You may not have heard of it — we certainly hadn’t when we stumbled onto it — but the third* New York Dance Parade waltzed, stomped, jeted, bumped & ground, merengued, and swung from Broadway and 28th to Tompkins Square Park Saturday afternoon.
“Dance Parade and Festival Day” is declared by mayoral proclamation, which references diversity, artistic tradition and all that, but the real purpose seemed to be to promote and give a public workout to mostly amateur (though often very good) local dance teams and classes.
The ballet performers were the most trained (they really did jete, and toe-dance); everything requiring steps was at least competently performed. But the great pleasure of the thing came from the marchers’ raw enthusiasm.
Kids were of course the most excited, whether showing off simple steps or running alongside dancing parents (though the young drum and flag corps marchers were grim-faced with concentration). But the adults of all ages and levels of fitness who, it was obvious, joined a class to meet people, or get out of the house or work off nervous energy, and now found themselves contra- or belly-dancing or whatever for an audience — well, some looked mortified, but pride and glee shone off most. A float for the Nia Technique, a “movement-medicine” program for aligning mind and body, swarmed with pumped-up women who shook and swam in place and smiled ecstatically at the crowd and the sky; the back of their float bore the legend I LOVE MY BODY.
More photos after the jump.
* We originally said this was the first annual Dance Parade — but it turns out to be the third; Brooklyn Vegan recalls last year’s.