Broadway Dance Center (BDC) strives to be a home for dance, providing world-class training to dancers far and wide in the heart of New York City. Dance Parade LLC has a similar mission, “to promote dance as an expressive and unifying art form by showcasing all forms of dance, educating the general public about the opportunities to experience dance, and celebrating diversity of dance in New York City by sponsoring a yearly city-wide dance parade and dance festival”. It’s a perfect match!
Greg Miller, Dance Parade Founder and Director, explains how Broadway Dance Center has been involved with Dance Parade from the start, twelve years ago. It grew from protest of New York City’s Cabaret Law, prohibiting dancing in crowds in public spaces. Dance Parade framed their efforts as a First Amendment Right in order to have legal clearing, and to obtain permitting to close city streets.
The organization has grown to gain 501c3 non-profit status, as well as to commission teaching artists to lead dance and movement classes across New York City’s five boroughs. This year, there are 6,000 dancers and 100 groups registered for the parade on Saturday May 19! Those include eighty different styles of dance. “We’re trying to beat our record!” says Miller. Of those numbers, 100 Broadway Dance Center dancers will be dancing in the parade – in hip-hop, contemporary, and jazz.
The event begins with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 12:45 PM, at 21st and Broadway. Same-gender salsa troupe Rhythm Locura will perform there. A parade will then commence through to Union Square and University Place, across 8th Street/Saint Marks, and ends at approximately 3pm in Tompkins Square Park.
That’s the location of the Five Stage Festival, where everyone who marches in the parade will perform on one of five stages. Throughout the afternoon, after the parade, the five stages will be simultaneously filled with performances. Both parade and festival are free and open to the public. This is possible through the generosity of individual donors and corporate sponsorship of companies who align with Dance Parade’s mission of health/wellness and public accessibility to art.
Every year has a theme, and – following the repeal of the Cabaret Law in November 2017 – the 2018 theme is “The Cabaret of Life”. This theme “reminds us of the importance of the arts, both as audience and participant. Through music, movement and costume parade participants will showcase their expression of dance,” (danceparade.org).
Past themes have included “10 Years of Dance” (2016), “Unity Through Dance” (2013), “One Parade – Many Cultures” (2008). Every year has also had different Grand Marshals – including such dance world heavyweights as Kyle Abraham, Andy Blankenbuehler, Carmen de Lavallade and Savion Glover.
This year’s Grand Marshals are choreographer Camille A. Brown, dancer Mickela “Bare Feet” Mallozzi, DJ Doc Martin of WBLS Radio and City Council Member Rafael Espinal (who was instrumental and stalwart in the legislative battle to repeal the Cabaret Law). Floats in tow will include one for Arthur Murray Dance Center (ballroom dance) and one focusing on sociopolitical dance advocacy. All in all, it’s a great opportunity to perform, watch other dancing and be involved in a movement for sharing movement with all!
For more information check out the Dance Parade website at www.danceparade.org.
By Kathryn Boland of Dance Informa.