Visitors to Queens Center Mall this past weekend took a cultural trip to South America.
Queens Center, located on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst, hosted the inaugural weekend of “CultureArte,” a two-day Hispanic Heritage Month celebration that brought together the unique culture, music, fashion and dances of various Hispanic communities.
“This is a great way to give back to this portion of the community,” said Kurt Ivey, vice president of marketing for Macerich, the company that owns the mall. “This event specifically is a celebration of all Latin culture.”
The event, which took place on Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13 and was free to the public, had a main stage on the second level of the mall and the food court.
During the two-day celebration, visitors got to see performances by groups like the Argentine Tango Academy, the Ecuadorian group called Ayazamana Cultural Center and Inti Andino, Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, America Bolero Dance Company and other groups that danced bachata, merengue and reggeaton.
“To me New York is a perfect representation of all that exists in the world coming together,” said Michael Nadtochi, instructor and founder of the Argentine Tango Academy. “Hopefully people get inspired and want to learn the beauty of the Argentine tango.”
The weekend also featured live dance performances by “Dancing with the Stars” renowned dancers Yesenia Adame and Rodrigo Guzman who choreographed a combination of different Latin dances into one set. The duo also selected some audience members to come up and try some of the dance moves.
“I’m Latina and very proud of it,” said Adame, who is Mexican-American. “I’m very proud of my Latin culture because it’s such a beautiful culture.”
Along with the performances, visitors were also able to see a fashion show with trends they can find right in the mall, get their own front cover shot with Vanidades, the Spanish-language fashion magazine for women, and enter to win a trip for two to Las Vegas.
“It’s just wonderful coming to see my culture being honored and celebrated at an event like this,” said Catalina Dolores from Jackson Heights. “I just can’t stop wanting to get up and dance.”