Dance Dance Revelation: Krupnick’s Own Jubilant Mashup
In 2010, the one man remix act Girl Talk released his latest mashup record, All Day, in which he draws from the entire back catalog of pop music, from The Rolling Stones to Lil’ Wayne, patching bits and pieces from whatever fits to craft fully formed, completely danceable tracks, disregarding countless copyright infringements along the way. Girl Walk // All Day is director Jacob Krupnick’s full length feature/extended music video that uses All Day as a musical backdrop. Much like the musical concoctions that set the aural stage, the film is an amalgamation of vérité street performances, improvised dance segments, and choreographed numbers all (very) loosely woven around the story of The Girl (Anne Marsen), The Gentleman (Dai Omiya) and The Creep (John Doyle).
Nimbly navigating the streets of New York with a myriad of spins, wispy arm movements and an ever present smile, The Girl, a young dance student, is perpetually searching to find someone, anyone, to shake her hips with. In subways and on street corners, Apple stores and various well known Big Apple landmarks, she leaps about, testing and teasing her real life onlookers as they wonder what is going on. Occasionally, Krupnick cuts to The Gentleman, an airy tap dancing street performer who occasionally finds himself in close proximity to our pixie-esque lead, and The Creep, an ambivalent hip-hopper who enters at random to set up the flimsy relational tripod affair, but it certainly isn’t this almost non-existent plot that holds the non-stop boogie together. These kids are just obviously having a great time grooving to remixed classics while playing to crowds whether they like it or not.
Shot mostly with low grade hand-helds, it’s generally not a pretty picture, but the freedom of movement is essential for following the dancing trio in, out and around people and obstacles as they maneuver about. There are a number of brief sequences that operate outside of this aesthetic, one being a lovely series of hip-level, static wide shots of The Creep busting a move in front of a variety of colorful city walls, at the same time breaking up the constant jitter and reframing the pace of the loose narrative. With little visual beauty to lean on and a soundtrack that is composed solely of a single Girl Talk record, Girl Walk // All Day relies heavily on the jovial performances of Marsen, Omiya and Doyle.
Each dancer thankfully has their own style – Marsen sports a loosy-goosy ballet-based form, Omiya rocks a pair of taps but has obviously spent time practicing martial arts, and Doyle gyrates with a powerful hip-hop pulse. Their variety allows for plenty of rotating solo performances and also a few interesting collaborations (two play out as mini fight sequences). Though there are a few obviously choreographed scenes, most of them take place in public, resulting in a mix of reactions from onlookers. When faced with an exuberant Marsen pleading for a dance partner, most pedestrians try their best to ignore her pursual, but the film is at its most celebratory when random groups of strangers give in and join the party. Girl Walk // All Day is, at its core, a literal celebration of music and dance, art forms with the freedom and ability to lift one’s spirits and break down barriers, and it does so with insatiable mirth, but plain and simple, Krupnick’s debut is still just a feature length music video with a paper thin plot and some decent dancing. As long as you keep that in mind and plan to get your back up off the wall, you’ll have a good time.