Hope and Wonder with WAFFLE NYC Subway Athletes

Posted on February 25, 2017 by Dr. Lynda

Anything is possible in New York City, and not surprisingly, it seems some of their most remarkable and athletic entertainers can be found in the subways!

Image: WAFFLE NYC dancers in a city street
Source: WAFFLE NYC // Facebook

Today here on EWC’s Saturdays Around the World, we take you to a place in NYC famous for the unexpected: the subway.

And there we will enjoy the work of some fabulous dancers with enough perseverance to inspire a whole trainload of us to follow our own passions. They call themselves WAFFLE NYC, We Are Family For Life Entertainment. The inspiration for their name came from hearing the Sister Sledge song We Are Family.

The way they take their innate kinetic energy and spread it through a subway car is mesmerizing.

Image: WAFFLE dancers jumping in the subway
Source: WAFFLE NYC // Facebook

And why dance in the subway cars? Here’s what their Facebook page tells us:

Many of the members knew each other in their mid teens through weekly LiteFeet battle events but were in different crews, from 5 different boroughs, at the time. On their way downtown to these events, they would perform on the subway to be able to pay the entrance fee. You wouldn’t win anything but it was a way to gain exposure in the neighborhood/NYC boroughs. 1

LiteFeet is an underground dance style that originated in Harlem in 2005 and recognizable for the use of props such as sneakers, baseball caps, and very quick foot movements.

First up, a quick look at one group of dancers who are trying to make their way in the world in an innovative way.

This is a pure celebration of something special inside these athlete/artists.

With some research, I found that one of the founding principles of WAFFLE is to become a positive influence on everyone.

That’s admirable. OK, now let’s get a solid look at their work and perspectives:

There’s a lot of wonder there, huh?

And as always, I just could not just wrap this up without finding us a little more to ponder when it comes to the perspectives and aspirations of these young thought-leaders.

Here’s an amazing look into their world:

There’s such a sense of connection in that piece. What a wonderful opportunity to understand a little about their struggles.

Now, at the end of that second video, we saw an example of the complexity these dancers face when it comes to avoiding law enforcement officers.

Turns out that for the past several years, the NYC police have been cracking down on performers in the subway. Here’s one last video that sheds some light on that challenge and gives us a more of a personal look at these artists:

Thanks for taking this little journey with us!

Even if you don’t ever have the opportunity to see these dancers, we hope this small window into their world opens a window of opportunity for the rest of us.

Breaking “the rules”…

What does it mean to defy convention?

I can see the public safety aspect of this, but can breaking the rules when it comes to artistic expression expand us all? There’s a risk/benefit ratio that needs to be considered here in a big way.

Is it worth taking a little risk with safety, to enjoy the benefits of having all these artists doing something novel and healthy with their talents?

Maybe what makes WAFFLE so special is that it takes something we have all seen before, dance, and brings it to an entirely new place. We are left a little speechless if some surprising wonder like this happens right before our eyes because, in all ways, it makes the familiar so very unfamiliar.

Image: Acrobatic dancing on a subway in NYC
Source: The Waffle life // YouTube

Maybe if the mass media celebrated the work of young people like this more often, it would make it easier for others to imagine and shape the infinite possibilities out there. To inspire the future we have to applaud what’s possible in the present.

What creative marvels are among us as we speak that will shift our perspectives in entirely new ways? I’m not sure, but I’m excited to see them!

Stay open, curious and optimistic!

~ Dr. Lynda

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