Over 9000 dancers will participate in the Eighth Annual Dance Parade and Festival in New York on Saturday May 17th 2014, starting at 1:00pm – the world’s largest display of dance diversity. Over 155 dance groups will showcase 77 dance styles and cultures down Broadway in a multi-cultural, rhythm-infused, magical display of movement, art and color. The Parade unfolds as a vibrant procession of pageantry and movement embodying the cultural richness that New York reflects as a global dance city. Ancient styles such as African, Estonian, Japanese and Middle Eastern fall in with modern innovations such as tap, swing, contemporary, urban, social forms and hip-hop.
“There’s an expression ‘if it feels good, do it,’ and dance feels good. You can see that in all the smiling faces from one culture to the next,” says Greg Miller, Executive Director of Dance Parade, Inc, the non-profit organization that produces the day’s events. “This year’s theme Be The Momentum is a call to action to celebrate a shared love of dance. We want to inspire folks to take on this fun and healthy activity.“
Cutting the ribbon this year at the start of the Parade will be the amazing Tony Award Winner, tap dancer marvel and choreographer, Savion Glover, Grammy award winning producer and DJ Hex Hector and Doris Duke Artist Award winner and artistic director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar of the world renowned African diaspora dance company, Urban Bush Women.
“It is hugely challenging to organize but there is nothing like it on the planet, ” said Rifka Lopez, this year’s Parade Production Director. “We have groups who register to come back year after year – the Bolivian Tinkus, Fusha Dance, Pink Tutu Ballet, the word spreads, and to date we have 9000 dancers registered to dance in 155 different groups performing 77 styles of dance. And that’s not including the single dancers who can still register to dance on the day of the Parade.”
The Parade unites dancers of all genres and ages throughout New York City under the 2014 theme Be the Momentum. Leading out the Parade this year will be the Iskra Ukranian Dance Ensemble. It begins at 1pm on 21st Street and Broadway, moves south through Union Square and down University Place to 8th street where each group dances before a Grandstand. Turning east on 8th Street Parade dancers salsa, swing and two-step their way across Saint Marks Place and into Tompkins Square Park in the East Village for DanceFest. The Festival, a four-hour program of free dance performances on four stages with lessons, experience dance booths and site specific and social dancing throughout the Park.
This year’s Parade will also feature senior dancers who learned routines through a five-week Community Outreach program, organized through the New York City Department of Aging. “It’s exciting to see seniors turn up for our dance workshops because they know the secret to an active mind is an active body,” said Shireen Dickson, Dance Parade’s Education Coordinator. And keeping it real are America’s first breakdance group of mothers over 50 – Momz N Da Hood.