Improv Everywhere: Ballroom Crosswalk

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Pranksters

From Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere: Pedestrians in a busy New York city crosswalk suddenly begin ballroom dancing.


Ballroom Crosswalk

For our latest mission, pedestrians in a busy New York crosswalk begin ballroom dancing one by one as they “accidentally” bump into their partners. This project took place on the crosswalk in front of Penn Station on 7th Avenue, one of the busiest spots in the city. We staged the mission several times, with the performance repeating at each change of the light and always finishing before the “Don’t Walk” countdown clock reached zero.

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For this project we put out a call to our NYC mailing list looking for ballroom dancers. For the most part participants didn’t know each other before this project, though some participated with their dance partners. We had one loose rehearsal just to walk through the logistics and make sure everyone was comfortable with the idea and their partners.

It was a great spot because there was always a healthy crowd of people coming to and from Penn Station. Each time we staged it, 95% of the people around us were seeing it for the first time. We noticed a few people who stuck around, hoping to see it again. The best reactions came from those in the crosswalk who got caught up in it as it started. Some folks were in a hurry, rushing to catch their train, but most everyone did a double take and smiled. I had a blast watching it from the sideline.

This project was a collaboration with YouTube’s new Field Day channel. Check out our video on the Field Day channel that features parts of this mission as well as our Groundskeeper Acrobats and Unexpected Ballet missions.

Created and Directed by Charlie Todd / Produced by: Deverge. For more information and photos, visit here.