Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Howard Gibbs-Hobgood!

Dance Parade, Inc. is a volunteer supported non-profit organization and it is the dedication, expertise and passion of these individuals that make our events so successful!
In each issue of STEPS!, we choose a different volunteer to spotlight. We ask them a few questions about the magic they help create within the Dance Parade experience.  Check out how you can volunteer for the 2016 Parade by clicking here!
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Hey Howard, Thanks for taking the time to speak with us about your background and volunteering for Dance Parade!
How did you first find out about Dance Parade?
Maybe four years ago, I was walking around the East Village and became amazed at seeing this “dancing celebration” parading down Broadway and across St. Mark’s…
And then a Brazilian dancer stepped out of her group, danced over to me, and gave me a kiss on the lips.
It was a great welcome into the Dance Parade community…
(And a great way to recruit volunteers.)

What is your current role in Dance Parade, Inc?
Volunteer coordinator.
(Also occasional designer).
I also enjoy helping lovingly coordinate the vehicles and dancers on the day of.

What is your favorite style of dance to watch? to participate in?
All of it really. But I have a special place in my heart for the Brazilian Samba.
Me? I love freestyle dancing to soul and funk music, and capoeira.
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What is your dance background or interest in dance?
I’m not a professional, but I do believe dance and music are our most primal and profound arts. We did it wiggling around the ocean floor.
And I’m interested in everything that’s primal, healing, joyful…

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?
Oh very good…
It would probably be all the most warlike leaders of the most warlike empires, ours included, Germany, Russia as well, and have them breakdance, so they work out their aggression peacefully, creatively… then tap dance a silly routine together, so we can finally have a good laugh at their antics… Lastly, I’d have them embodied by the greatest shamans in African history and do an incredibly beautiful ritual dance to heal the world…

What dance group or dance style are you most looking forward to seeing this coming year in the parade?
All of it.
I really love the effect of dance on all involved. It generates a heightened energy – it’s the eye contact, laughter, and conversations when everyone is so full of energy, and full of life.

If you could pick a Grand Marshall for this year’s parade who would it be?
Beyoncé, of course!
(Like many, I think the parade could really benefit from as high a profile celebrity as possible.)

What pitch would you use to attract a new volunteer onto the Dance Parade team?
“It’s the one day in a year when the most famous city in the world, shuts down the most famous Avenue in the world, and we… WE get to dance down New York’s Broadway in all its glory… straight into a dance party of thousands in the heart of Greenwich Village!”
“Any questions?”
“Now how would you spend a day in New York?”

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If you could pick another country to hold a Dance Parade and Festival….which would it be?
Haha, Bahia, Brazil! I lived there four years. A celebratory culture…
Come to think of it, I’d love to hold it in Rome as well. The warmth of the people…
Lagos, Nigeria or Dakar, Senegal would also be off the chain… minds would boggle…

What does this year’s theme mean to you?
A lot of great work, by a lot of great people, to create a lot of great fun, for a lot of great people.