Our Vision


what is dance parade?

Dance Parade’s mission is to inspire dance through the celebration of diversity. On Saturday May 16, 2015 over 10,000 dancers will converge on the streets of New York City showcasing 75 styles of dance making the 9th Annual Dance Parade and Festival the world’s largest display of cultural diversity.

Four Grand Marshals span the diversity of dance –renowned 84year old contemporary theater artist, choreographer and dancer of stage and screen Carmen de Lavallade, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Choreographer and Artistic Director Robert Battle, Dancing Wheels founder Mary Verdi-Fletcher and pioneer of Indian bhangra dance in North America, DJ Rekha.

This year’s Dance Parade New York will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the monumental civil rights legislation embodied in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ms. Verdi-Fletcher, whose physically integrated troupe was the first professional company in the US to bring the talents of dancers with and without disabilities to the stage, will lead the parade while dancing in her wheelchair.

The parade route starts on 21st street at 1pm and shakes, shimmies and sways through Union Square to our Grandstand on 8th Street and University Place and concludes with DanceFest on 5 stages in Tompkins Square Park.

Not dancing? Watch out! Our NYDP (New York Dance Police) squad may ticket you for not dancing. Take your court summons to an area school or dance party for discounted admission.

Our Community Engagement Programs allow participants of all ages – from schools to community and senior centers – an opportunity to learn a style of dance and join their teachers in the parade.


A message from former Board Chairman, Peter Zehren:

We’re changing the world through dance! Click here for our 2015 downloadable media kit.

Dance Parade Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts services organization.

Our Mission:

To promote dance as an expressive and unifying art form by showcasing all forms of dance, educating the general public about the opportunities to experience dance, and celebrating diversity of dance in New York City by sponsoring a yearly city-wide dance parade and dance festival.

Our Core Values:

Honor: By ordering dance genres in historical order, ancient to modern, the parade represents all cultures and styles of dance to be honored. DanceFest invites the public to both participate and enjoy a taste of the parade.

Creativity: We are inspired by imagination and innovation. We encourage artistry not only in dance performances but also in the floats and vehicles in the parade. You can find our Dance Police (NYDP) joyously ticketing “bystanders” for not dancing.

Support: As an umbrella organization, Dance Parade empowers and supports dance communities that do not have access to public funding yet have a communicative art form they wish to practice and promote. We help them build websites, get access to materials, fundraise, and reach broader audiences.

Educate: Offer a public stage to and advance knowledge of a near-limitless range of human dance styles.

Unity: We encourage a non-competitive spirit and common love of dance among diverse cultures and genres. Our participants come together to respect Dance’s diversity. Dance is vital in healthy societies, helping people to communicate and affirm individual and collective identity. Dance Parade is a multi-cultural, multi-generational expression of the joy and value of these various forms of expression. It will foster cross-pollination of dance forms as it introduces audiences to novel styles and beats: teenagers to tango, clubbers to square-dancing, and seniors to hip-hop.

Accept: We acknowledge dance as a communicative, social form of expression. Dance Parade serves as an evolution answer to historical supression of dance. In the 19th century, ballroom dancing was deemed devil’s work. In the 1920’s, New York City enacted the Cabaret Law to stem interracial dancing from Harlem Jazz Clubs. The 1930’s had Nazi Germany quashing Swing Dancing because it was considered anarchistic. And in 2006, a New York State Supreme Court ruled that, unlike music, theater and painting, dance was not a constitutionally protected form of expression. In contrast, Dance Parade celebrates the diversity found in its many forms and showcases dance’s immense cultural and communicative importance.

Celebrate: The parade and festival serve to evoke joy and community.  We connect to each other by a shared passion for dance–Be a part of the parade and witness it first hand!