#195: Dance Break

July 26th, 2013

A short-brimmed fedora can also be called a “trilby.”

The three men standing by the potted trees in the little courtyard with the pigeon-covered Sioux on a horse at Michigan and Congress were all wearing them.

And one two three, all the trilbies started to nod.

A blast of music came from a boombox perched by one of the tree pots and the three sprung to action.

Below their short-brimmed hats, the men were wearing slim-fitting suit pants and vests. They moved in unison, springing on toes, sliding to the slide, slipping and moving around with liquid grace.

Then they would stop.

Then one would turn off the jukebox.

Then the three would walk over to a camera on a short tripod and watch the film, commenting on what to do differently and what to do exactly the same.

Then they would retake places and press play on the boombox.

And one two three, all the trilbies started to nod.

No one, I should mention, was watching them. Yes, the tourists and passersby would stare over at them, but no onlooker would break stride to watch the men as their trilby nods became perfectly synchronized launches onto their toes, then sliding side-wise to the beat.

The three men danced in that courtyard, empty but for a pigeon-covered statue of a Sioux on a horse. They moved as one during their number and even after when they would break with the same precision. The same short one would always turn off the boombox. The same skinny one with the dreadlocks down to the small of his back would always retrieve the camera. The same not-short, not-dreadlocked one would always stand in the back with his arms crossed and a look of concentration that bordered on anger when they would review the video.

Movement Revolution, I found they were called when I talked to them. Dance crew from the South Side. They were shooting a video. Pretty obvious, in retrospect.

It’s a great spot for a video, the dreadlocked one said. Beautiful view. Movement Revolution. I should look them up online.

I thanked and turned away. A few feet north, I heard a blast of music and knew the trilbies were nodding.

Comment on this story

Read about another weird musical encounter

Watch Movement Revolution at work

Update, Aug. 20: Watch the completed video, courtesy Movement Revolution

What's this?

You are currently reading #195: Dance Break by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

  • Get Stories by Email

  • Chicago Corruption Walking Tour

    Join the email list for tour dates and info.