One more summer dance: Multigenerational troupe delights crowd with Washington Square Park show

Seniors rocked out at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village during a Sept. 14 performance (Photos by Tequila Minsky)

BY TEQUILA MINSKY | Dancers spanning all different generations threw an incredible performance before a crowd of hundreds at Washington Square Park’s Garibaldi Plaza on Saturday night, Sept. 14.

Naomi Goldberg Haas’ Dances for a Variable Population (DVP) delighted the Greenwich Village crowd with their program “Revival 3, It’s About Time,” at the same spot where she held dance classes every Tuesday morning during the summer.

The dancers, mostly seniors, leaped, sashayed, and swung their hips with engaging choreography to nine different numbers in genres including pop music, funk and Latino. Whistles and cheers, especially to James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing!,” emanated from the audience.

The dancers, aside from guest artists who participated, are all students in the classes of Naomi Goldberg Haas.

Founded in 2005, DVP promotes strong and creative movement among adults of all ages and abilities. The organization holds “Movement Speaks and Dances for Seniors,” which provides free community-based programs for low-income, minority, and underserved older adults in four boroughs of New York City.

Performance and choreographic opportunities for older professional dance artists through these programs lead to these public performances. Nine older professionals were part of the Sept. 14 program.

This summer, to the sound of Washington Square Park waking up, police guard barriers served as the barre for students who took Naomi Goldberg Haas’ one-hour class held on “the stage.” They followed those routines by flooding Garibaldi Plaza with other movement exercises.

Starting Wednesday, Sept. 25, the 90-minute classes will move indoors to the Parks Department gym at the Dapolito Recreation Center, Clarkson Street and 7th Avenue South. The class is free with Parks Department Center membership, $25 for non-member seniors. It’s the only class among the 17 DVP sites in Greenwich Village.

Students are not only from the neighborhood, as some travel from the Upper West Side and Brooklyn to take the class.

DVP site-related performances have been held in the City’s iconic public spaces. Grant’s Tomb in Riverside Park served as the staging venue this summer for the well-received recital performance.

Haas has worked in concert dance, theatre, opera and film. Recently, she was awarded a prestigious DANCE USA 2019-20 Fellowship for Artists addressing Social Change.

The performance at Washington Square Park was made possible with support from a number of city and state cultural agencies, as well as public funds from the National Endowment of the Arts.