Dance Parade, Inc. is a volunteer supported non-profit organization! It is the dedication, expertise and rhythm of these brave few that are solely responsible for the success of the event and all the background work that goes on all year long leading up to the parade and festival. Every month, we choose a different volunteer to spotlight. We ask them a few questions to let you know who they are, where they’ve come from and where they see themselves in the future.
Meet David Jason Williams!
How did you first find out about Dance Parade?
I first heard about Dance Parade a number of times randomly because of living in the lower east side where the parade ends up in Tompkins Square park. In the process of growing as an artist I met Princess Lockerooo she told me about the dance parade and said that there would be a possibility I could DJ for her and the Waacktion heroes on an Ovation sponsored float and stand for a TV channel that supported the arts on television while also representing Disco, Waacking, Soul Train and the international dancers all around the world. This is when Dance parade first popped up on my radar as something I wanted to partake in, helping to gain sponsorship and recognition for these art forms.
What is your current role in Dance Parade?
I am a volunteer in Dance Parade who specializes in marketing and graphic design. I continuously help with my DJing as well as in developing social gatherings that bring the volunteers of dance parade closer and engaged in the many aspects of DANCE PARADE NYC.
What is your favorite style of dance to watch? to participate in?
That is a great question. I am captivated by watching people dance to house music, and vogue. I love watching Star Love Princess Lockerooo waack with her dancers at our party WAACKTOPIA. I enjoy watching choreographed performances and freestyles battles, with some of the best dancers in NYC.
What is your dance background?
I have been dancing since I was born. My dad had the record collection of a 25 year old DJ in the 70s which he was. My brother and I would make up routines to dances from songs by the RnB and Rock and 80s Pop stars Prince, The Time, Cameo and hip hop groups like Kid and Play. We were the baddest dancers in my family and this was when I was about 8 years old. I could do the split like James brown. The wind mill like Crazy Legs of Rock Steady Cru, and the Moon Walk like Michael Jackson before I even left elementary school. My band teacher Mrs White was instrumental in influencing my dance when she would play records for us to dance to every day at school. When I was in 6th grade I choreographed my own dance routine equipped with “fly girls” to Bell Biv Devoes song “Poison” I was always into music. By high school I was in a performing arts school called Laguardia and some of my best friends were modern, jazz and contemporary dancers so I became aware of what it took to be a professional. I knew I was a dancer at heart so after High School although I wasn’t a professional dancer I auditioned for a dance company Black Dance Repertoire. I was one of the few males that made the audition and went on to perform and choreograph several dances with BDR (Black Dance Repertoire) that ranged from Haitian, Latin, Hip Hop and Modern Dance.
If you could share the stage with anyone in history famous or not, living or deceased, a trained dancer or not, performing a routine choreographed by yourself…who would it be?
It would be Fela Kuti for me. I would love to freestyle rhyme over his wonderful beats and dance to his melodic rhythms. Speak poetry over his instrumental breaks and collaborate with him on every instrument he had on stage. I would be his right hand man all the way through.
What does this year’s theme “Be The Momentum” mean to you?
Momentum means a continuous motion set off by one movement. Dancers move ideas from the thought world to the physical world. Event planners and people create opportunities for artists to exist on stages, create opportunities to ‘move’ the crowd, moving media, colours, posters, word of mouth and flyers around to spread information to those who need to hear it. Be the momentum means you can be a part of the movement. You can be a part of an incredible experience.
What dance group are you most looking forward to seeing this year in the parade?
Because my experience was solely with the Princess Lockerooo and her Waacking float that is all I am looking forward to. My second best dance group is the 5 rhythms group. 5rhythms are doing a style of dance that really makes me feel good. Estatic, freeform and full of love.
If you could pick a Grand Marshall for this year’s parade….who would it be?
It would be Justin Timberlake. He has been infuenced by Michael Jackson and other great pop stars but for our time period he has made his mark as a great pop star dancer and good person. He has street credibility with me and if he came to the New York area to support us dancing down town I would be proud.
Part of volunteering has a lot to do with strong leadership skills and major teamwork skills….if you were to pick a volunteer of the month…who would you choose?
My volunteer of the month pic would be Chauncey. He is a mover and shaker. A lot of stuff gets done because he opens up and speaks his mind. And I find him to be a key team player and reason to why I am here as a volunteer today.
If you could pick another country to hold a Dance Parade and Festival….which would it be?
India looks like they really know how to hold a celebration. Bollywood? Come on now. Lets get that going!
Volunteering at a non profit organization can at times be daunting and frustrating with limited personnel and limited funding….what is it that keeps you coming back for more and more?
Mel is my mentor. He cares about me and my comfort in the non profit organization we call DANCE PARADE. I think a good cause is important. But it is the people who make up the organization that mean most when the going gets rough. Although I like that we are doing something great and bringing dance back to NYC after it suffered such a lost due to the cabere laws but that vision is not my own. Its the people in the organization that I like to help and I am glad it is filled with great kind loving people like Mel Alvarez.
Describe a special memory you have from Dance Parades past?
I remember Djing in Tompkins square park. And one of the dancers on my float left her passport on the float. The float and its driver went back to its destination several miles out of the city. She had to fly out the next day!! I was the Waacktion Hero that was placed on the case. My moments after finding that out I remember I was me Djing for Star Love Princess Lockerooos waacking class. Her teacher Tyrone Proctor got up and started teaching as well and dancing. I was playing “Magic Bird of Fire” a classic waacking disco song. I began to experience the lineage and synergy of this disco music from my father, to Tryone, to Lockerooo, To Soul Train dancers to the dancers in the park learning and expressing the dance. After that EPIC moment I had to immediately get the dancer her missing passport! In costume in all we went on a mission to do so and finally did retrieve it. It was an adventure of a lifetime I will never forget.
What pitch would you use to attract a new volunteer onto the Dance Parade team?
If you want to be a part of bringing dance of all styles back into the culture of New York City, be the momentum and join DANCE PARADE NYC in creating the best parade in New York City history.
Thank you David! Looking forward to sharing some new Dance Parade moments with you this year!
Look for an exclusive mix by David aka DJ UNDAKOVA soon on AUDIO DANCE PARADE our original podcast series featuring DJs from all over the world that support our mission! You can check out previous episodes here