Choreographer with local roots, Mark DeGarmo, hosts Virtual Dance for Dance
PINE PLAINS — It was just last fall that internationally acclaimed choreographer, Pine Plains native and current NYC and Ancram resident, Mark DeGarmo, returned home and charmed the community by gathering volunteers for a community dance in the Pine Plains FFA’s Fall Agricultural Fair’s traditional parade.
Now, with people on the lookout for creative ways to stay active and connected during the coronavirus health crisis, DeGarmo has again invited community members — far and wide — to take part in “the dance party of the year” as his Virtual Dance for Dance program is broadcast live on Thursday, April 30.
Under normal circumstances, DeGarmo’s annual Dance for Dance party is run as a social gathering that raises about a third of the annual income for his organization, Mark DeGarmo Dance. However, with the pandemic prompting people to exercise social distancing and avoid large gatherings, DeGarmo and his team had to adapt their annual program to a digital platform.
“Six weeks ago, we never envisioned we would be needing to pivot 180 degrees immediately” said his niece, Hannah DeGarmo, also marketing, operations and archival analyst for Mark DeGarmo Dance. “We needed to learn new technology as fast as possible. We needed to script, perform and videotape remotely our program we would have delivered in a live in-person event. We needed to imagine how people might participate in order to achieve our fundraising goals using an untested way of doing so… So we had no time to lose.”
Yet in spite of the initial challenges, DeGarmo and his team were able to successfully move this year’s event and dance party to both Facebook Live and Zoom. Hannah said her uncle wants to “create a global Dance Circle across the Earth’s 24 Time Zones,” adding that, because this year’s event will be hosted online, he hopes to reach 100,000 people minimum versus the 200 people who have traditionally attended over the last decade. Along with reaching their fundraising goal as they did last year, she said Mark hopes this year’s dance party “will connect our communities and those most affected by the COVID-19 environment and crisis.
“We hope to provide dance as healing, community-building and as a safe space for creative expression, laughter and joy for people across the Earth’s 24 time zones,” Hannah said. “[Mark] believes that taking time to celebrate, to not miss a year in holding this celebration, is very important during this time, when so many people need an uplifting community gathering and affirmation of our humanity, commonality and purpose in providing hope and leadership for our children and all community members across New York City and state, the USA and the Earth.”
Starting at 6:30 p.m., the virtual Dance for Dance will be broadcast on the “Mark DeGarmo Dance” Facebook page as well as on the “Mark DeGarmo Dance” YouTube channel. A Shout Out Auction will begin at 6:50 p.m., followed by a Dance Party on Zoom.
Participants can register at any time for the event as well as for its silent auction, or donate funds, by texting “d4d2020” to 76278 or by going to www.d4d2020.givesmart.com. Donations can also be made via Venmo at Mark-DeGarmo-2 or via PayPal at paypal.me/markdegarmodance. For details, go to www.markdegarmodance.org.