Volunteer Spotlight : April Newman


April Newman, Production Team

“The excitement in the air, and the joy on the faces of the dancers…”

Dance Parade, Inc. is a volunteer supported non-profit organization! It is the dedication, expertise and rhythm of these brave few that are solely responsible for the success of the event and all the background work that goes on all year long leading up to the parade and festival. Every month, we choose a different volunteer to spotlight.

We ask them a few questions to let you know who they are, where they’ve come from and where they see themselves in the future

How did you first stumble upon Dance Parade?
I re-located to live in NYC three years ago.  I was fascinated by the fact that NYC had so many official parades.  Just like a child I love parades and festivals.  Mid winter I went online to see the dates, and types of parades to be held so that I could set a schedule for my Summer.  I noticed a “Dance Parade” on the agenda.  The more I researched dance parade the more I loved the concept, and…..I decided to become involved as volunteer in 2010 and have loved it ever since!
What is your current role in Dance Parade?

I am a parade group liaison under the “production” coordinator LA Kilpatrick.
Editor’s Note  (LA is having a production meeting Friday December 9th at 6pm, email her at la@danceparade.org if you’d like to join!).

What is your favorite style of dance to watch?  I like the people that dance and twirl the flags before the marching bands.  Perhaps it is called cheerleading.    To participate in?  Personally I love free style dancing to the oldies of rhythm, blues, and soul.

What is your dance background?

I am just a natural born singer/dancer.  Although I have had no formal lesions, I love to sing and dance and I think I am better than average

If you could share the stage with anyone in history famous or not, living or deceased, a trained dancer or not, performing a routine choreographed by yourself…who would it be?

Whoopie Goldberg.  I think she is multi talented, as well as well spoken and funny.  I am sure she can naturally dance.  To see her in a routine would be a riot.

What does the Dance Parade slogan “one parade, many cultures” mean to you?

Dancing is a part of the human psychic.  Every culture has its styles and versions.  Through “Dance Parade” we can all come together and communicate, and share this God given phenomenon.

What dance group are you most looking forward to seeing this year in the parade?

I am looking forward to seeing more African dance groups.  There were only two that I saw this year. For all the peoples of African culture dancing, they are under represented, and their dancing is awesome.

If you could pick a Grand Marshall for this year’s parade….who would it be?

Felix Hernandez.  There is something that must be said for “Grass roots dancing” as well as  “formal” dancing.  The segment of cultural dancing that he represents is documented every 6 weeks at $35.00  a head at Roseland Ballroom.  The place is always packed  with people over 50 years of age that love “dance” and love to dance.

Part of volunteering has a lot to do with strong leadership skills and major teamwork skills….if you were to pick a volunteer of the month…who would you choose?

I especially like DJ, Shireen, and Greg because they make me feel appreciated and welcomed.

If you could pick another country to hold a Dance Parade and Festival….which would it be?

Canada

Volunteering at a non profit organization can at times be daunting and frustrating with limited personnel and limited funding….what is it that keeps you coming back for more and more?

I am retired with a lot of useful skills.  I love to keep busy giving back where I can.  In return I receive.  I am New to New York and I need to make friends.  I can only make friends by being friendly.

Describe your most special memory from Dance Parades past?

The excitement in the air, and the joy on the faces of the dancers and participants as they arrived for the start of the parade.

What salesman pitch would you use to attract a new volunteer into the ‘cult’ that is Dance Parade?

My pitch would be: an  invitation to be a part of the “melting pot culture” of New York City.

To join together with others from different backgrounds and produce a multicultural event.

Thank you so much for asking for my input…it has been a pleasure!

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