Royston Dance Co. with interactive swing, tango and break dancing.

Guitarist Dave Barkcow and fiddler Mazz Swift−Camlett bring their mix of pop, Celtic music and classic rock to Long Island City July 14, followed by the Afro−Peruvian pop stylings of Afrodita July 21.

The Peruvian theme continues July 28 with the Pachamama Peruvian Arts show, which celebrates Peruvian Independence Day.

Dance returns to the park Aug. 11, when Woodside choreographers Zach Morris and Tom Pearson of Third Rail Projects perform excerpts from their show “Vanishing Point.”

Finally, on Aug. 18, the performance series closes with the Silbin Sandovar Revue, a collection of Queens indie rock “all−stars,” including singer−songwriter Gustavo Rodriguez.

“We’re very proud to be part of this very diverse exhibition of music,” said Rodriguez, whose group of around 10 musicians learned each other’s songs and made their debut at the Living Room in Manhattan in January. “This will be our Queens debut.”

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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