Flushing Town Hall celebrates 8th Annual Diwali Festival

Community News

Flushing, NY: The Flushing Town Hall welcomed audiences of all ages and cultures for a very popular celebration, the eighth annual Diwali Festival held on its premises on November 5, 2022.

The event featured beautiful artwork of the winners of its Rangoli Design Competition, stunning dance performances –classical Indian and contemporary–by master artists as well as delectable Indian cuisine.

Abha Roy, artistic director of the Srijan Dance Company, shared the stage with IMGE: Ishita Mili Global Exposé for a performance rooted in Indian classical, hip-hop, and contemporary dance. Attendees also enjoyed a dance party with instruction on traditional moves from Roy, a Kathak classical dancer, and Mili, a Bharatanatyam dancer. Festival goers had the opportunity to explore traditional rangoli design with artist Anju Gupta, savor Indian cuisine with Queens Curry Kitchen, and discover ayurvedic treatments with Shweta Parmar.  

Roy has led the Flushing Town Hall Diwali Festival since its beginning. A Kathak exponent, she studied under the guidance of the great stalwart late Guru Kundan Lal Gangani and attained professional precision under the tutelage of Pt. Durgalal when she completed her specialization from Kathak Kendra, New Delhi. She has represented the Indian Council of Cultural Relations and taught and performed in South America, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago. She has also performed throughout Europe and at venues such as Lincoln Center and the Queens Museum, among others.  

Roy lost her beloved husband and creative partner, Sandeep Roychowdhury, to COVID in June of 2021, when he contracted the illness while on a trip to India to help care for family, and she dedicated last year’s festival to his memory and their love. 

“We are so fortunate to work with the talented Abha Roy, who has helped our community to heal and experience joy again—even as she’s navigated her own painful loss,” said Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall Executive & Artistic Director.

Ishita Mili Global Exposé, founded by Ishita Mili, a dance company using Indian classical moves (like the mudras – hand gestures), as well as hip-hop and contemporary dance vocabularies to tell new and powerful global stories debuted at the event this year.

“We received great Rangoli submissions and selected artwork in five categories (kids, teenagers, adults, seniors, and professional artists) were displayed along with winning designs along our exterior fence along Northern Boulevard,” said Gabrielle M. Hamilton, Director of Education and Public Programs at Flushing Town Hall.

A jury selected one winner in each group, who in addition to having their work displayed, received free, one-year memberships to Flushing Town Hall and pairs of tickets to any upcoming programs of their choice.

The 2022 Diwali Festival was held in person following COVID protocols and also streamed live on YouTube to serve global audiences.  

The program was generously sponsored by the Guru Krupa Foundation.