Dance Captain Wanted

Created and Directed by: Charlie Todd
Executive Producers: Charlie Todd, Andrew Soltys, Alan Aisenberg, Juan Cocuy, Justin Ayers
Produced by: Andrew Soltys, Aleks Arcabascio, Justin Ayers
Co-Producer: Isabel Lopez
Director of Photography: Justin Ayers
Camera Operators: Chloe Smolkin, Christian Mortensen, Jon Simmons, Spencer Thielmann
Hidden Camera Technician: Zach Rockenstyre
Camera Assistant: Kate Montgomery
Camera PA: Mark Satin
Still Photography: Andy Bisdale
Sound Mixer: Harris Karlin
A2: Nick Mastorakis
Wardrobe/Props: Zelda Vyssotsky
Production Assistant: Chris Kelly, Cameron Mitchell, Tyler Orr, Kenzie Woodrow, Nick Silva, Marquis Powell, Alex Tymchak, Jason Kasman
Editor: Matt Braunsdorf
DIT: Ryan Connors
Music: Tyler Walker

For our latest mission, we set up a 2-foot tall platform in Bryant Park with an attached sign that read “Dance Captain Wanted.” When random New Yorkers stepped on the platform, our mob of 100 dancers copied their every move.

Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our mission report and photos.

I’ve had this idea in my head for about 5 years, and it was really fun to finally realize it. Lately I’ve been particularly excited by concepts that allow random people on the street to take center stage. In many ways, this project is a sequel to our 2013 mission Conduct Us, where we gave random New Yorkers the chance to conduct a world class orchestra. Although one big difference is that while almost no one knows how to conduct, lots of people have great dance moves in their back pocket.

We recruited our participants off of the Improv Everywhere email list and instructed them to come to the park dressed in black pants, a white top, and ready to dance.

Our crew of dancers appeared unannounced. Once they were in place we removed some park barricades to reveal the platform and the Dance Captain Wanted sign. Then we hit the music and waited. This is my favorite part of these types of missions, waiting for the first person to step up. Who will say yes first?

Of course once one person goes, the floodgates open and everyone wants their turn. After each dancer left the platform, a new one quickly hopped on.

Our dancers were a diverse crew with ages ranging from 2 to over 65.

The dance captains were equally diverse and included people of all ages.

And most had awesome dance moves!

Our participants definitely got a work out. We staged it twice during the day, each time for about 30 minutes.

A crowd gathered on all sides to watch and smile.

The kid in the above photo was my favorite dance captain of the day. Even though he was a little bit shy, he really wanted to do it.

Some of the dance captains had talents our crowd couldn’t match.

It was fun seeing people from the buildings across the street watch the dancing.

Thanks to everyone that came out to participate, and thanks to our awesome dance captains!

Mission Accomplished


Production photos from photographer Andrew Bisdale: Mission Photos

Listen to the full song by Tyler Walker: