In each issue of our STEPS! Newsletter we try to cast the Spotlight on one of our awesome team members to find out more about where they came from and to suss out their connection to dance and supporting the Dance Parade team. In this issue, we put the spotlight on Rebecca Myles.
Hi, Rebecca. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us.
How did you first find out about Dance Parade?
I first came across DanceFest as it’s held in Tompkins Square Park and I live close by. Performing on stage was a salsa group where this rather senior dancer suddenly flipped his partner upwards and twirled her around his neck. My mouth dropped open in wonder and then admiration at his skill and stamina. I was riveted to the spot, wondering “what is this?” and got hooked into Dance Parade.
What is your current role in Dance Parade New York?
Head of Publicity. We aim to make sure as many New Yorkers know about the parade through listings and pre-parade interviews and coverage, and then on the day coverage.
Every year we host a press conference at City Hall during the week leading up to the parade. The upcoming one is Wednesday May 15th at 2pm. We will receive a Proclamation from the City which declares the coming Saturday as Dance Parade Day. It is a charming tradition and the Proclamation is beautiful. I am always intrigued by the inventive ways the Mayor describes the Parade and DanceFest.
The New York press are very generous to us and we’ve been featured over the years on NY1, New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, New Yorker, Time Out, Gothamist, AMNY, The Villager, 1010 WINS, WABC, WBAI, Univision, to name but a few.
What is your favorite style of dance to watch? to participate in?
I love watching all kinds of dance because it transports me to a heartfelt space for experiencing an emotional “movement” story. Most recently I attended a lecture by Catherine Turocy, Director of New York Baroque Dance, which included demonstrations of Baroque dance styles. It was exquisite and what struck me was the intimacy of couples dancing and the inevitable poetry of two bodies in motion knitted by hand and eye touches. The evening was organized by NYU’s La Maison Francaise.
The last dancing I did was on Jeannie Hoppers’ Liquid Sound Lounge “Disco” boat. She has another name for it but that’s how I encourage friends to come. My friend Jenny always turns up as she understands the sheer brilliance of dancing on the East River against a backdrop of a New York skyline with Jeannie on the turntables, and live musicians.
What is your dance background or interest in dance?
I remember wanting to do ballet as a kid but that didn’t happen. I suspect there was no extra cash. I had lots of excess energy even after climbing trees and biking everywhere so perhaps I saw dance as a channel, a home. I did ballroom dancing in college, and always went clubbing. I loved the free jazz dance floor downstairs at the Rock City in Nottingham. When I got to New York it was off to Nell’s, the Bank, Palladium, Robots…and for a while I took dance lessons in swing, African…but with pairing dances too often I land in trouble wanting to lead all the time.
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?
Bob Fosse – because he understood the erotic and ascendant power dance.
Last year we celebrated the repeal of the Cabaret Law with the theme “The Cabaret of Life” — What does this year’s theme “Movement of the People ” mean to you?
It is a potent theme in the 21st Century because it rests with us, the people, to wrest back our power to shape the world we want – fairness to people who need help, economic policies that support all our lives on earth with the other inhabitants, and thoughtful inclusive policies for education and healthcare.
What dance group or dance style are you most looking forward to seeing this coming year in the parade?
The Native American Circle Dance that will open the parade reclaiming Mannahatta for the Lenape peoples. Dance, prayer, true thoughtful beauty – can’t beat that.
If you could choose a Grand Marshal for this year’s parade….who would it be?
Michelle Obama has done so much to address physical fitness with her Let’s Move Initiative when she was First Lady. Just check out this video with the So You Think You Can Dance All Stars! (as Rebecca whips up this video on her phone…)
If you could pick another country to hold a Dance Parade and Festival….which would it be?
Most certainly another country, one with deep rooted culture like Mexico or India — It would be fun to share other world cultures with them.
Working for a non profit organization can at times be daunting and frustrating with limited personnel and funding….what is it that keeps you coming back for more and more?
It’s family. There are the regulars and it is great to work with the team each year and see our family of photographers turn up on Parade Day. But I’ve noticed that all the new volunteers all have a special magic that makes them fit right in and feel like we’ve known the all along. Then it’s those enthusiastic, brilliant dancers – movement artists – who are all sublime!
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