Girl Walk // All Day Makes Its Seattle Premier

Written by Mariko Nagashima

(Dancer Anne Marsen as “The Girl”
Photo courtesy of Girl Walk // All Day)
Ever been struck by an urge to dance in the streets? Maybe do a cartwheel across the StatenIsland ferry deck or rock out to your iPod on the subway? Perhaps even shake it in front of the New York Stock Exchange? In Jacob Krupnick’s latest film, Girl Walk // All Day, you get to do all of the above (vicariously, of course) through a cast of three incredibly talented dancers, and a host of people on the streets of New York City. Set entirely to the music of All Day, the latest album by Greg Gillis (a.k.a. Girl Talk), Girl Walk follows The Girl (Anne Marsen) as she winds her way through New York City, in one adventure-filled day. Marsen, and fellow dancers Dai Omiya and John Doyle, who play The Gentleman and The Creep, respectively, dance through the city the way most of us only do alone in our bedrooms. The delightfully uninhibited blend of everything from hip hop to ballet to tap to Bollywood, coupled with those infectious Girl Talk beats, makes your toes tap and head bob almost instantly, which is exactly the goal of the film. Girl Walk // All Day will kick off its West Coast tour in Seattle this Saturday, February 11, 2012, with a screening at Neumos.
Dancer John Doyle as “The Creep”
Photo courtesy of Girl Walk // All Day
Krupnick first had the idea for the film when he saw Marsen do a 5 minute improvised solo to a Daft Punk track while he was filming a backdrop for a fashion show. “I was really blown away by how many styles of dance she’d studied,” says Krupnick. “It was super exciting to see, and I knew I wanted to make a larger piece with Anne incorporating all these styles.” Krupnick had a vague concept for a music video for almost 2 years, but it wasn’t until he heard Girl Talk’s latest album that he solidified the idea. “I immediately thought, ‘this is the soundtrack to do this gigantic music video to.’” Thus, Girl Walk was born.
Though Krupnick admits he lacks the vocabulary for dance, as this is his first foray into working with real dancers, it’s not necessarily a hindrance. In fact, the result of his direction is a concoction of steps and styles exhilarating in their unconventionality. All three main dancers had very different approaches to the filming and creation process. “Anne has a stellar imagination for expression,” relates Krupnick. After discussing each character’s relationships and motivations, “she [just] figures out what feels natural to her…John was quite a bit more calculated. He would listen to music and be more thoughtful about what it will look like on film…Dai has such a wild style. You can say ‘Go dance’ and he’ll do something just incredible.” As a whole, “there was a big back and forth in writing the film,” says Krupnick. “I would come up with very generic ideas and see them do such a wide range of interesting things with their bodies.”
Dancer Dai Omiya as “The Gentleman”
Photo courtesy of Girl Walk // All Day
The process began with an 8 minute trailer, which quickly went viral when originally released in January 2011. After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, which both created a community and a collective buzz around the film, Krupnick and his small but dedicated crew were able to expand Girl Walk into a feature length product. “The pride and energy that so many people got to feel in relation to the film, I think emboldened us quite a lot,” says Krupnick. This was especially important because, filming in so many unconventional spaces and interacting with the public so much, there was a measure of vulnerability and a huge degree of unpredictability. There’s “lots of chaos in the streets, [and I] wanted to use that as a tool, an extra character in the film. Commuters and tourists are all involved in the story line, and as much as I tried to imagine certain interactions, things went so differently,” says Krupnick. “When you invite randomness in, the stakes get really high as to whether or not you will be able to pull it off.” But pull it off they did, and this element of chance ended up creating a myriad of reactions made more intriguing by their authenticity.
From flitting through a parade, gallivanting through museum exhibits, and even getting kicked out of Yankee Stadium for dancing on the railings, the final product of these escapades is a colorful, effervescent dose of pure fun that exudes joyousness from every frame. It is simultaneously a testament to the sheer power of movement, an ode to New York City, and a cry for human engagement, which echo both on and off camera. It conveys a spirit of connectedness and encourages people to engage with each other and with our often under valued public spaces through movement. Marsen tries to get people to dance with her throughout the film (with varied success) and this theme carries through to the screenings, which inevitably turn into dance parties.
Thus far, showings have taken place in conventional movie theaters, conference rooms, restaurants, and even one “best-case scenario” showing at a New Yorkchurch, which got everyone from children to nuns up and dancing. Seattle’s screening this Saturday at Neumos promises to be a similarly festive affair. The film will be followed by DJ’s Tigerbeat and RadJaw and a night of revelry and dancing will doubtlessly ensue. Girl Walk is also doing a special Valentine’s Day screening accompanied by a 5+ course dinner by Matt Costello, the award winning chef/owner of the Inn at Langley. Also followed by dancing, this screening will take place at Delancey, in Ballard, and is limited to 20 guests. For more information and to purchase tickets for either event see http://girlwalkallday.com/events.