Volunteer Spotlight : Leslie Ann Kilpatrick aka L.A.


“Before mankind talked to one another, they dance together. ” ~ L.A. Kilpatrick


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.


How did you first stumble upon Dance Parade? 


I was invited by DJ McDonald to the International Day of Dance Event at DNA


What is your current role in Dance Parade? 


DP Liaison Coordinator; My job is to organise a team of liaisons to serve the 2012 Parade participants and to recruit Groups and Grand Marshals


What is your favorite style of dance to watch? to participate in?


I love watching all forms of dance.  Since moving to NYC a year ago I’ve had the opportunity to attend many diverse performances and classes.  I love taking Limon classes at PeriDance, Ballet class with Ashley Tuttle, and Pilates with Blossom. The performances I enjoyed the most this past year were Maria Gillespie’s Oni Dance Co., Amanda Selwyn’s premiere of Five Minutes, & Paul Taylor’s Black Tuesday!


What is your dance background? 


Ballet/Modern/Contemporary/Improv.  I began studying ballet from Maryane Murphy at age seven.  She passed on her love of dance through Andalusia Ballet, and I consider myself blessed that our lives crossed paths!  While attending college, Prof. Popovich, an expert of Vaganova, cleaned my technique, and I found my calling in modern dance.  I had the privilege of training under Teri Weksler. Aside from teaching me Limon & Horton, Teri was a great mentor when I was faced with post grad decisions.  Before moving to NYC, I was a trainee at Mobile Ballet, Inc., Montgomery Ballet, & spent a Summer studying improve with Maria Gillespie and Kate Hutter in Los Angeles.The Giant Toad Car, or Aloft Circus’s gang dancer on best bikes, or Manhattan Samba, I don’t know. Dance Parade consists of so many amazing performers, choosing one is hard to do!


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? 


I really miss sharing the stage with Jon Caspian.  Jon was my partner in college.  After 1 year of partnering class once a week together, I wasn’t afraid to try any move.  The last time I danced with Jon was one of my proudest performances.  It was a duet in Intrigue by Teri Weksler. I hope that we will be able to perform together again someday!


What does the Dance Parade slogan “one parade, many cultures” mean to you?


I believe all mankind is connected through dance.  If you watch National Geographic, like I do, then you might even say all creatures are connected through dance.  Before mankind talked to one another, they dance together.  I think it is clever slogan because this single event, single day, brings joy to people of all walks of life.


What dance group are you most looking forward to seeing this year in the parade?  


Oh, how could I pick… The Giant Toad Car, or Aloft Circus’s gang dancer on bikes, or Manhattan Samba,  I don’t know. Dance Parade consists of so many amazing performers, choosing one is hard to do!


If you could pick a Grand Marshall for this year’s parade….who would it be?  


Bill T. Jones!!!


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?  


I would pick DJ McDonald.  Not only is staffing critical for our organization to function, he is also a great support for other committees.  I am happy to have his assistance connecting with Grand Marshals.  I know that he helps other team member to accomplish their goals as well.


If you could pick another country to hold a Dance Parade and Festival….which would it be? 


The Netherlands because I’ve never been and always wanted to go!


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?  


At first the job was slow because I started leading the committee a month before registration opened.  Now, there are daunting times when I open my email and have so many groups contacting me.  Managing volunteer time is always difficult because work comes first, but my family has encouraged me to volunteer since I was young.  What helps me is remembering the more work the liaison team means DP 2012 will be bigger & better than before!


Describe your most special memory from Dance Parades past? 


Riding home after attending my first Dance Parade.  I was exhausted, looked a mess, and my express train was running local, but nothing could bring me down.  I was still floating in the dream like day I had of dancing.  It was like Tompkins Square Park floated away from the hectic city, away from the financially bleak earth, and all worldly things. The fellow passengers had finished boring earthly days, but I was coming home from dancing the day away!


What salesman pitch would you use to attract a new volunteer into the cult that is Dance Parade?  


I am happy to be apart of something that brings so much joy to people.  I am proud that dance parade works with educators to share the art form to another generation of movers & shakers.  Also, The people involved is a wonderful group from all walks of life that love the art of Dance.