Swing, Afro-Caribbean, traditional Chinese, hip-hop, mambo, salsa, ballet — these are just a few of the 100 dance styles represented in NYC’s 16th Annual Dance Parade, an event that could very well be on its way to legendary status.
Over 10,000 dancers made their way on May 21 from Broadway and 20th to Tompkins Square Park in 90 degree heat, with many of them proceeding to one of the stages to perform for a packed park. Not all had their feet on the ground — some roamed on stilts, others on roller skates and still some atop a float, but they were all still dancing.
It was a day of unicorns and party buses, kids and senior citizens, tango and funk. Grandstand Lead Dana Humphrey commented that “the Dance Parade is energized with a lot of strong, grounded love and care, so everyone can feel free to let loose and dance.”
“It’s an intense, spirited and marvelous event. Joy and sunshine and dancing create a magical effect,” she added.
When the dancers found themselves at Tompkins Square Park, the end of the route, they just kept dancing, onstage and off.
Roger Clark and Patsi Arias of Spectrum’s NY1 News opened up the four-hour Dancefest performance on the main stage by introducing Grand Marshals Heidi Latsky, Rich Medina and Eduardo Vilaro.
In the back of the park, additional stages included the Family Stage, a Teaching Stage and a DJ dance party adjacent to the Aerial Stage where performers took turns on a pole and aerial silks provided by the House of Yes. All through the park dance groups, community organizations and sponsors had booths set up to dispense info and the occasional swag, including the extremely popular electric fans given away by Spectrum.
It wasn’t unusual to hear people saying, in one way or another, that this was their favorite day of the year.
Jake Ohring, a volunteer with the onsite medic team, exclaimed that, “This was one of the greatest days that I’ve had in New York City. It’s a celebration of everything that makes New York amazing.”
More info at danceparade.org.