The Dance Cartel’s OnTheFloor event is reminiscent of the once-great GH20GOTH1k. This dance troupe – which includes NYU students who are often decked out in face paint, neon spandex and bunny ears – performs choreographed routines to afro-Brazilian music and old school hip-hop, while favoring the Ace Hotel over various Brooklyn warehouses.
“It’s like during freshman year how you always wanted to go to a club, and it’s never as satisfying as you want it to be,” said production manager and Tisch junior Arielle Gonzalez. “But [OnTheFloor] is the satisfying version of that.”
NYU alum Ani Taj Neimann founded The Dance Cartel and the OnTheFloor event, which she choreographs, co-directs and dances in. OnTheFloor began in June, after a successful Kickstarter campaign helped the troupe raise enough money to begin a weekly residency at the Ace Hotel.
The event itself combines qualities of a hip-hop show (beatboxing, “dougie-ing”), with the percussion elements of a rock show, as well as interpretive dance — all flourished with electronic music and multicolored lights. There is no stage – the choreographed routine intermingles with the audience, while constantly moving to different areas of the dance floor.
“I feel like The Dance Cartel creates its own kind of dance style,” Gonzalez said. “It’s what people dancing in the clubs want to be able to do if you had enough space, it’s totally what you’re rocking out in your bedroom doing.”
Unlike a Brooklyn rave where there are virtually no rules, The Dance Cartel requests – in the nicest way possible – that attendees please comply with all seven. The venue posts such “House Rules” on the walls, which range from “If you want to dance, dance. If you want to jump, jump. If you want to sit over there, that’s lame but fine. If a body is flying toward you, get out the way,” to “Get off your phone unless you’re Tweeting about us or taking our picture. Maybe put it on silent.”
Tuesday nights may be the most random night of the week to go out, but The Dance Cartel makes the night feel like the most innovative of Manhattan happy hours, as it ends at 10:30pm.
“This is my third time [at OnTheFloor] and I keep coming back because I have a blast every time, and I cannot wipe the smile off my face,” said hairstylist Kathryn Gardner. “I’ve never been to anything that’s this interactive and this fun that’s also like a club scene at the same time.”
The DJs added sped-up and electronic beats to songs by Azealia Banks, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Notorious B.I.G, Zebra Katz and Cali Swag District, which enticed the crowd to dance (but not as vigorously as the troupe). Certainly a handful of guests followed rule number six, which suggested “maybe you’ll go home with your heels in your hands.”
OnTheFloor takes place every Tuesday in Liberty Hall at the Ace Hotel. Doors open at 8:15pm, and the event goes from 9pm to 10:30pm. See The Ace Hotel website for more info.
Photos by Lizzie Azran