Tag Archives: dance parade

Taking It To The Streets of NY at the Dance Parade

19 May

Tribal Belly dancers Having Fun

     As diverse and multi cultural as New York City is, one parade that brings every one together to celebrate the most ancient of art forms is the Dance Parade. This young parade celebrated its 13th year and just like most teens, the parade was wild and full of life and energy. Over 10,000 dancers showed off their moves along the parade route starting on 20th St. and Broadway to 8th St. and then turning towards Tompkins Square Park where a huge festival took place after the parade. Along the way, dancers stopped by the reviewing stand at Astor Place to demonstrate their dance moves.


Bolivian Caporales 


Flamenco Dancers


Classy ladies in synch

     This years parade theme was Movement of the People and kicking things off was a float dedicated to the original ones. Honoring Indigenous people was a float carrying one of this years Grand Marshalls, Louis Mofsie, a retired school teacher and current director of the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers. Soon following them were a perennial favorite, Danielle Lima and her Samba Dance Group always get the party started with their dance moves. If you’re not moving it with this group, then you have no pulse. A section dedicated to belly dancing and fluid movements soon followed.


Danielle Lima and her Samba Dancers


Tinkus Having Fun


Mabel my Favorite Octogenarian

     70s music is always fun to dance to and uplifting. The Shining All Stars got into the action with their dance rendition of Right Back Where We Started From. The cultural dancing started getting hot and heavy with the Russians doing their thing. But as usual, the Bolivians bring out hundreds of dancers. They have such great costumes, high energy and lots of happiness doing what they do.  There are three main sections to the Bolivian group. First, the Tinkus danced with high energy. They are inclined with the Indigenous part of their culture. The Morenales is a more slower dance and reveals a part of their mining history of silver. They also have the best boots of any group. Gaining the most attention and applaud are the high energy Caporales. Groups come as far as Virginia to participate and they never disappoint.


     A group that always represents with class are the Flamenco dancers. Their float was really having a fun time. House music got lots of people moving even though the float lost some power because the energy was so high. One of my personal favorite groups are the rollerbladers. They always bring it and my favorite octogenarian still rolls up on her skates does a hula hoop dance. Mable is a living example of how music and dance are an important part of staying healthy. Got to keep moving. One group that always gets the crowds moving is Fogo Azul,  an all-female drum band. They were alot of fun as always.


       All the groups made their way towards Tompkins Square Park where stages were set up for more dancing shows. Other sections of the park were set up for dancing instruction. Dance Parade is one of my favorite parades because it unites all people across ethnic and socio-economic lines. It honors Dance in the Dance Capitol of the World right on Broadway. Shake that Groove right now, baby.



See Ya Next Year


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…

Dancing In the Rain..well almost..

22 May



The 10th annual Dance Parade was spared the heavy rains that arrived later on Saturday. It stayed away long enough for the thousands of dancers to show off their moves to the crowd. This young parade is gaining in popularity as dancers came from all over country and parts of the world to celebrate the most ancient of art forms…dance. This is one of my personal favorites because it’s one of the few parades that brings people together of all cultures and backgrounds and ages to get up and dance. And it doesn’t matter the age. On a few occasions I saw seniors in their 90s dance to the music and kids as young as two trying to find their rhythm. A thing of beauty I tell ya. The parade was delayed slightly because the March Against Monsanto had to pass by the parade route on Broadway and 8th before the dancing started. Back on 22nd St. and Broadway, the buzz was in high gear with lots of dancers getting ready to show off their moves. Once things got started, it was a non-stop party.The parade route turned on 8th St. and  into Tompkins Square Park where there was more dancing on 3 different stages. This years Grand Marshall was an amazing dancer, Kwikstep.   He helped to take break dancing to the next level and helped inspire thousands of dancers to develop new moves and improve their art form.


The first of many floats arrived with an impressive group of dancers swaying their way down the parade route. The BellyDance America dance group got the crowd really worked up.But they were just warming things up for the high energy San Simon caporales. They always give it their all. A crowd favorite, Danielle Lima and her Samba dancers, always leaves people feeling good. They make you want to join in and have fun. Then the international crowd arrived with groups from Taiwan and Mexico and India showing off their traditional dance moves. They had some amazing costumes. A rather curious group of dancers from the Solstice Tribe  had an original dance that echoed mystery and sensuality. But just as you were being lulled into a sense of serenity, the loud and proud women of Batala woke everyone up with their thunderous drum beats. A good sample of what the parade offers was when the Manhattan Tribal group danced their way the parade route followed by traditional Haitian dancers and the Cobras dance group from Harlem. The best Spanish music representation was from the exciting XDance group. They showed everyone how it’s done as they closed out the parade and asked people to follow them to Tompkins Square Park where the fun and dancing continued. Great job Dance Parade and thanks for honoring Prince on your float.



Dancing the Day Away on Broadway

17 May
Manhattan Tribal Dancers Working It

Manhattan Tribal Dancers Working It

The young and vibrant Dance Parade celebrated its 9th year on May 16th in festive style with lots of music, costumes, and what else…lots of dancing. It’s the one parade that brings all people of the world together to show off their favorite dance moves. From the sultry and sexy belly dancers to some sizzling samba to some classical ballet, the parade route from 22nd and Broadway to 8th St and Avenue A was filled with lots of high energy and good times. This years Grand Marshall float boasted an eclectic mix of dance icon and actress Carmen de  Lavallade, Alvin Ailey choreographer Robert Battle, DJ Rekha spinning a hot Bhangra mix while some Bhangra dancers got the crowd pumped up for a fun day of dance and sharing.

Grand Marshall Float

Grand Marshall Float

Yes...All Lives Matter

Yes…All Lives Matter

Bhangra Dancers Having Fun

Bhangra Dancers Having Fun

As in most parades in NYC there are always some political or social message helping bring awareness of an issue. The Thriller group which pays tribute to one of the best dancers ever, Michael Jackson, displayed banners reminding us of the value of each and every life. Yes. All lives matter. The first of a group of artists showing the crowd their slow and sensual belly dancing moves were the Pure Onyx Movement. A good pairing were the Samiras School of belly dance and the crowd favorite Manhattan Tribal. One dancer pulled a viewer into the mix and got her to shimmy some. The crowd loved their moves. A new group that got some attention was the Kizomba group with their elegant mix of  tango and bachata and zook. Cultural groups made their presence felt. The group having the most fun was the Brasileirando Samba dance group. They really worked the crowd. Not too far behind them were the Bolivian San Simone Caporales with their shiny costumes and high energy dance moves. NYC has the best nightlife in the country and some of the more popular clubs sent their floats with some crazy costumes and dancers. The Toad, an annual crowd favorite, had some crazy dancers with hula hoops really getting the crowd into it with some club music. A really fun group were the young Broadway Dance Center making up their own dance moves. For a second I was reliving the dance classic movie Fame. I wanna live forever… no matter what age, race or religion…the Dance Parade brings people together to honor and respect the most ancient of art forms…dance.  IMG_8209 IMG_8215 IMG_8218 IMG_8224 IMG_8232 IMG_8238 IMG_8244 IMG_8259 IMG_8263 IMG_8274 IMG_8279 IMG_8286 IMG_8292 IMG_8296 IMG_8298 IMG_8302 IMG_8316 IMG_8320 IMG_8335 IMG_8337 IMG_8348 IMG_8353 IMG_8366 IMG_8372 IMG_8383 IMG_8386 IMG_8395 IMG_8404 IMG_8411 IMG_8423 IMG_8427 IMG_8435

It was a Heck of a Ride...

It was a Heck of a Ride…

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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