Dancers Take Over Washington Square Park

Movement Choir (this section choreographed by Kristi Spessard)
Photo © Jeffrey Bary

Eight groups of dancers (almost 100 people) work in different parts of the park. They move around trees, run down walkways, spiral in and out of people walking their dogs. They come together around the central fountain. It's like a scene out of Hair. I see patterns of space and effort in the dancers but also in regular people walking through the park, sitting on benches.

This event, held on Thursday, November 8, was co-sponsored by The Laban/ Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies and The Center for Architecture/American Institute of Architects, NY Chapter. Based on the Movement Choirs (massive groups of people moving together in public spaces) of Rudolf Laban, it awakened in me an awareness of the patterns of movement that always exist in this park.

And what a delight to hear unsuspecting park-goers respond! Here are some of the words I overheard:

"I thought spontaneous dancing was just for musicals, but I guess not."

"Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?"

"I've never seen that shit."

"Leave them alone, man.... Oh yeah, Alvin Ailey."

"Broadway stuff."

"They're doing exercise."

"There are like 50 of them!"

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