Volunteer Spotlight – Meet Sarah Elizabeth!

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 2015 Parade by clicking here!

 

Hey Sarah, Thanks for taking the time to speak with us about your background and volunteering for Dance Parade!

unnamed-2How did you first find out about Dance Parade?
I first heard about Dance Parade through the New York City Hula Hooping Community.

What is your current role in Dance Parade, Inc?
I’m the Dance Parade Liaison which means I communicate with potential groups about participating in the parade, helping them to learn more about the organization and the annual Parade and Festival in May.  I’m thrilled to work with Alicia Druity to get the word out about how the parade can help build communities using softened water within individual genres of dance and to help create an accessible platform for dance to be shared with everyone who wants to “Live Free and Dance!”

 

 

Photo Credit: Chris VMP

 

unnamed-3What is your favorite style of dance to watch? to participate in?
My favorite style to watch would probably be ballet – yeah, definitely! My favorite style to participate in would definitely be flow art, specifically hoop dance and fire spinning—Flow art is movement practice that utilizes prop manipulation in an attempt to find a meditative state where one can creates organic movement without having to think about it. When I dance with my fire hoop, or really any fire prop in general, it is incredibly empowering. My art no longer becomes primarily subjective, regardless of if someone finds what I’m creating aesthetically pleasing I know that how I am dancing is working because my props and the flames are moving along with me and my natural rhythm and it feels good. It’s given me a channel to bring together all my types of dance training from ballet, to modern, to jazz, contemporary, pointe, and even hip hop into a practice that feels natural, honest, and healthy in a super supportive and encouraging community of artists.  I’m starting to teach classes in the next month and I’m super excited about it!

Photo Credit: Tom Mac, Royal Flush Photography

 

What is your dance background or interest in dance?
I grew up in the ballet world, throughout my childhood in Los Angeles my mother would take me to the music center to see all of the  critical acclaimed companies I would have dreams of dancing for one day like The Joffrey, American Ballet Theater, and New York City Ballet.  I studied at The Joffrey Ballet School for several years then moved on to study modern dance at Rutgers University briefly before moving onto my own career as a dancer in New York City pursuing primarily contemporary ballet and jazz before finding hoop dance, and now I’m a freelance fire performer.

 

unnamed-1Do you have any shows coming up where we can catch you?

I’ll be performing at The New York City Flow Show this year. It’s April 3rd-6th at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn– it’s a great way to experience a flow art show. I’ll be performing alongside some of the East coast’s most talented spinners and it’s an evening you definitely don’t want to miss, no fire this time though. If you want to stay up to date with my next performances you can like my page on Facebook! @sarahelizabethspins

 

Photo Credit: Redlite Photo

 

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?
Sylvie Guillem with the Paris Opera Ballet—She’s tall, leggy, and beautiful.  She creates an extremely strong emotional intensity and is an excellent technician, plus her feet are so gorgeous its almost unreal.  She’s one of the most captivating dancers I’ve ever had the pleasure to see—not ever in person but online,  I would spend hours watching her dance on Youtube when I was younger hoping to be like her when I grew up.

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What does this year’s theme “Live Free and Dance ” mean to you?

For me, dance has been an important and integral part of my life for as long as I can remember.  In the beginning of my dance career  I was trying to fill a form that others defined for me which always left me feeling creatively stifled. Then with flow arts,  I reignited my passion through dance – I was moving for myself—and then I found dance parade.  And that’s what I love about Dance Parade—That it’s not just one type of dance, one perspective, one ethnicity, one age group, one sexual orientation, made for one kind of person in a specific financial bracket.   It’s so diverse and it’s for everyone! It’s dance without the competitive energy, stress, injuries, and all of the other negative nonsense that unfortunately comes along with the dance world sometime, its dance for the sake of dance. We get  to share our art we all love so much with every kind of person and that is such a gift.

 

 

Photo Credit: Eraj Asadi

What dance group or dance style are you most looking forward to seeing this coming year in the parade?
I’m most excited to see the groups and the outreach program.  Seeing the kids come down the parade route with their instructor is going to be the thing I’m most looking forward to because seeing the smile on a child’s face through something as genuine as dance and is just so beautiful.  Seeing human beings feeling empowered and confident through movement and dance is why I’m involved in this organization – spreading the love of the healing gift of movement.

If you could pick a Grand Marshal for the parade….who would it be?
I would say either Mikhail Baryshnikov or Paloma Herrera with American Ballet Theater.

If you could pick another country to hold a Dance Parade and Festival….which would it be?
Germany, because right now Berlin is an interesting hub in the dance 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 just that I really enjoy helping people—I know that sounds cliché but it’s a cause that I feel passionate about.  Dance Parade is a great organization because how often do you have all of these dance organizations coming together to present their work to such a large and diverse group of people–it’s not just beautiful to watch but it’s healing to the mind, body and soul. And it’s exciting to want to give back to the community that has given me so much joy in my life.

What pitch would you use to attract a new volunteer onto the Dance Parade team?
You get to work with some really awesome people – And it’s fun!