mane dance off the main concourse


This week, thirty horses are taking over Grand Central Station.

Twice a day, they are coming to life to perform a choreography, captivating young and old.

The first part of HEARD NY is more like a parade, where the horses do their best to show off. The students of the Ailey School that have been selected to “embody” the horses, try to give each one of them a specific personality. Some do the perfect trot. Others only seem to want to wiggle their behind. The scene goes accompanied by a live harp.

And then, without warning, drums take over and lift the performance to a frantic up-beat tempo.

The horses “break up” and each dancer starts an African-like dance, synchronized, but individually.

Bizarre to see a horse shake off its rear part and become a two-legged creature. The rear of the horse, that suddenly starts to lead its own life, made me think of long-haired Cousin Itt of The Addams Family.

Nick Cave, the creator of this performance (not the musician-songwriter!), wanted to create a dreamlike vision that would stop the thousands of commuters in their rush to catch a train. It’s also supposed to be a pop-up performance that surprises by its content as well by its location. It’s true that a bunch of horses doing their routine in Grand Central is a most uncommon sight.

But the spectacle is limited to two confined areas in Vanderbilt Hall, was widely announced by the media (lucky for me!), and drew a big crowd. This way, unfortunately, the elements of “surprise” or “vision” don’t seem to come through. I would like to imagine a different scenario: I am walking through the main concourse of Grand Central, and all of a sudden I hear the rustle of raffia, I turn around and find myself eye to eye with this enigmatic creature,…

But do not hesitate! If you come anywhere near Grand Central, make sure to go and see these colorful horses. Even between performances they’re there, resting on a trestle, …yes, an easel.


Vanderbilt Hall Grand Central Station Daily performances at 11am and 2pm, till March 31


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