Tag Archives: caporales

Rain Doesn’t Stop Celebration at the Dance Parade

20 May

Dancing Up a Storm

     Mid-spring in NYC is always hit or miss with the rain. This time it was a hit but only for the first half hour of the 12th annual Dance Parade. This years parade was more meaningful because the Dance Parade founder, Greg Miller, teamed up with other advocates and successfully had an outdated Cabaret Law repealed last year. Persistence paid off as people can now dance at any establishment in NYC. Prior to the repeal, dancing was permitted only in establishments that had a cabaret license which was very difficult to obtain. This archaic law went back to the Prohibition Era. So now the only Dance Police you will see is at the Dance Parade where summonses are issued if you’re not dancing to the various grooves from the hundreds of groups participating.  This is one of the best parades in the city because it brings people of all nationalities and cultures together in celebration of the most ancient of art forms…dance.


Rain Won’t Stop This Parade


Fogo Azul Having Fun


Flower Of Hope…Indeed.


     The parade starts at 21st St. and Broadway and turns on 8th St. and stops by the judges grandstand at Astor Place and continues on to Tompkins Square Park where there is more dancing displayed on various stages. It really is a great NYC event that should not be missed. After all NYC is the dance capital of the world. The first half hour of the parade had some rain soaked dancers. The Dancing Rubies were a big hit last year but this year they were soggy gems. Getting the parade started were the thunderous sounds of an all female drum ensemble. The fiery Fogo Azul with their signature sound and new dance float got the sparse crowd worked up. Once the rain slowed down, folks came out to take in the sights of the thousands of dancers especially the energetic Bolivian groups including the San Simon Caporales from Virginia. This year had a large group of Chinese dancers with great costumes. A definite crowd-pleaser were the belly dancing Flowers of Hope Group. Soon after them, a perennial favorite really got the crowd worked up, The Samba Art and Culture group led by founder Danielle Lima always gets lots of attention from the crowd with their great choreography and high energy. They always have fun showing off their dance moves. There’s always a few groups that surprise everyone with their dance moves and how much they enjoy the event. Two groups that really brought their A game was the Ukranian Dance group and a local group from Queens, The Petty Queen.   One of the biggest groups in the parade was an amazing group representing Bolivia’s San Simon Caporales USA. There were easily about 200 dancers in the group with some great costumes and traditional dance moves.  Although the rain put a damper at the start of the parade, it closed out with high energy and lots of love for one of our greatest gifts….dance.



Keeping Up With The Steps…

Hispanics Beaming With Cultural Display on 5th Ave.

11 Oct

Viva La Hispanidad

     The largest display of Hispanic culture in the US occurred this past Sunday on 5th Ave. with over 18 Spanish-speaking nations united to represent their particular customs through costume and dance in the 53rd annual Hispanic Day Parade. October is known as Hispanic Heritage month and this was one huge celebration of all the contributions made to help build this country. NYC is the largest Hispanic city in the country and the parade helps remind revelers of traditional customs from their motherland.  Light rain early on did not stop the hundreds of thousands of revelers from lining up the parade route from 44th to 72nd Sts. The weather cleared up some and the fun started when the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. This years honorary lead group was ARCIA Drum and Bugle Corp. representing Panama. They got things warmed up for a spectacular day of cultural display and unity among nations. After parade VIPs and dignitaries made their way up to the reviewing stand on 64th St., a group of young dancers dressed in traditional Spaniard flamenco attire showed off some of their moves. A surprise display was a mural from Spanish artist Leyton with his homage to Pablo Picasso. The parade always starts off with Spain as the lead group since they were one of the first Europeans to cross the Atlantic to the New World.  Casa Galicia represented Spain with their traditional bagpipe marching band.


Homage to Picasso


El Salvador Bringing It


Panamanian Polleras


     The sequence of the parade always goes in alphabetical order even though the Bolivians always have more groups than anyone else and scatter them throughout the parade. Argentina displayed a float with a pair of tango dancers and a classy singer pumping out national tunes with heartfelt tones. Bolivians have some of the most diverse of any groups. They have Tinkus with a very energetic dance and colorful costumes and Morenales which have a slower paced dance and the favorite Caporales paying homage to San Simon. Chileans came up the parade route with their Huasos (cowboys) and lovely partners performing a Cueca dance, the National dance of Chile. Then the party really got started when the Colombians made their way up the parade route. Last years Appreciation Award winner returned in full force with the Carnavalers From Baranquilla. They were one of the most energetic groups and proud to show off their magnificent costumes. Soon after them was the traditional Colombian Cumbia dance group. A bit more toned down but still fun to watch. Costa Rica showed off their beauty queen while the Dominican Republic sent their mischievous diablos to crack their whips.


Spaniards Taking the Lead


Dominican Diablos Getting Fired Up


Bolivian Angels Flying Up the Parade Route


      Ecuador had traditional dancers showing their moves. A show-stealer was definitely the El Salvador Torito Pinto Marching Band down from Boston. Their marching band was a diverse instrumental band with a large brass band section that tore it up. Guatemala sent a nice band from Trenton, NJ. Honduras had a nice float with traditional dancers. Mexico had a good diverse group with Indians and a nice group performing the Danze de los Tecuanes (dance of the Jaguar). Nicaragua displayed an original artwork of unifying flags from Hispanic nations. Panama always brings a large a proud display of culture. They are very proud of their bugle and drum bands as well as their traditional polleras. It truly was an amazing sight. Paraguay sent their cowboys and cowgirls. They always send a group of ladies performing the folkloric Danza de las Botellas (The Bottle Dance). Peru had a nice group of traditional dancers. Puerto Rico had a group of salsa dancers but more importantly had a large banner of where to donate to help recover from one the most disastrous hurricanes to claim the island. Have no doubt, Puerto Rico will rise even stronger than before. Uruguay had a float with traditional Candombe band but its really better to watch them march and dance instead of riding on a float. Wrapping things up was Venezuela with a nice float and fun dancers.


Jaguar Scaring the Crowd


Panamanian Float


Paraguay Bottle Dancers


     This was one of the better parades of the year. It showed the diversity and strength of the Hispanic culture. People from all parts of the world come in to march and watch a grand extravaganza that made anyone watching captivated by its glory and passion.

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Que Alegria..What Happiness

Thousands Dancing For Peace on Broadway

21 May

Dancing Rubies Having Fun

     The mid-Spring heatwave broke just in time for a cool weather day to help the thousands of dancers participating in the 11th annual Dance Parade. Each year the young parade has been gaining more popularity with dancers coming from all over the country and as far as China to celebrate the most ancient of art forms right here in the dance capital of the world, NYC. All kinds of dance forms were on display which makes this parade one of the best in the city. It’s all about dance and the diversity in which it brings. Lots of people on the parade route starting on Broadway and 21st St. stopped to marvel at the costumes and unique moves…whether it’s from the Bolivians colorful costumes or the Caribbean cultures bringing the heat or the house music coalition or Indian Bhangra or the sultry belly dancers… everyone was having fun dancing. The parade helps to raise awareness of some of the most archaic cabaret laws in the city that prohibit three or more people from dancing at a club or bar with a cabaret license, which is almost impossible to obtain. There has been a more enthusiastic push to change the cabaret laws especially with a more receptive mayor in office. With more pressure and common sense, the city can loosen the Prohibition era law and allow people to dance when and where they choose to.


Capoeira Dancers Going At It


Bolivian Tinkus Giving It Their All


Enough Said


     This years Dance Parade theme is Dance for Peace and there were plenty of good willed dancers out having a good time starting with Dancers of Universal Peace kicking things off.  Parade revelers were treated to a special guest as Grand Marshall Mestre Joao Grande of Capoeira fame was on the first float.  The 500 year old Afro-Brazilian art form was displayed by two groups that amazed the judges by the Astor Place reviewing stands. The thunderous drum band heard a block away was gaining momentum as Fogo Azul got the crowd worked up for what would be an amazing day of music and dance. Of all the ethnic groups that participate in the parade, the Bolivians bring their best. Their groups are broken up into the high energy indigenous Tinkus, the sequined cowboy/cowgirl costumed Caporales dedicated to San Simon (St. Paul), and the methodical Morenales. They come from all over the country to represent Bolivian dance and culture. As a prelude to the West Indian Parade, two Caribbean groups really got the crowd worked up. If you weren’t dancing by then, you literally have no pulse. Slowing things down somewhat were a sultry group of dancers named Dancing Rubies. They put on a really good show. The international groups were really up to the task of showing off their moves. Groups with ties to Mexico, China, India, Brazil, Spain, and Korea were seen having lots of fun dancing it up. Probably the best thing is how many young kids were at the parade in costume learning their traditional dances. Bravo.


Dance Royalty Maurice Hines


Belly Dancers to the Rescue


Swinging Into Action


     Parade revelers were treated to Dance Royalty when Grand Marshall Maurice Hines and his float of young tap dancers arrived to everyone’s delight. At 72, he can out dance most people half his age. A group named Flowers of Hope got the crowd worked up with their belly dancing. They were soon followed by the all female drum band and parade favorite Batala. Another NYC favorite, the Cobras stepped up their game with moves imitating their charismatic band leader. Closing out the parade were the young dance group, XDance showing off their Salsa dance moves. They were real good and their membership keeps growing each year. The after parade festival continued into Tompkins Square Park where stages were set up to instruct students from 5 to 95 on dancing and keep the party going.




Bolivians Embrace Newborn Parade In Queens

17 Oct


As NYC is the world capital of parades, it seems only fitting to attend the first ever Bolivian parade in Jackson Heights Queens. Arguably the most diverse neighborhood in NYC, Jackson Heights is the home to many multicultural groups and this past Sunday, the Bolivians had the chance to showcase their tradition and culture through music, dance, and costume. Rachel was attending the Avon Breast Cancer Walk, so there won’t be as many great pictures of the event but there are some nice videos of dancing and the genuine happiness shown by spectators. Close to noon the parade route along 37th Ave. was beginning to get filled up with spectators eager to see what was in store for the day and the crowd was definitely not disappointed.  Kicking off the parade was a man dressed in a jazzy white costume on a motorcycle followed by the parade sponsors Bolivian Parade of New York as they marched up the parade route to the reviewing stand on 84th St.  The Comite Civico Cultural Boliviano group proudly raised many of the Bolivian flags with the traditional red green and yellow stripes. Red for the brave soilders, green for fertility and yellow for the natural minerals. Then the fun started as Pasion Boliviana with their dancing Indians got the crowd worked up.  Traditional dancing and costumes were the main presentation of Morenada Central USA while a Bolivian beauty queen soon followed to introduce the Grupo Cultural Incallajta with their colorful costumes and lively dancing.

 Tributes to San Simon by several groups were the main part of the parade.Sambos Por Siempre led the procession followed by San Simon USA with their colorful turquoise uniform depicting the old Spanish military guard including boots with large cascabelles or bells . Breaking up the caporales dancers was an interesting float called Viva Santa Cruz with a group of traditional countryside dancers. They were fun to watch and a definite crowd pleasers. An energetic group of Caporales from Virginia displayed their dance moves while the Caporales from New York soon followed. A parade just isn’t a parade without a marching band and the only band present was the Banda Sensacion de Nueva York leading the way for a traditional dancing group. The crowd was really pleased to see and hear them perform and many were cheering alegria which means happiness in Spanish. Closing out the parade were the Morenda Cocanis de Virginia with one of the best representations of Carnival and the Gran Poder dance.  For it’s first parade the Bolivian community was treated to a fun day of culture and tradition and I look forward to next year’s parade.


Dancing Like It’s the End of the World..almost

29 May


 After a week of cloudy raw days the sun broke out for a summer like day of dancing and music and lots of fun by the dancers and viewers alike. Rachel and I made our way from the 6th Ave. food festival over to 21 st. and Broadway where the preparade buzz was kicking higher than the Rockettes during the holidays.  The 5th annual Dance Parade was getting ready to step out onto Broadway and just as stage performers get pumped up to put on a show the energy level was intense everywhere you looked. Only in the greatest city in the world can such a diverse display of culture come together in honor of one of the threads that binds humanity in the art form of dance expression. And right now, there’s one organization that can pull off the event. While all the organizers were in the zone preparing for the event, Rachel met  with Karen Kriegel from the World Dance Initiative while I talked with Jose Rivera of the group Ayazamana. Jose explained the dance the group would perform is the San Juanito,  a folkloric dance of celebration in Ecuador. Colorful costumes were plentiful. Rachel was having a field day taking some great photos but before we knew it parade organizers were calling groups to line up in order as the parade was ready to kick off.


     After the Dance Parade banner was proudly displayed by staff members, the first dance company appeared. The Yosokoi Dance Project displayed an unwavering spirit of happiness and hope in the wake of tragic loss of life in Japan due to the earthquake and tsunami in March.  The group helped pass the tradition to the youngest performer that was easily a crowd pleaser.  The next notable group was Manhattan Tribal with leader Mimi Fontana. The group spoke the universal language of body talk through hand and body with a captivating appeal that you just didn’t want to end. NYC Bhangra displayed a great rendition of bhangra and bollywood style dances. Without doubt some of the most colorful costumes had to be from the Bolivian Tinkus and San Simon Caporales. Their energetic dance helps preserve Bolivian folklore.  Ayazamana made their appearance with an energetic San Juanito dance.  Closing out the ethnic and cultural representation were the Bomba and Plena of Puerto Rico and Elea Gorana Dance with children doing traditional Bulgarian dances that pleased the crowd.

     The next group of dancers were a combination of fine dance schools from modern to ballet to hip hop to jazz and ballroom to salsa and samba and roller disco and hustle. Many standout dancer groups were Dance New Amsterdam, Neville Dance Theatre, Brasileirando,  New York Chicago Style Steppers, 5 Rhythms, Broadway Bodies, NY Hustle Flash Mob, Dance Manhattan, Fully Focused Dance Troupe and the amazing Body & Pole/Pole Riders making jawdropping splits. A parade just isnt a parade without a marching band and there were two that could have had a good battle. The amazing Kansas City Marching Falcons Drill team brought their A game in dance and instruments. Not to be outdone was the local Medgar Evers College Prep Marching Band with a loud and proud brass section. One group of lovely ladies that became a crowd favorite were the roller disco Sisters in Motion in their snazzy turquoise outfits. Shortly behind them was the outdoor rapture party dancing to house music. Hundreds of dancers partied like it was their last day. All kinds of outrageous costumes and floats including the magic toad, a crazy disco float and the Pacha float that closed out the parade as everyone danced over to Tompkins Square Park with their hands raised in the air.

     On our way to the park for the DanceFest, a few buses were parked just outside the park on 10th St. Rachel and I noticed the bus had its luggage compartment open and resting were some of the Bolivian dancers drenched in sweat. They gave it their all and left it on the parade route as did most of the dancers.  The DanceFest showcases some great dance talent on three stages throughout the park. Free dance lessons were offered to anyone that wanted to pick up a new step or two. Rachel and I agreed the parade had an uplifting and joyful feel to it and in some ways was a combination of the Mermaid and West Indian parades. We certainly hope this young and one of a kind parade becomes as popular as those city favorites.      Congrats DanceParade… Job well done.


Next Parades:

Turkish Parade Saturday May 28th Madison Ave and 51th st. at 11am.

Haitian Parade- Sunday May 29th Nostrand Ave and Linden Aves Brooklyn at 11am

Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade – Monday May 30th Northern Blvd and Jayson St,  Great Neck Queens 2pm 

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