How New York’s Subway Dance Crews Make A Living [Video]

Arts & Culture

"Between 14th & Bedford: NY Subway Dancers" goes behind the scenes of the lives of the city's young entertainers.

Daniela Walker
  • 28 april 2014

New Yorkers ignore them, tourists are mesmerized by them, and now filmmaker Mollie Mills has captured them in their element in her short film, Between 14th & Bedford: NY Subway Dancers. They are W.A.F.F.L.E. – We Are Family For Life Entertainment, a crew of subway dancers who spend their time contorting their bodies and dancing underground in New York City.

Mills, who is London-based, was once another tourist bemused by the flips and tricks that these young men performed on the subway. She was so taken by them that she asked their permission to follow the crew as they spent their day on the subway. Mills learned that even though subway dancers are regarded as an annoyance by regular commuters, they continue to dance to support themselves and their families, and to stay away from bad influences. Mills writes on her Vimeo page:

The longer I spent with them, the more I realized that they weren’t dancing as a hobby or to earn a couple of bucks but a lot of these kids actually needed the money to support either themselves or their families. A lot of them come from poorer backgrounds and areas like Crown Heights and East New York and have bonded over a mutual decision to earn money through something more positive than gang banging, drugs or stealing.

The film reveals that dancing is both a passion and a job, and highlights not only their skills but their spirit.

Between 14th & Bedford: NY Subway Dancers was selected for Tribeca N.O.W., a collaboration between Dazed Digital and the Tribeca Film Festival to showcase the next generation of filmmakers.

See the short film below:

Mollie Mills
[h/t] Complex

+Mollie Mills
+new york city
+Tribeca Film Festival
+W.A.F.F.L.E. dance crew

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