2018 NYC Dance Parade

This amazing event features over 80 genres of dance and with it amazing music. You'll get a physical and emotional release unlike any other by attending (and participating by shaking your thang) the yearly-held Dance Parade.

Our interview is with the founder of the Dance Parade, Greg Miller, and 3 of the 4 Grand Marshals of 2018. How many interviews do YOU listen to where you can dance to it at the same time? I thought so.


For your enjoyment we have the video of the interview special below. Please enjoy and share with other music and dance lovers.

View/hide transcript (~2,220 words)
MusicBae Talks 2018 NYC Dance Parade

[Theme intro music]

Meke, host: The Dance Parade was created in 2003 out of a love for community, activism, and a love for the dance. On May 19th, 2018 the 12th annual Dance Parade took place in New York City. MusicBae spoke with some of the wonderful people behind this year's parade.


- Greg Miller, Founder/Executive Director, Dance Parade, Inc.

Miller: I've been personally working on the Cabaret Law for 14 years, it's how we started the Dance Parade. A judge said that social dancing wasn't considered expressive enough to be protected by First Amendment speech.

So we actually were showing 80 styles of dance, all the expressive forms. So we kind of fell into this mission of celebrating diversity. So that was a beautiful sort of like thing that happened five six seven years in. We started celebrating all these cultures that we had no idea… In Colombia they have cumbia. In Bolivia they have so many, they have a patron saint that says that if you dance you go to heaven. It's like the Dancing Saint.

And so we learned all these beautiful genres, small ones like Zouk, which isn't very popular. It's a lambada/salsa mix. That was just a great revelation. And last November we repealed the Administrative Code.

Community did come together as we had events come on out. Come to City Hall, testify.

Without the community it wouldn't have been possible. So there were a lot of groups that came together: The Dance Liberation Network, New York City Artists Coalition, City Council Member Rafael Espinal, is one of our Grand Marshals this year, really led the way. A young councilmember from East New York, so.

We we wouldn't have been able to do it with without all of those people coming together. So we really learned, you know, it's the coming together it is the community that made that possible not one person in any in any way.

[Conversational ambient sounds]

Miller: So when I think [laughing] of you're asking me to be creative and come up with a dance style there's so many! But I could imagine something very costumey. So that [inaudible] comes to mind like the traditional cultures. But then there's also a lot of festival culture that's represented and and some of the EDM. So it would be people dressed up in like some cool feathers and stuff like that. But they're not doing like the wild ecstatic dance they're doing like a partner dance with moves. So that would look like you wanna see that that would look like you know you do that that salsa thing.

[Miller dancing]

And then you you'd have these these kind of, these kind of, I don't know, I guess that's like an ecstatic dance move.

Does that answer your question?

Host: It sure does! [Laughter]

[Conversational ambient sounds]

Miller: Connecting… You know in corporate America you don't learn you don't practice diversity. You get like the HR thing you know. Basically they're worried about lawsuits you know. No one wants to have their boss sued or whatever because it's like a major liability for the corporation

What we found with Dance Parade is is that the differences really enhance the end result. So we have had the effort to try to make the team emulate the Parade. So lots of different cultures, ethnicities, gay, straight, lots of different dancers involved. And it's so much stronger when you have that diversity.

It's, it's it should be a lesson for everyone when you, when you're trying to make something make it like with a lot of different ideas because there's lots of smart talented people that can do some ideas but it's always better when someone else comes and challenges it. It gets it gets better that way.

- Mickela Mallozzi, Creator, Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi

Mallozzi: I am not the person to go around with headphones listening to music all day. Contrary to popular belief where people are like “Do you just dance all day long and listen to music all day long?”

And I actually enjoy silence so that when there is music because when I hear music I just want to move, I want to dance, I'm inspired by the music.

I can't listen to music when I'm working. I can't listen to music when I'm doing anything else because my brain focuses on that. So I think having those moments where there's peace and silence and rest is super helpful for my brain or else I'm constantly stimulated.

I know people like my own husband. He has to listen to music all the time to do anything. And I feel overwhelmed by that, by the just sound constant sound.

So silence for me is like a nice rest [laughter] and I think for people overall I think it's good to have that moment of not interacting on your phone not listening to music not listening to something and actually listening to what's happening around.

My favorite thing to do is people watch on the subway, right, and watch performers come on the subway. And kind of observe what's happening in everyday life because that's what inspires me in my show. And if I wasn't present in those things a lot of incredible experiences would just pass me by and opportunities to include into my show and in life.

I think it's it's important to observe things that are happening every day. So the absence of it's really really important so that you appreciate it when you do hear it too. There's also that aspect of it.

[Conversational ambient sounds]

Mallozzi: So, in Bare Feet I am the producer. I am the host. I do all the pre-production. I find the groups. You're seeing the main person who does most of the work aside from my DP my director photography who shoots with me, and then my editors after.

But what happens a lot of time is you prep and prep and prep, and I'm sure you've seen this too, is and then things kind of fall apart when you get there, right? [Laughter] It doesn't always go the way you planned.

And then you have to embrace the chaos and sometimes most of the times when you embrace the chaos that story that comes from that change that shift that you weren't expecting is better than what you expected. And you kind of have you have to go with the flow and you have to make lemonade out of lemons, right? It's just you only have one choice.

[Conversational ambient sounds]

Mallozzi: I used to live in the East Village and the Dance Parade used to go right by my apartment and I would come out on St. Marks. And it was my favorite weekend of the year because you had thousands of people dancing down the streets of New York. I mean a diverse group of people.

So you have cultural groups. You have whacking. You have voguing. You have people hula hooping down the street, doing flamenco.

I remember one year they had a pole dancer being pulled by like a cart? I was like that is awesome! This like little tricycle cart thing right? And it was right outside my door basically, two blocks away.

And I said to myself I was like someday! I know this is really cheesy but I was like I want to I want to lead that group of paraders! And it's a true honor to now be one of the Grand Marshals. I mean it really is a dream of mine because I feel so closely connected.

The East Village is my home. Dance Parade is life. You know it's like you can dance in the streets for a whole day we go to Tompkins Square Park. There's dancing in the park. I mean it doesn't get better than that. So I'm a huge supporter of Dance Parade since day one.

I am so honored to be part of this parade this year as a Grand Marshal. But I just hope it continues that more and more people decide to jump on board.


[Conversational ambient sounds]

- DJ Doc Martin, legendary old school/club DJ, 107.5 WBLS, NYC

Martin: I do move when I’m playing. I do enjoy myself and I do get into what I’m doing and get in the “Zone”. But individually when I was out or whatever, I’d be more observant of the scene as opposed to actually being in it. I do get our and dance but I'm not a great dancer. So I like to think I’m a good DJ because of that. Because I hear very well with my ears. So I dance with my ears.

Host: Dance with your ears!

Martin: Dance with my ears.


[Conversational ambient sounds]

Martin: Most of the DJs I’ve worked with are involved with the radio station. I reach out to them because they're an extension of what I do. Most of the time I do work solo. I do work independently, so.

[Conversational ambient sounds]

Martin: I think all the music that I put out is a reflection of how I feel as a person. And I just love giving the gift of music.

[Conversational ambient sounds]

- NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal Jr., among many things the founder of the Office of Nightlife

Espinal: I've never heard of the Dance Parade and the first time I heard about Dance Parade was when I was actually pushing the repeal of the Cabaret Law last year. So it was kind of interesting to know that there was actually a festival dedicated around celebrating dance.

You know not only here in the city but also all the different types of dances from across the world so I'm very honored to have been chosen to be the Grand Marshal. This will be my first parade that I'll be marching in.

And I hope that we're able to attract as many people as we can and I think that it's important people to know that this parade, it's not just about you know moving your hips and moving your arms it's more about the liberation of dance and the communication through dance. And if they believe that social expression is important then they should make it out and come join us.

[Conversational ambient sounds]

Espinal: If I was in the music industry I would love to be a lead singer. Only because some of my favorite musicians are lead singers and I finally ready interesting to be able to play a role where you're actually putting everything out there for the people to listen to your lyrics and how you're feeling.

And there's a performance aspect of it that well you're out yours you're expected to let it all out and that's the only way you really are able to engage I believe a crowd.

My favorite singers are singers that are able to throw a concert and not just stand on that mic but also be able to engage the crowd through their singing and through their performance so yeah that'd be the coolest thing for me.

[Conversational ambient sounds]

Espinal: Nightlife has played a huge role in my personal life throughout my 20s. It was an avenue for me to be able to expose myself to new people, listen to new music, be able to break out of my shell as an introvert. Being able to escape a neighborhood that was really disinvested in by the city/state governments of East New York.

And it allowed me to, like I said earlier, just be able to grow up I feel, right. And when I came into office I knew that there were a lot of challenges that the industry was facing and I've seen a lot of my favorite venues close. Especially in the DIY scene; venues that were heavily enforced against just in the everyday bar that was trying to keep his lights on. They felt that the city wasn't doing enough to help them.

And I knew the importance of those spaces not only for business and for the economy but also for personal growth and for people to feel that they have a space to go and socialize and open up as individuals. So it was important for me to think about, since I first guidance office, how the city could be a better partner in supporting this industry that helped create the identity of our city.

It’s the city of never sleeps! And we're known for that not because we work 24 hours a day but we also because we have a nightlife scene that's bustling and it's diverse. And we needed to protect that. And we've seen a lot of our favorite smaller venues close, become homogenized. Now we're seeing more bottle service.

The term that is dancing around is now we're seeing more bottles and models instead of seeing like these sweaty dance places that we used to love going to in you know an earlier time. And the Office’s intention is to be that partner of the businesses and the venues and the community and figure out how the city can create policy that's going to lift these businesses up and make sure that they stay open.


Host: I can't show my appreciation enough to these individuals, gifting me with their time and their gracious stories, and anecdotes and interesting perspectives.

Otherwise they’d be running nonprofits, winning Emmys, having star-studded anniversary parties, and, you know running city government! Having them share their experiences with MusicBae is absolutely humbling and I thank them all. It's all for the love of music y’all! [Theme outro music]

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Footage produced by Gifted Media Productions

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