Garth Fagan, KS 360 and B-Girl Rokafella to Be 2016 Dance Parade Grand Marshals
Dance Parade New York is pleased to announce that contemporary dance choreographer Garth Fagan, KS 360 aka "Kwikstep" street dance veteran and global DJ, and B-Girl Rokafella, pioneer female hip-hop and break dancer, are headlining as Grand Marshals at the 10th Annual Dance Parade and Festival. The three dance legends will participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony at 12:45pm on Saturday May 21, 2016, releasing 10,000 dancers down Broadway to launch the parade and festival. The Parade's Ambassadors of Dance are Leanne Cope and Garen Scribner of Broadway's "An American in Paris" (Mr. Scribner replaces Robert Fairchild in the show).
By selecting Grand Marshals, parade organizers honor the achievements of living and working dance legends. Garth Fagan's staggering 55 year career includes the two year celebration of the 45th anniversary of Garth Fagan Dance and the Tony & Olivier Award winning choreography for The Lion King. Organizers also celebrate the longevity and on-going appeal of street dancers and the creative partnership of Kwikstep and Rokafella, embodying the eloquent inventiveness of urban youth. Rokafella's pioneering B-Girl work, and the couple's efforts as educators helped redefine, and reframe what had originally been seen as a male-only art form. "The honorees were selected and celebrated this year for their originality and game-changing contributions to the art of dance, and perseverance throughout their formidable careers," said DJ McDonald, Dance Parade curatorial committee chair.
THE PARADE ROUTE: The Grand Marshals will lead as many as 10,000 dancers marching and dancing down Broadway from West 21st Street to a Grandstand at the corner of 8th Street and University Place where performances take place. Turning east, the parade continues along Saint Marks Place and ends at Tompkins Square Park. Inside the park, DanceFest comes alive from 3 to 7pm highlighting the artistic excellence and cultural diversity found in the Dance Parade. Festival goers are invited to view the richness of its cultural forms on five stages, participate in social dancing and take dance lessons. On the Main Performance Stage the Grand Marshals will receive awards in recognition of their career contributions presented by New York City elected officials, and members of the Dance Parade board of directors.
Dance Parade is the world's largest display of the diversity found in the field of dance. The parade covers 1.4 miles and features as many as 10,000 dancers and up to 70 vehicles and floats representing about 75 styles of dance. It begins at Broadway and East 21st Street and flows down through Union Square and University Place. There is a grandstand at East 8th St. & University Place, where major media and invited guests can get a clear view as dancers swing by. The procession cascades across St. Marks Place at Tompkins Square Park in DanceFest, an outdoor festival at the conclusion of the parade. DanceFest features five stages of continuous programming and free dance lessons by some of the city's best teachers from 3-7pm.
Dance Parade originated as a community response to 2006 lawsuit seeking to overturn New York City's 1926 Cabaret License Law, which has been used to restrict unlicensed social dancing in the city's bars and restaurants. When a New York State Supreme Court Judge ruled that social dancing was not considered "expressive activity" protected by the state constitution's freedom of expression amendment, dancers and dance groups got together to create a positive response to the decision. With this response, the Dance Parade New York was born.
Dance Parade New York is an entity of Dance Parade Inc, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization whose charitable mission is to promote dance as an expressive and unifying art form, while educating the public about opportunities to experience dance. The organization celebrates diversity by showcasing all forms of dance around the world through sponsorship of a yearly, citywide Dance Parade and Dance Festival. The organization serves schools and community centers throughout New York City's five boroughs by providing 12 weeks of dance education that culminate with participation in the parade and festival.
ABOUT GARTH FAGAN
Critics have called Garth Fagan "a true original," "a genuine leader," and "one of the great reformers of modern dance." Fagan is the founder and artistic director of the award-winning and internationally acclaimed Garth Fagan Dance, now celebrating its 45th anniversary season. A Tony and Olivier Award winner, Fagan continually renews his own distinctive dance vocabulary, which draws on many sources: a sense of weight in modern dance, torso-centered movement and energy of Afro-Caribbean, the speed and precision of ballet, and the rule breaking experimentation of the postmoderns. "Originality has always been Mr. Fagan's strong suit, not least in his transformation of recognizable idioms into a dance language that looks not only fresh but even idiosyncratic," stated Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times. In 2014, Lewis Segal of the Los Angeles Times wrote "it was American master Garth Fagan who best fused technical virtuosity with conceptual depth. The soul-deep conviction and spectacular flair of his 1983 (Prelude)"Discipline Is Freedom"...may have been the indispensable dance experience of the year."
For his path-breaking choreography for Walt Disney's The Lion King (1997) Fagan was awarded the TonyAward for Best Choreography. He also received England's Laurence Olivier Award, Australia's Helpmann Award, the Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Astaire Award, and the Ovation Award for his work on the Broadway musical. Fagan's distinguished work in the theatre also includes the Duke Ellington street opera, Queenie Pie, at the Kennedy Center (1986) and the opening production of NewYork Shakespeare Festival's Shakespeare Marathon: A Midsummer Night's Dream (1988).
In the world of concert dance Fagan choreographs primarily for Garth Fagan Dance. Mudan 175/39, was named by The New York Times as the third of the top six dance-watching moments of 2009. Fagan has also produced commissions for a number of leading companies, including Footprints Dressed in Red, for the Dance Theatre of Harlem; Scene Seen for the debut of the Jamison Project; Jukebox for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Never No Lament for the Jose Limon Company; and Ellington Elation, for the New York City Ballet in honor of Duke Ellington's centenary and New York City Ballet's 50th anniversary. "Garth Fagan Dance should be required viewing for the human race! Yes, that's a brash statement, but the troupe is joy made palpable...Virtuosity, stamina and love of life, not to mention technique to burn, are the hallmarks of this extraordinary group -attributes much needed in today's dark world." Victoria Looseleaf, Fjordreview.com
Garth Fagan was selected as an "Irreplaceable Dance Treasure" by The Dance Heritage Coalition, An irreplaceable dance treasure has made a significant impact on dance as an art form, demonstrated artistic excellence, enriched the nations cultural heritage, demonstrated the potential to enhance the lives of future generations and shown itself worthy of national and international recognition.
ABOUT KWIKSTEP AND ROKAFELLA
Internationally renowned street dance icons Kwikstep aka DJ KS 360 and Rokafella co-founded Full Circle Productions Inc a non-profit Hip Hop dance company in order to preserve classic Hip Hop Dance forms and embrace the ongoing evolution of the urban expression. The duo began by producing short theatrical pieces that grew to include all elements of Hip-hop onstage and offering workshops about the original aesthetic of the dance and its roots. Performances at The New Victory Theater, Kennedy Center and Harlem Stage are among the list of venues their all inclusive Hip-hop theater shows have been presented. Together they have mentored NYC youth to aspire to careers in Hip hop and dance related ventures by offering ongoing open Breaking (Break Dance) sessions in community centers and after school programs. Many in the dance community have implemented their formats. Proving to spark fearless creativity in themselves and others, Full Circle collaborated and produced a film about the Bgirl lifestyle entitled All The Ladies Say and created Behind The Groove- a unique club party / event that features a diverse play list of all dance and music genres catering to the local / international dance students, novices and dance masters. BTG is for everybody, witnessing incredible dancing is a sure bet or simply coming and doing a simple two step. The Behind The Groove party / event offers a space for street and club dancers to enjoy non top 40 dance music, a chance to check out exhibition battles and an opportunity to catch classic live performances by the original artists whose song have become the soundscape to our lives. Kwikstep and Rokafella strike a balance by successfully capturing the resilience of the 70's 80's and 90's as well as the independence of today's technological vibrancy, bringing authenticity to the commercial world and fostering the next generation of well rounded Hip-hop all stars.
For more about the Dance Parade & Festival, go to www.danceparade.org.