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Van dance! Art collective seeks cash to buy groove-mobile - Brooklyn Paper

Van dance! Art collective seeks cash to buy groove-mobile

Dance revolution: Cheryl members Sarah Van Buren, Stina Puotiner, Destiny Pierre, and Nick Schiarizzi show how easy it is to do the “Cheryl,” an eponymous, spontaneous line dance that made their arts collective famous.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

If you want to be in on the summer’s biggest dance craze, you’ll need to trust a bunch of bizarre-looking strangers and get in their van.

CHERYL, a Brooklyn-based arts collective, is raising money to purchase a vehicle and a pulsating sound system to throw mobile dance parties — a new take on performance art seemingly designed to intrigue or terrify onlookers.

The troupe’s four-step plan is to park the van in front of a crowd, start grooving on the sidewalk, invite willing participants to enter their vehicle, and then drive off to parts unknown.

“We would basically stop the van, pile out like a clown car and be on the street,” said CHERYL member Sarah Van Buren. “We want to be like some psycho version of the ice cream man. People will hear us coming and say ‘Wait, what the hell is this?’ ”

“We’ll go everywhere, the Home Depot by the Gowanus, outdoor movie screenings, airports — we’ll pick up signs that say: ‘You’ — and get them into the van to take them home,” said CHERYL member Stina Puotinen. “We may also stalk food trucks. We’ll tweet our locations.”

A Taxi and Limousine Commission spokesman said the party van does not appear to violate livery policies since CHERYL is not charging for rides, but urged the dance collective to review city regulations to avoid any unintended conflicts.

The troupe started throwing underground parties since 2008, and has since earned residencies at the Bell House and Littlefield — and just got back from England last week from a month-long tour.

But the costumed foursome needs the help of friends and fans to afford the van, so they started a Kickstarter fund-raising campaign.

Depending on the amount of money that donors fork over, they can receive payback in the form of “crazyvibes” sent from Cheryl members, “I CHERYL NY” SHIRTS, tickets to upcoming parties, homemade meatball dinners, and slumber parties planned by the troupe.

So far, the group has raised $2,303 — just over half their $4,000 goal.

Van Buren said the price is worth a summer of spontaneous movement.

“It’s hard to exist in New York as an artist these days — New York is sort of turning into a police state before our very eyes,” she said. “This is a way of lightening things a bit for everyone involved and remember why we live here.”

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.

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