Michael Karlesky

A cabinet of wonders. Minus the cabinet. And possibly the wonders.

A day in the life: Street dancing on the subway

Today I headed into Manhattan from Brooklyn to straighten out a multi-day immunization record drama for school. It's all sorted out now. Finally.

I have just recently begun reading Homo Ludens, a classic text on play. The Latin Homo Ludens translates as “Playing Man.” The author puts this name forward as an alternative label for human beings as a species. (The more widely recognized Homo Sapien translates as “Knowing Man.”) I'm here to study play + technology, after all. So I read stuff like this. I know. It's ridiculously geeky. Isn't it great?

When I got on the subway to go back to Brooklyn from Manhattan I left off on a page in the book talking about ritual as play. The section I had just read made specific mention of the relationship of dance to ritual and dance as play.

As I sit down on the subway train, I see a young guy crouching on the floor with an iPod and an amplified speaker. I hear him too — the music was blaring. I direct my attention back to my book when all in a flash this amazing street dancing breaks out in front of me. These two young men were brilliant. Fluid. Funny. Beautiful in their motion. Playing out a dance in front of me as though the words of my book came to life before my very eyes.

And, yes, these dudes' hands were all over the floor and the poles inside the subway train. Try to enjoy this moment and not freak out about the germs. Just let it go. I'm sure they washed up immediately afterwards.