311 Gets Dance Therapy
July 7th, 2008
At noon and 1:30 p.m. today uninitiated passersby might have been startled by the group of red and black-clad dancers jumping off the Municipal Building columns and silently strutting and sashaying in the outdoor lunch hangout at 1 Centre Street. Risa Jaroslow’s “311” is a dance for Sitelines, part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s series of site-specific performances — this one supposed to highlight city engagement.
It turned out to be equal parts modern dance and old-fashioned public forum. Alberto Dennis, the dancer-MC, brought out a microphone and started asking the crowd questions: “How do you feel about municipal government today?” “I don’t really have an answer to that,” a young woman says. Turns out she’s from the Virgin Islands. Another man answers, “I probably shouldn’t say, given that I work in it.”
Dennis moves onto other questions: “What changes would you like to see in the city?” One man, votes for same-sex marriage rights. “Who knows what would happen if there were more Republicans in the New York State Senate?” Another woman gave an impromptu PSA about giving up a subway seat to the elderly or pregnant. “That would be nice. And also — well, what about that 2nd Avenue train line? There’s been so many MTA fare hikes, but I’m not seeing a show of what I’m paying for.”
The crowd, like most in New York, got fairly vocal. The only group that refused to answer any questions was a cluster of young, blue-oxford’d Department of Education consultants — they were too busy trying to look busy over the remnants of Subway sandwiches and salads. Maybe they just didn’t have much to say.
If you have something to air about 311, or general comments about city government, bring them to the next lunchtime dance performances continuing throughout this week.By yhuang on July 7, 2008, 5:02 pm
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