Dance Parade New York presents its 12th annual parade and festival, May 19, in New York City. The parade route is one and a half miles, with an expected 10,000 dancers performing more than 80 unique styles. Dance Parade executive director Greg Miller gives us the scoop on the big event.
Dance Teacher: Tell us what inspired the theme of this year's parade—"The Cabaret of Life."
Greg Miller: In 2005, I noticed that there were all these signs around NYC that said "No Dancing." I learned there was a 1926 Cabaret Law in place that required restaurants to have a license for dancing. The license was hard to get, so a lot of restaurants didn't have one, and it really suppressed culture. Kevin Bacon even remarked that it was like a real-life Footloose. We initially organized a dance parade in 2007 to show all the expressive forms of dance to protest the Cabaret Law. The law went on for 91 years. Just last year [October 2017], we were able to repeal it—hence the theme: "The Cabaret of Life."
Photo by Peter Cai, courtesy of NYC Dance Parade
DT: What do you hope to accomplish with this event?
GM: The purpose is to present the diversity of dance, to educate the public about opportunities to experience dance, and, as a sub-purpose, to preserve dance's role within our culture. The healthy act of dancing should not be regulated, but encouraged. We want to inspire all to participate and enjoy culture, no matter who you are.
DT: How do dance teachers benefit from the parade?
GM: Studios are able to participate in this event, and it's great. They get exposure, and they get to share their love of dance with the city. But what's also really great is for teachers to bring their students to watch. It will open their students' eyes to the types of dance styles that are out there. In the past, teachers have watched the parade, seen styles they'd never seen before, gone home, trained in that style and put it into their curriculum.