On Saturday, May 20, Dance Parade returns to Sixth Avenue for its 17th anniversary, featuring unique musical genres, DJs, live bands, over 100 dance styles, and more than 10,000 dancers, according to organizers. This year’s parade theme is “Beyond the Zone,” which “acknowledges New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ City of Yes campaign to reform antiquated Zoning laws related to dance,” says Dance Parade’s Executive Director Greg Miller.
“Updating zoning ordinances in New York City follows the 2017 repeal of the NYC Cabaret License law that restricted dance to a small number of venues licensed to allow dancing,” Miller added.
Gay City News got a chance to chat with two of this year’s parade marshals, Ronald K. Brown and Elizabeth Streb, both prominent queer choreographers in New York City, to discuss the importance of the event, The City of Yes campaign and what they hope attendees take away from the performance.
Brown, the founder of the EVIDENCE, A Dance Company, is excited for New Yorkers to experience the art of dance together, especially in this political climate. He said he hopes parade-goers “witness, feel, [and] are invigorated and reminded of the power in unity. Evidence is a company of individuals who will share the unbreakable spirit and strength that is in a body of purpose, intent, and integrity.”
He went on to express how his identity as a queer person has informed his work as a choreographer and contributor to this project. He wants everyone watching to relate to the performance on a personal level.
“My identity is essential to all endeavors because I understand that I must create spaces for my work, my people, and myself. [And] I want those efforts to be evidence of who we are and a celebration of us, so others see and hear a reflection of themselves. It’s the purpose of the work.
Macarthur Genius Award winner, dancer, and fellow grand marshal Elizabeth Streb wanted to emphasize the importance of the City of Yes campaign. She believes being allowed to dance in all types of spaces is thrilling and encourages creativity.
“I think it’s fantastic to expand the capacity to be [dancing] in more places; it can only be a good thing for the city, [rather] than only in buildings that are designated [for dance]. Unintended encounters of movement are the most exciting,” Streb told Gay City News.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will kick off at 11:45 AM at 17th St. and Sixth Avenue (Avenue of the Americas). The parade will begin at 17th Street and head south on Sixth Avenue before shifting east along Eighth Street and concluding at Tompkins Square Park. More details can be found at danceparade.org.