Queens celebrates 60th Anniversary of World’s Fair with special local event series – Caribbean Life (2024)

Search our comprehensive guide to caribbean events in NYC for more local events — or submit your own!

On May 26, the CarNYval Dancers company from Jamaica, Queens, held a popup dance performance at the Queens Theatre, along with a workshop, which represented various Caribbean countries. The theater is located at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 14 United Nations Ave S, Queens, NY 11368.

This was part of a site tour of the theater, as well as part of its months-long THEATERAMA! event series to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the World’s Fair. Taryn Sacramone, who planned the events, shared a bit of the theater’s history and how she got involved.

“Queens Theatre was originally built for the 1964/65 World’s Fair, as the Theaterama, part of the New York State Pavilion. I started my position as Executive Director at Queens Theatre, just as planning was beginning for the 50th Anniversary of the World’s Fair. That year, in collaboration with other cultural institutions, we had multiple celebrations throughout the Park,” she said.

Sacramone shared how the community responded to it, saying, “Some had attended the Fair and have remained historians and fans, and others – especially from younger generations – were fascinated by how multi-faceted and ambitious the Fair was.”

“When the 60th Anniversary was around the corner, I knew that we needed to mark the occasion once again. I wanted to draw inspiration from the Fair itself, and have a range of activities over the course of six months,” she added.

Sacramone grew up in Ohio, the daughter of an arts teacher and a graphic designer who instilled an appreciation for the arts in me. She discovered theater in college, then moved to New York.

“First I lived in Manhattan, but then I moved to Astoria, Queens. I was so inspired by the diversity and vibrancy of the neighborhood that I became inspired to run a nonprofit arts institution there,” she continued.

Knowing many theater artists in Queens, she wanted to create more opportunities for artists in Queens. First, she became executive director of Astoria Performing Arts Center in 2005, then moved to Queens Theatre in 2013.

The theme of the 1964/65 Fair was “Peace Through Understanding.” At that time, different countries sponsored Pavilions celebrating their cultures, new foods were introduced to the States, imaginations were captured by technological innovations, and a range of artistic experiences.

Sacramone believes it still resonates. “Today, Flushing Meadows Corona Park draws incredibly diverse communities, as a beautiful green space, a cultural hub, and a home to world famous sports attractions. Our event series will both honor the memories of those who attended the Fair and also – perhaps – lead people to discover how amazing the Park is today.”

From speaking with community members who are particularly invested in keeping the history of the Fair , Sacramone knew that there was a real need among them to be in a community celebration together.

“The theme itself gives Queens Theatre an opportunity to offer a broad range of events and work with incredible partners from the Louis Armstrong House Museum, to the Queensboro Dance Festival and the Queens Chamber of Commerce. I knew that the series would be joyful, interesting and playful,” she continued.

Kiara Paige founded and leads The CarNYval Dancers company. The company comprises dancers from various cultural backgrounds of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora.

A few dancers have Caribbean roots: Nerissa McCollin was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Tatiana Turnage is of Jamaican and Puerto Rican heritage and Nyree Binns is of Jamaican heritage.

They have had various memorable experiences and they all center around the physical training for this event series.

“A lot of what we do and our cultural dances require flexibility and stamina. Our rehearsal sessions are approximately three hours long or longer and consist of high intensity – cardiovascular movement, dynamic and deep stretching while having fun,” Paige said.

She added that it is an incredibly rewarding experience because, “Our shared cultural connections and similar backgrounds fosters a seamless and collaborative process. The mutual understanding and appreciation of our heritage allows us to communicate effectively, create beautiful art and BRING D’ CARNYVAL to these event spaces.”

Paige and the dancers aspire for Theaterama to serve as a powerful reminder of the beauty and richness of their culture, celebrating their vibrant heritage through captivating performances and storytelling.

“By showcasing the talents and voices of Caribbean artists, we hope to reinforce that our culture is not only seen and appreciated but that it plays a vital role in this city. We are represented, we matter, and our cultural contributions continue to shape and enrich the broader community,” Paige continued.

Paige hopes that CarNYval Dancers serve as a guiding light for the next generation of creatives and helps to amplify their artistic voices. She also hopes that they can continue to provide a safe space for our young people to be themselves authentically while representing and celebrating their culture.

For the younger generations in communities in the Caribbean, Binns wants to inspire you to fearlessly bring your authentic selves into the art you create.

“As Caribbean people, our cultural experiences are beautiful and valuable in every space we step into, and by embracing our culture we allow our creativity to be fueled and shared in a way that is uniquely authentic to us,” she stated.

“What I love most about creating art is the shared feeling of community and representation it facilitates, and through sharing my passion for my Jamaican-American culture, I want to leave a legacy that energizes my community to proudly express their culture, too.”

The second event in the series will be on August 4, for free at the theater. Those interested in attending who have questions can email the theater here: info@queenstheatre.org.

To stay updated on the work of the CarNYval Dancers, those interested can follow the company on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/carnyvaldancers/?hl=en, and on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ITSCARNYVAL/.

Queens celebrates 60th Anniversary of World’s Fair with special local event series – Caribbean Life (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Virgilio Hermann JD

Last Updated:

Views: 6238

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Virgilio Hermann JD

Birthday: 1997-12-21

Address: 6946 Schoen Cove, Sipesshire, MO 55944

Phone: +3763365785260

Job: Accounting Engineer

Hobby: Web surfing, Rafting, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Ghost hunting, Swimming, Amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Virgilio Hermann JD, I am a fine, gifted, beautiful, encouraging, kind, talented, zealous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.