Oct. 19, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Are you ready to get your virtual groove on?
A neighborhood dance-off competition that pits duos against each other– consisting of one member of the Long Island City community and one professional dancer– will take place next month.
A panel of judges will determine the couple that has the best moves and the pair will then get local bragging rights.
The competition, dubbed Dancing with the LIC Stars, will take place online this year– as opposed to in the flesh due to COVID-19 restrictions. The show will be livestreamed on YouTube on Nov. 1 at 6 p.m.
The event, now in its seventh year, is a fundraiser for the Queensboro Dance Festival (QDF) – a local non-profit that organizes free performances around the borough.
The non-profit, which is also the event organizer, is in need of funds–as its corporate sponsorship revenue has been decimated as businesses have struggled due to COVID-19.
“We lost about 80 percent of our income this year and lost most of our sponsorship,” Karesia Batan, QDF founder and director said.
“We’re trying to find ways to keep artists and followers engaged and hopefully this event will help to keep us afloat until next year,” Batan said.
The dance-off will see six teams battle it out for the championship title.
Each pair will perform a single dance routine that will be pre-recorded, which will then be broadcast as part of the Nov. 1 show. A panel of judges will watch the performances via the livestream and will then select a winning pair.
Batan is encouraging residents to support the event and said that community members will be stepping outside their comfort zones to have fun, lift community spirits, and raise cash for the struggling non-profit.
The YouTube broadcast will be free to watch although organizers are appealing to viewers to make a minimum $10 donation per household. The donations are to be made online.
Local businesses can also contribute by sponsoring a team for either $500 or $1,000 and all sponsors will be promoted on participating websites and social media channels.
Businesses opting for the $1,000 sponsorship package will also be able to submit a 60-second video message to wish their team good luck and plug their business. The video will be broadcasted during the streaming of the show.
Residents can also submit 15-second video shout outs that will be broadcast during the event for $50.
Proceeds from the event will go toward QDF and a percentage will also go towards LIC Relief – a local group that has been providing food to hard-hit residents during the pandemic. LIC Relief is also helping QDF run the event this year.
Batan said the competition is a great way for the audience to get to know their neighbors and find out about the work they do in the community.
“It is a fun way to meet each other and learn about their contributions to the neighborhood,” Batan said.
There will also be an award for the most popular dance couple.
Batan said that viewers can vote for their favorite pairing by making a $1 online donation. Each $1 entitles the viewer to one vote and the couple with the most votes will be selected the winner.
This year’s pair-ups are:
- – Diana Manalang, owner of Chef Little Café and Noora Aphrodite, an Arabic bellydancer based in Astoria.
- – Rob Basch, president of the Hunters Point Park Conservancy and Valeria Olaya-Florez, a Cumbia dancer based in Middle Village.
- – Ishwinder Saran, owner of LIC Dental and Jamie Drye, the co-director of Drye Marinaro Dance Company in Forest Hills.
- – Andre Galan, board member of the Gantry Parent Association and Emily Hart-Lopez, a choreographer and dancer at Sunnyside’s Gotham Dance Theater.
- – Ebony Young, CEO of Black Entrepreneur Initiative and Chris Bell, dancer and choreographer at chrisbelldances, based in Long Island City
- – Fran Bruno, co-president of PS/IS 78 PTA and Aurora Reyes, director of Flamenco Latino NYC, in Jackson Heights.
This year’s judges are:
- – Brent O’Leary, president of the Hunters Point Civic Association.
- – Kelly Craig, co-founder of LIC Relief and co-president of the PS/IS 78Q PTA.
- – Paige Stewart aka Queen Tut, CEO of The Kingdom Dance Company.
- – Pat Sugrue, Dancing With the Stars LIC 2019 champion.
The show will stream on Nov.1 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Batan will co-host the event with LIC Relief co-founder Patrick Thompson.
Those looking to watch are encouraged to register in advance by clicking here and a YouTube link to the stream will be sent out on the day of the event.
For more information or to sponsor a team click here.