Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Michelle DeBlasi!

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!
img_3758
Hey Michelle,
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?  
I attended my first Dance Parade in 2008 – don’t recall how I’d learned about it, but I have always had tremendous love for all forms of dance and at that time I was also an avid dance photographer, so I knew the parade was right up my alley.  I’ve been back every year since, either as a spectator or as a participant!
What is your current role in Dance Parade, Inc? 
I am currently on the Marketing Committee, also assisting the Media & Promotions Committee with Social Media.  With 10+ years of professional experience in nonprofit marketing, I’m excited to have the opportunity to apply some of that expertise to help raise awareness of Dance Parade and assist them in achieving their marketing goals!
_mg_8886

Photo Credit: Michelle DeBlasi – Dance Parade (2008)

What is your favorite style of dance to watch? to participate in? 
I enjoy watching a wide variety of styles of dance, but a few particular favorites are Butoh, because of the intense emotional content; I also will go out of my way to watch Bolivian dance groups perform, because of their unmatched energy and enthusiasm; and I am a huge fan of Flamenco.  My favorite dance styles to participate in are Argentine Tango, which I’ve been dancing for more than 15 years, and 5Rhythms, which I’ve been involved with for just over one year.
 
What is your dance background or interest in dance? 
My love of dance started with ballet lessons throughout my childhood; as an adult I became smitten with all forms of ballroom and Latin dance, though ultimately my passion for Argentine tango obliterated almost everything else. 🙂  And over the past year, I’ve gravitated strongly towards the practice of 5Rhythms.
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? 
Right now I am obsessed with the way Maddie Ziegler moves… Though I’d much rather just watch her than share a stage with her (or, yikes, choreograph a routine for her – I’m far from up to that challenge!)
What does this year’s theme “Dance for Peace” mean to you? 
I think this is a particularly beautiful theme because I believe that dance speaks to something that is universal in all of us; it allows us to express ourselves in a way that’s accessible to anyone, to communicate without words, and to break across barriers.  Dance has the power to be a unifying force, and anything that brings us together moves us towards greater peace!
_mg_8878

Photo Credit: Michelle DeBlasi – Dance Parade (2008)

What dance group or dance style are you most looking forward to seeing this coming year in the parade? 
Whichever one I haven’t seen before – I love being exposed to new dance styles that I’m not familiar with, and the Dance Parade provides a rare opportunity to make that happen, with all of the diversity it offers!
 If you could pick another country to hold a Dance Parade and Festival….which would it be? 
I love the idea of Dance Parade going international!  Do I have to pick just one?  It would be fabulous to see this come to life in cities all over the world!
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? 
It’s definitely my love of dance – and specifically my love of Dance Parade and my desire to see it continue to grow and thrive for many more years (and in many more cities!) – that fuels my desire to get involved as a volunteer.  Plus the community of volunteers I’ve met have been such wonderful and interesting people that are a delight to work with!
Describe a special memory you have from Dance Parades past? 
Tough to answer this one – every year has been special! But this past year was extra-special because it was my first time participating on a float in the parade, with the 5Rhythms group.  It was a new perspective on the parade, and the energy was non-stop!
_mg_8840

Photo Credit: Michelle DeBlasi – Dance Parade (2008)