I first heard about Anne Marsen via The Good Wife, because I'm the kind of square who learns about viral-video street dance phenomena via TV shows about lawyers. In The Good Wife and, as far as I can tell, in the real world, Anne Marsen is a charming-badass-weird improvisational dancer who combines talent and training with an irresistable aura of total balls-out glee. Marsen started off in classical ballet before she quit and began to study as wide a variety of dance styles as New York City could provide. Girl Wall//All Day, the feature-length dance video inspired by Girl Talk's mashup album All Day, mirrors this journey to a certain extent, with the heroine freaking out during a ballet class and fleeing for the Staten Island Ferry in a jacket stolen from her teacher
Girl Talk's homepage or (as I prefer, because I'm a geek) listen on Mashup Breakdown, where each component sample is highlighted onscreen while you listen. But Girl Walk//All Day transforms each track into more than just sections of a great album -- they become memorable moments of a narrative. Girl Walk is very much a product of the internet and remix culture: funded on Kickstarter, produced with no official involvement from the creator of the (free to download) mashup album it's based on, and screened on Vimeo.
The jacket The Girl steals from her dance instructor is iconic enough that it was chosen as the logo of the film. She wears it for the first couple of chapters, a symbol of her don't-give-a-fuck attitude, weird and out-of-place as she dances through the crowds at the ferry terminal and out into the city.
Improv Everywhere's videos (motto: "We Cause Scenes") are so ubiquitously viral that I expect most people reading this will either have seen one, or some kind of advert that plays off the flashmob craze. Successful feel-good viral videos, like jokes, tend to rely on the element of surprise, whether it's fifty people breaking into song in a suburban shopping mall or a girl dancing fearlessly through crowds of tourists and commuters, and Girl Walk manages to sustain this for 72 minutes. And because the audience for a 72-minute improvisational mashup dance movie is most likely made up of the reality TV/Youtube generation, we're invited to notice and accept that yes, the camera person does exist, that this is more like documentary footage than pure fiction. When any of the dancers are further away from the camera, you know for sure that the reactions of the people around them must be genuine, because how could spectators even know they're being filmed? Sometimes the camera will be on one side of the street, filming The Girl as she dances unselfconsciously through the crowds on the other. Most of the participants in this movie are bystanders: laughing, gawking or attempting to ignore the crazy girl dancing to music (it's fairly likely) only she can hear.
Manic Pixie Dreamgirl.
Like Anne Marsen, the dancer playing the part of The Creep has a real skill for physical comedy. His moves are a mixture between body-popping street-dance and Looney Tunes villain. He sports a skeleton tracksuit, for extra added evil:
Bill Cunningham. Girl Walk's camera person catches the back of the famous photographer's head for a few seconds as he comes across The Creep dancing outside a department store.
here in its entirety, although if you're a US resident they seem to be holding live screenings/dance parties in some cities. I recommend one chapter per day before breakfast, as a panacaea against the horrors of real life.