Ballet Hispánico, the nation's renowned Latinx dance organization recognized as one of America's Cultural Treasures, announces that Artistic Director & CEO Eduardo Vilaro will lead the 16th Annual "Back to the Streets" Dance Parade as Grand Marshal with Heidi Latsky, Artistic Director of Heidi Latsky Dance and Rich Medina, a DJ specializing in house, hip hop and Afrobeat, Dance Parade kicks off on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 12:30pm on the corner of 20th and Broadway with more than 10,000 dancers, live bands, DJs, and more than 100 unique styles of dance and culture. For more information, visit danceparade.org/see-the-parade.
"I'm proud to headline New York City's largest dance event focused on cultural representation and diversity," enthused Ballet Hispanico's Eduardo Vilaro. "Movement and community is so vital to our well being which the pandemic stole from us. We look forward to being a part of Dance Parade's citywide celebration!"
The event's other Grand Marshals are Heidi Latsky, Artistic Director of Heidi Latsky Dance and Rich Medina, a DJ specializing in house, hip hop and Afrobeat.
Parade groups with choreography are invited to perform before the Grand Stand in Astor Plaza before the final stint along Saint Marks Place to Avenue A. DanceFest serves as a Grand Finale to the parade from 3pm-7pm in Tompkins Square Park, which includes curated performances on three stages, "Experience Dance Booths," two teaching areas of various dance styles and a dance party, all free to the public.
"After a two year hiatus hosting a virtual event during the COVID pandemic, we are invigorated and raring to get "Back to the Streets" for this year's parade and festival," Greg Miller, Dance Parade's Executive Director. "Adding to our regular programming will be Tango and Salsa demonstrations, Afro-Cuban Conga bands, more floats and art cars, stepped-up education outreach, Dance Battles, a Soul Train Line and more DJs."
The event will be a celebration that brings together dancers from around the city to showcase dance styles in a cross-cultural, rhythm-infused magical display of human movement, art and color. Dance styles reflect the cosmopolitan legacy of the city and the elastic inventiveness of the form, and include African, Asian-Indian, avant garde contemporary, ballet, Indian bhangra, Bolivian Carporalesn, 5Rhythms, breaking, Traditional Chinese, contemporary, hip-hop, Irish, Indonesian, Jamaican Dance Hall, lindy hop, modern, roller disco, salsa, Tahitian and Tango.
Eduardo Vilaro is the Artistic Director & CEO of Ballet Hispánico (BH). He was named BH's Artistic Director in 2009, becoming only the second person to head the company since its founding in 1970, and in 2015 was also named Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Vilaro has infused Ballet Hispánico's legacy with a bold brand of contemporary dance that reflects America's changing cultural landscape. Mr. Vilaro's philosophy of dance stems from a basic belief in the power of the arts to change lives, reflect and impact culture, and strengthen community. He considers dance to be a liberating, non-verbal language through which students, dancers, and audiences of all walks of life and diverse backgrounds, can initiate ongoing conversations about the arts, expression, identity, and the meaning of community. Born in Cuba and raised in New York from the age of six, Mr. Vilaro's own choreography is devoted to capturing the Latin American experience in its totality and diversity, and through its intersectionality with other diasporas. His works are catalysts for new dialogues about what it means to be an American. He has created more than 40 ballets with commissions that include the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Grant Park Festival, the Lexington Ballet and the Chicago Symphony. A Ballet Hispánico dancer and educator from 1988 to 1996, he left New York, earned a master's in interdisciplinary arts at Columbia College Chicago and then embarked on his own act of advocacy with a ten-year record of achievement as Founder and Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago. The recipient of numerous awards and accolades, Mr. Vilaro received the Ruth Page Award for choreography in 2001; was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame in 2016; and was awarded HOMBRE Magazine's 2017 Arts & Culture Trailblazer of the Year. In 2019, he received the West Side Spirit's WESTY Award, was honored by WNET for his contributions to the arts, and was the recipient of the James W. Dodge Foreign Language Advocate Award. In August 2020, City & State Magazine included Mr. Vilaro in the inaugural Power of Diversity: Latin 100 list. In January 2021, Mr. Vilaro was recognized with a Compassionate Leaders Award, given to leaders who are courageous, contemplative, collaborative, and care about the world they will leave behind. He is a well-respected speaker on such topics as diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts, as well as on the merits of the intersectionality of cultures and the importance of nurturing and building Latinx leaders.
About Ballet Hispánico
For fifty years Ballet Hispánico has been the leading voice intersecting artistic excellence and advocacy and is now the largest Latinx cultural organization in the United States and one of America's Cultural Treasures. Ballet Hispánico brings communities together to celebrate and explore Latino cultures through innovative dance productions, transformative dance training, and enduring community engagement experiences. National Medal of Arts recipient Tina Ramirez founded Ballet Hispánico in 1970, at the height of the post-war civil rights movements. From its inception Ballet Hispánico focused on providing a haven for Black and Brown Latinx youth and families seeking artistic place and cultural sanctuary. By providing the space for Latinx dance and dancers to flourish, Ballet Hispánico uplifted marginalized emerging and working artists, which combined with the training, authenticity of voice, and power of representation, fueled the organization's roots and trajectory. In 2009, Ballet Hispánico welcomed Eduardo Vilaro as its Artistic Director, ushering in a new era by inserting fresh energy to the company's founding values and leading Ballet Hispánico into an artistically vibrant future. Today, Ballet Hispánico's New York City headquarters house a School of Dance and state-of-the-art dance studios for its programs and the arts community. From its grassroots origins as a dance school and community-based performing arts troupe, for fifty years Ballet Hispánico has stood as a catalyst for social change. Ballet Hispánico provides the physical home and cultural heart for Latinx dance in the United States. Ballet Hispánico has developed a robust public presence across its three main programs: its Company, School of Dance, and Community Arts Partnerships. Through its exemplary artistry, distinguished training program, and deep-rooted community engagement efforts Ballet Hispánico champions and amplifies underrepresented voices in the field. For fifty years Ballet Hispánico has provided a place of honor for the omitted, overlooked, and oppressed. As it looks to the next fifty years and beyond, Ballet Hispánico seeks to empower, and give agency to, the Latinx experience and those individuals within it. Dancers of all ages who participate in ten-week education programs sponsored by The National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs will lead out the parade. The workshops are run in schools, recreation centers and city parks in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
About Dance Parade
Dance Parade is a 501(c)3 non-profit presenter of 100+ unique styles of dance with a mission 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. Though many aspects of the cabaret law have been repealed, Dance Parade recognizes that the zoning laws still restrict dancing in most parts of the city and will express its roots with a presence by the New York Dance Police (NYDP) – a jovial group of uniformed officers inspiring the crowds to dance and celebrate the spirit of Dance Parade. In contrast to the real Dance Police of the Mayor Giuliani era, anyone caught not dancing could be cited with a summons to attend a free dance class or party in the city.