Securing summer permits for park space has proven to be a pretty difficult feat, so I was absolutely thrilled with our luck when we were offered a slot at Washington Square Park for the July jam. As a gorgeous and historic hub for tourists and city dwellers alike, I hoped that this location would attract plenty of participants happy to join in on our fun. The outcome was better than I could have ever expected.
The day began rainy and gray, but with just a couple of hours to spare, the sun arrived to shine down unapologetically on our eager bodies. We were blessed to be accompanied by a musician we met during the Washington Square group shoot last fall, David Yee (saxophone), and his friend Jordan Auber (drums). The duo began with a funky groove that no one could help but move to and thus, a crowd formed.
Nicole Wolcott, a choreographer and dance teacher who took the Washington Square Park fountain by storm in June, led an exciting and encouraging class. Bystanders of all kinds were immediately inspired by Nicole's carefree approach and joined (or were roped in) by the handful. And eventually, Nicole ended up in the fountain again, followed by those most eager for relief from the summer sun. By the end of the class, dancers were scattered all across the park, laughing, sweating, and free.
After the class, a good rest and water break was very necessary. It was surprising to see how many people wanted to stick around for more, even in the unforgiving heat. Friends and new acquaintances mingled and moved while the team took the opportunity to engage with onlookers. One special moment stood out among the rest; an unabashed toddler named Charlotte waddled up to the dancers and led a movement class of her own. With the bold spirit of a dancer, she stole the hearts and smiles of everyone around her.
After a rest, dancers scattered once more into the crowd to prepare for the jam video. By this point, the sun was sitting a little more comfortably in the sky, and the largest crowd yet had gathered to watch. Just before we began, a good friend, Christian McLaren, had the brilliant idea to have the participants pass around a selfie stick while dancing, which produced this magical compilation video. (A million thanks, Christian!)
I couldn't have been happier with the turnout of this jam. Thank you to all of the family and friends who have shown such fervent support. Sharing in the excitement, liberation, and pure joy of those who join us is everything that summer means to me and more importantly, everything that Pedestrian Wanderlust means to me. Needless to say, I can't wait for the next one!