A young and lively parade that keeps drawing bigger crowds each year is the Dance Parade. Thousands of dancers make their way down Broadway near 21st St for the start of the parade and end up in Tompkins Square Park for an amazing festival and display of the various art forms from all cultures of our planet. You couldn’t have asked for a better day to boogie down Broadway than what the dancers and parade watchers had. Kicking off one of the most fun parades of the year was the Dance Manhattan float blaring Donna Summer dance music with couples dancing the hustle. One can say that the recently defunct Donna Summer changed the music and dance scene in the 70s and laid the groundwork for todays R&B and hip hop artists to prosper and flourish. The Queen of Disco will never be forgotten and thanks to the organizers of Dance Parade for opening and closing the parade with her timeless hits.
One of the groups leading the dance blast was the Cumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance. They shared the drum band with an energetic group of Samba dancers. They got the crowd worked up for what would be a festive day of dance and music and costume. From the rythmic sounds of Brazil we were transported to the far East where traditional Korean dancers and music pleased the crowd. They were just getting things warmed up for the largest group of dancers to show off their moves. The Bolivians arrived with their colorful costumes and traditional dance. First on the scene were the Tinkus group Incallajata New York. They were amazing but even more energertic and well choreographed were the San Simon Caporales. There were many represented from all parts of the country and they came to party and dance. They were a definite crowd pleaser and gave it their all. Toning things down from the loud boisterous music came the sensual belly dancers to wow the crowd and that they did. One dancer even had a boa constrictor wrapped around her neck. Modern dancers had some excellent entries and Dance New Amsterdam was one of the better ones. Not to be outdone were the New York Chicago Style Steppers getting their groove on. A personal favorite were the young salsa dancers showing off their moves to the crowd and getting them pumped up for a crowd favorite, Thriller. Every one knows Michael Jackson was the best dancer of his time and inspired many of the artists and dancers of today. And that was very well represented by the Thrill the World dance group. But what had to be the show stealer were the young ladies of One Step Ahead Dance Divas with their rendition of Beyonce’s hit Run the World. They were excellent and some of them had to be double jointed with some of those moves. Closing out the parade was a float blaring Donna Summer’s Bad Girls and the ladies surely danced the part.
Many of the parade dancers and watchers headed into Tompkins Square Park for the Dance Festival which had 3 stages set up to showcase some of the better dance groups and educate anyone who wanted a free dance lesson to join in and learn basic steps. It was a fun day for anyone from 3 to 93 as long as you have a pulse and love music and dance. This was the parade for you.