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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more meaningful because the Dance Parade founder, Greg Miller, teamed up with other advocates and successfully had an outdated Cabaret Law repealed last year.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 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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