Dance Parade New York
The 12th Annual Dance Parade and Festival
Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Dance Parade New York

Dance Parade New York is the world’s only parade to exclusively celebrate and showcase the diversity of dance.

2) When and where does the Dance Parade New York take place?

Dance Parade New York will take place on Saturday, May 19, 2018, rain or shine. The parade begins at 1:00 PM and culminates at 3:00 PM in Tompkins Square Park. A post parade festival will take place in the park from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM. (Between Avenues A & B and between 7th & 10th Street).

3) What is the 2018 theme of the Parade?

The 2018 theme, “The Cabaret of Life,” reminds us of the importance of the arts, both as audience and participant. Through music, movement and costume parade participants will showcase their expression of dance. Former themes have been “Dance For Peace,” “Live Free and Dance,” “Be the Momentum,” “One Parade, Many Cultures,” “Unity through Dance” and “Dance To Live.”

4) What does Dance Parade New York celebrate?

The parade is designed to celebrate the history and culture of dance.  By showcasing various genres, cultures and styles, the parade unifies the world of dance. It also provides the general public the opportunity to experience and participate in a day of dance.

5) Who are the 2018 Grand Marshals?

Four Grand Marshals noted for their achievements in the field of dance will cut the ribbon.  The honorees this year are Camille A. Brown, Mickela Mallozzi, City Council Member Rafael Espinal and DJ Doc Martin who will cut the ribbon at 12:45pm on Saturday May 19, 2018, releasing 10,000 dancers down Broadway as part of New York City’s 12th Annual Dance Parade and Festival.  

Honorees were selected for the “uniqueness, impact, and perseverance of their contributions to the reframing of the art of dance” throughout their formidable careers.  Read about all the Grand Marshals here.

6) What is Dance Parade, Inc.’s mission?

New York City has been a birthplace for dance and art; Dance Parade New York aims to honor the various dance communities and their historical roots. Dance Parade's mission is: to promote dance as an expressive and unifying art form by showcasing all forms of dance, educating the general public about the opportunities to experience dance, and celebrating diversity of dance in New York City by sponsoring a yearly city-wide dance parade and dance festival. For further information, watch our video and read “Why We Dance."

7) What is the history and activities behind the parade?

The first Dance Parade New York was in 2007 was organized as a reaction to a New York State Supreme Court Case against the City of New York in 2006.  A judge at the time ruled that social dance was not considered expressive activity and therefore not protected by the constitution as freedom of speech. Dance Parade New York followed on May 19th 2007 to showcase as many dance styles as possible with 2,321 participants dancing to 37 styles in the inaugural parade in May 2007. Dance Parade, Inc became a non-profit arts organization in 2008 and launched its Community Engagement education program in the same year.  Now in its twelfth year, the parade will showcase 10,000 individual dancers from 200 dance groups, showcase 80 unique dance styles, 70 floats and vehicles, all seen by 100,000+ parade viewers.

8) What is the parade route?

It begins on 21st Street and Broadway with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 12:45pm, moves south through Union Square and down University Place to 8th street and turns east. Once in Astor Plaza, each parade group briefly pauses to perform before our Grandstand. Then continuing east on Saint Marks Place dancers salsa, swing and two-step their way into Tompkins Square Park in the East Village for DanceFest.

9) What happens at the post parade festival in Tompkins Park?

The festival presents the best and most unique dances from the parade and will include a myriad of free dance performances, lessons and social dancing. For 2018, there will be 5 stages: A Performance Stage, Family Friendly Stage, Teaching Stage, Aerial Stage and Social Dance Stage. A program for the festival will be posted closer to the event.  For a map and more information, please visit:

10) Do I need tickets to view the parade or the festival?

The full day’s events are free to the public. Tickets are available for seating in the grandstand in Astor Plaza (Cooper Square between 3rd & 4th Avenues). To purchase tickets click here.

11) How do people sign up?

Those interested in dancing in the parade need to register online at

Groups must register before the May 7th 2018 deadline.  If you’re an individual you can sign up to dance down the parade route with any group accepting dancers until parade day.

12) What is the line of dance?

All participants who are registered for the event will receive specific details as to your call times and formation locations closer to the day of the parade. Floats need to check in at 10:00 AM and dancers should arrive no later than noon. Line up will take place on 21st and 22nd Streets, between 5th, Broadway and Park Avenues.

13) Where is the best place to view the parade?

For best viewing of the parade, we recommend our Grand Stand in Astor Plaza. A grand stand will be available there for press, sponsors and donors. Seating begins at 1pm and the parade arrives at the Grandstand at 1:30pm. To purchase tickets click here.

14) What time should I show up to view the parade?

We recommend you arrive at least 30 minutes prior to start time if you plan to view the parade at the starting point. Depending on weather and traffic the flow of the parade is constantly changing, therefore we recommend you arrive at your preferred viewing time by the start of the parade. 

15) Where can I eat along the parade route?

If you’d like to eat at one of the many restaurants along the parade route we recommend making reservations in advance. There are many restaurants with outdoor seating along the route as well as a Farmer’s Market in Union Square. You may also reference or for restaurant selections in the area.

16) Where can I hydrate and use a restroom?

Water and portasans are available free of charge at three locations: 21st & Broadway, at our Astor Plaza Grandstand and at Tompkins Square Park.

17) Who are the Dance Police?

The New York Dance Police (NYDP) is a playful brigade of uniformed dancers that patrol the parade route and festival ensuring that the public is adequately populated with dancing participants and onlookers. If a NYDP officer catches a spectator not dancing, they will be questioned and possibly cited, with a ticket that serves as coupon for a local dance school or dance party!

18) Who sponsors the Parade and Festival?

Our annual events are largely supported by public funding and donations made to the 501(c)3 non-profit that produces the parade and festival.  Public funding is derived from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, The Manhattan Borough President’s Office, The NYC and Company Foundation and The NYC Department for the Aging. Additional support comes from corporate sponsors and dance organizations that represent with “Experience Dance Booths” at DanceFest in Tompkins Square Park.

19) What are the organization's Community Engagement Programs?

Throughout the year, Dance Parade New York hires qualified teaching artists and performers for events and educational opportunities throughout New York City’s five boroughs. In partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation a, “Community Kinect” is a program that focuses on aerobic movement. In schools and community centers, “Cultural Residencies” of up to 10 weeks are offered.  And in partnership with the New York City Department of Aging, a 10 week residency called “Ageless Action” is offered focusing on balance and mobility.  All of our programs end with participation in the Dance Parade.

20) Is it possible to jump into the parade on the day of?

No, all participants must be registered beforehand in order for the parade to be in accordance with insurance and police regulations. To register go to

21) How do I get a Press or Photography pass?

Press and Photography passes can be reserved after filling out a short form on our website:   As our events are visited by hundreds of photographers (both amature and professional) only photographers from legitimate media outlets or those who give us license to use their photos for any purpose are provided a pass to photograph the parade inside parade barricades.  A photography contest will award three photographers prizes including Broadway show tickets, t-shirts and a cash prize.

22) How did the New York City Cabaret Laws affect the creation of Dance Parade New York?

The Cabaret Law, which originated in 1926 and was largely forgotten until the early 1990s, was resurrected by Giuliani’s administration to address drug problems in urban nightclubs. However, the law inadvertently caused many legitimate dance oriented establishments to be fined and shuttered. Judge Michael Stallman of the New York Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that social dance could not be differentiated from aerobics and therefore was not considered an expressive form of art. Hence, unlike music, film, theater, poetry, and fine art, social dancing was not protected by the state's Second Amendment Freedom of Expression clause. In an effort to demonstrate that dance was indeed expressive, Greg Miller enlisted civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, former head of the New York Civil Liberty Union, to obtain a parade permit for 75 organizations to celebrate many diverse cultural and movement forms as possible.  Dance Parade became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2008 and serves its mission to inspire dance through the celebration of diversity with over 75 styles of dance in each year’s parade.

After 91 years, the Cabaret Law was repealed by City Council on October 31, 2017 due to the leadership of Dance Parade's advocacy and partnership with New City Council members.