So you think you can dance (and watch a movie at the same time?)


I’m pretty much a purist when it comes to talking or texting during a movie. If i see that little blue-white square of light come on in my peripheral vision, I’ll say something.

But dancing during a movie ? No problem.

I mean, it’s well-nigh impossible not to dance to the insanely fun “Girl Walk//All Day,” a feature-length “street-dancing” movie that’s playing for free at the Memorial Union Terrace on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 9:30 p.m. As a matter of fact, I’ll be mightily disappointed if a crowd of people don’t start dancing.

The movie is like one extended music video, scored to musical mixologist Girl Talk’s “All Day” mixtape, which is a mash-up of over 300 samples, most of them instantly recognizable, from the Ramones “Blitzkrieg Bop” to Missy Elliott’s “Get ur Freak On,” all gloriously combined into an extended, thumping dance-music opus.

That album provides the soundtrack to Jacob Krupnick’s “Girl Walk//All Day,” which follows a professional dancer (Anne Marsen) who, after a frustrating day at the barre, dances her way through New York City, making the sidewalks, subway turnstiles and public parks her stage, other dancers joining her from time to time, onlookers wearing expressions of bafflement and delight. It’s pure cinematic joy, kinetic and playful.

“Girl Walk” first screened as part of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Rooftop Cinema series in May 2012, and it was one of the most memorable screenings of my life. As the film played, a small crowd of audience members gathered to the side of the screen to dance along. As the film went along, you could sense people around you in the seats one by one finally hit that tipping point, where the urge to dance outweighed their inhibitions, and they’d get up to join them. (My tipping point was apparently a lot farther along than most people, but I finally worked up the nerve to join them for the last 15 minutes or so. As someone who has spent a lifetime in the seats, observing, I can’t tell you how strange, how exhilarating it was, to be up there.)

All of which is to say that “Girl Walk//All Day” is a very special thing to see live, and should be a wonderful film to see on the Terrace, on a Saturday night, with a crowd full of students on the eve of a new fall semester. Just make sure to bring comfy shoes, and leave your inhibitions at home.