FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 12, 2024
DANCE PARADE PRESENTS DANCE FREE NYC IN ITS
18TH ANNUAL PARADE AND FESTIVAL SATURDAY, MAY 18
WITNESS 10,000 DANCERS WITH LEGENDARY GRAND MARSHALS:
BRENDA BUFALINO, CHARLES ‘LIL BUCK’ RILEY,
MARTHA ZÁRATE-ALVAREZ AND NORMAN SIEGEL
NEW YORK, NY - February 12, 2024 - New York’s beloved and joyous nonprofit Dance Parade will transform the streets again on Saturday May 18, 2024, celebrating its 18th year, with 10,000 dancers featuring over 100 unique styles of dance, live bands, and DJs. Headlining a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:30am at 17th Street and Avenue of Americas will be four Grand Marshals: Tap legend Brenda Bufalino; creator of Memphis Jookin: The Show, Charles ‘Lil Buck’ Riley; Mexican folkloric choreographer Martha Zárate-Alvarez, and civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel.
“We’re thrilled to have Brenda Bufalino, Charles ‘Lil Buck’ Riley & Martha Zárate-Alvarez, trailblazers and legends in their fields of tap, street dance, and Mexican folkloric along with Norman Siegel whose advocacy for dance will be historic once New York ends its ban on dancing in April, perfect timing to celebrate our theme, Dance Free NYC!” – Greg Miller, Executive Director, and coordinator of legalizedance.org
During the parade, the Grand Marshals will each appear on one of three dozen parade floats along with 200 groups that will take to the streets to dance, including over 100 unique styles of dance such as ballet, ballroom, salsa, African, Chinese, Asian Indian, hip-hop. Three dozen schools and community centers from Dance Parade’s Community Engagement programs culminate their 10+ weeks of classes in the Parade and Festival.
“Dance opens pathways to the soul, removes blocks which can heal us to make us whole,” Funmalyo Chesney, Artistic Director of Fusha Dance Company
Following short performances before an audience of 500 in the Grand Stand in Astor Place, the procession ends at Tompkins Square Park where DanceFest kicks off from 3:00 to 7:00 pm. The festival features five stages of performances, site specific experiences, free dance lessons, experience dance booths and a social dance area.
“We believe live dance performance can awaken a communal human spirit and has the potential to create a more vibrant and equitable society,” enjoined Jamila Holman, DanceFest Producer.At this year's parade and festival, Dance Parade acknowledges the theme "Dance Free NYC,” a reference to celebrating the revision of the city’s antiquated zoning regulations which restrict dancing to only 20% of New York City.
“No government should make conditions about our freedom to dance,” exclaimed Grand Marshal Norman Siegel, Esq.
Dance and Nightlife supporters, among them executives from Dance Parade, testified at the City Planning Commission in January.
“We demand that dancing is recognized as a first amendment freedom in support of New York City Mayor Eric Adam’s ‘City of Yes’ proposals to update zoning ordinances in New York City ” said Jerry Goldman, Dance Parade’s Board Chair and member of the advocacy campaign on LegalizeDance.Org. The City Council is expected to formally end the ban on dancing in April.
Groups and individuals alike can register to participate at https://danceparade.org/dance-in-the-parade
To get involved by volunteering, sign up at https://danceparade.org/team-reg/
The parade and festival is made possible in part through private and public support by The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts. 100% of individual donations support the artists: https://danceparade.org/donate
#DanceParadeNYC #DanceFreeNYC #LegalizeDanceNYC #CultureForAll
ABOUT DANCE PARADE NEW YORK:
As the world’s only street parade to exclusively celebrate and showcase the diversity of dance, this annual celebration of eclectic dance styles from around the world, features over ten thousand dancers, and presents more than 100 unique styles of dance, including everything from tap to tango, cha-cha to Chinese, featuring live bands and DJs and so much more.
Originally begun as a protest to the over-regulation of dance, the inaugural event came after NYU Law Professor Paul Chevigny and civil rights attorney Norman Siegel represented four groups of dancers in a State Supreme Court case in 2007. The dancers argued that the 1926 Cabaret Law was an infringement on their First Amendment right of expression by requiring venues to hold a dancing license, and that no government should be entitled to require a license for dancing.
The organization became a 501(c) organization with a mission to celebrate diversity by presenting as many expressive forms of dance and culture as possible. Dance Police playfully ticket bystanders for “no moving violations” as a parody to the Cabaret Task force that fined and shuttered nightlife venues due to dancing in the 1990s. Today the organization offers dozens of free dance programs to schools and community centers throughout New York City. Students culminate their programs with participation in the annual dance parade and festival. This year’s Dance Parade and Festival is on Saturday, May 18.
Social dance is a powerful vehicle for connection and self-expression, allowing individuals to celebrate their cultural heritage and unique identities,” said Palestinian American dancer Janelle Issis.
For a Media Kit including high resolution photos and more information about Dance Parade and our education programs visit:
ABOUT THE GRAND MARSHALS:
Brenda Bufalino is a mixed genre artist: dancer, choreographer, and author. As a soloist, and choreographer/director of The American Tap Dance Orchestra, Ms. Bufalino has performed and taught Internationally for over 30 years. Her collaborations with her partner and mentor the great Charles ‘Honi’ Coles, and her many performances with Gregory Hines, The Nicholas Brothers, and the many giants of tap dance has infused her with the essence of the form that she now shares with her stories, teaching, and dances.
Charles ‘Lil Buck’ Riley is a world-renowned and award-winning performing artist, entrepreneur, and advocate for the arts and humanities. Lil Buck’s dance repertoire includes a multitude of styles including Memphis Jookin’, ballet, hip-hop, and modern, just to name a few. Over the course of his career, he has performed and collaborated with some of the world’s finest artists and brands including Yo-Yo Ma, Madonna, Alicia Keys, Janelle Monáe, Lizzo, Nike, Chanel, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Apple, Jordan, Lexus, Gap, and many others.
Martha Zárate-Alvarez, founder and Artistic Director of Mazarte Dance Company Inc. has actively participated in Mexican folkloric dance throughout the Americas and Europe for over 35 years. In 2013, she founded Mazarte Dance Company, to fulfill her vision of creating a tangible union between dance, research, and authentic indigenous art. Through Mazarte, a nonprofit organization, Martha aims to create awareness about Mexican cultural heritage while also preserving artistic techniques that are in danger of being forgotten and lost.
Norman Siegel is a civil rights and civil liberties lawyer. His work in 1968 with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Southern Justice and Voting Law Project was instrumental in shaping his immersion in civil rights and civil liberties and solidified his commitment to ensure the rights guaranteed under the US Constitution be extended to all Americans, regardless of race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender. In New York, his work placed him at the center of critical civil rights and civil liberties struggles - the creation of an independent Civilian Complaint Review Board, the successful defense of the Brooklyn Museum's right to exhibit controversial art; the fight for citizens' access to the steps of City Hall; the battle against involuntary hospitalization of people with mental illness; the struggle for improved community-police relations, greater accountability on the part of the NYPD and the 20 year fight to end the racist era cabaret and zoning laws that restrict dancing in New York City.
Since 2005, the members of LegalizeDance.org have supported the repeal of the NYC 1926 Cabaret Law and the zoning restrictions on dance that unfairly have been applied to marginalized communities, suppressing culture in predominantly black, hispanic and LGBTQ+ communities as well as suppressing nightclub culture and ethnic communities across all five boroughs of New York.
“It's a freedom protected under the First Amendment and it needs safeguarding,” said Princess Lockeroo, Artistic Director of The Fabulous Waackers, “From hip-hop in the Bronx to swing dancing in Harlem, from Indian classical dances in Queens to Polka in Greenpoint, these gatherings are essential to our cultural fabric.”
The coalition of advocates, nightlife venues and dance enthusiasts worked with activist partners in 2017 to support City Council Member Raphael Espinol in his bill to successfully repeal the Cabaret Law and is currently leading the advocacy to reform New York City’s zoning laws as well as the repressive regulations by the New York State Liquor Authority’s suppression of dance and culture through its licensing requirements.
“It’s ridiculous that in 2023 New York City still has rules on the books prohibiting people from dancing at their local restaurants and bars,” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director, NYC Hospitality Alliance.
LegalizeDance.org is a project of Dance Parade. For further background, press articles and videos documenting the history of dance regulation in New York City, visit https://legalizedance.org.