Dance Parade was founded in reaction to a 2006 NY State Supreme Court ruling that upheld the 1926 NYC Cabaret Law, denying social dance as expressive activity under the first amendment. In 2017, our advocacy led to the successful repeal of the law’s 91-year suppression of dance and culture.
DP's unique contribution to the field stems from its ability to present dancers and choreography across one hundred unique traditions and disciplines, contributing to the dance ecology of NYC and beyond. Participating artists use DP as a way to reach broader audiences, preserve cultural heritage and to foster collaborations. The annual event is recognized as the most diverse display of dance culture worldwide and reaches an audience of over 150,000 each year.
Since 2008, the Dance Parade organization has tapped its pool of diverse multi-cultural talent to provide Community Engagement Programs to further its mission by sharing the joy of dance with historically under represented communities along with the city-wide dance community. Throughout the year, Workshop demonstrations and residencies are provided to youth in schools and recreation centers and for older New Yorkers in senior centers.
In 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic called for isolation and social distancing, the parade, festival and education programs were quickly brought to serve an online audience. A "Dare to Dance" video contest distributed cash prizes and attracked over 50,000 dancers and dance enthusiasts from 91 countries around the world.
In 2021, Dance Parade teamed up with 3 time Grammy Winner, Mickela Mallozzi, and NYC Life TV to produce a feature length documentary, "The Resilience of Dance Through the Pandemic" about the stories and performances of the dance community during the pandemic and included performances by Alvin Ailey, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Urban Bush Women, among others.
2022 saw the triiumphant return of the dance community with a record breaking Parade and Festival with an audience of over 120,000 who came out to see 150 organizations showcase over 100 unique styles of dance in an epic parade and five stage festival under the theme, "Back to the Streets!" In late 2022, a performance club called "Dancing Matters" was created to bring a monthly audience to a dance concert with follow up discussion. Performance outings are chosen by 100+ dance industry enthusiasts' ranked chose voting.2023 events have included Evidence, Dean Moss, Kinectic Light, STREB, MOMIX and Dancing While Black.
Currently, the organization leads the "Legalize Dance" advocacy campaign which seeks to follow Dance Parade's 2017 success to repeal NYC's racist cabaret law by reforming antiquiated zoning that restricts dance to high density commercial and industrial disctrics.