NY Dance Community: Rami Shafi

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Meet Rami Shafi, the founder and director of Pedestrian Wanderlust, a group creating a video portrait series of dancers doing improvised dance in public spaces. In addition to the video portraits, all created using minimal equipment and the artist’s spur of the moment decisions, Pedestrian Wanderlust also provides free public dance jams in an effort to bring communities together through dance.

Rami grew up as a part of the dance world in Orlando, Florida and moved to NYC after college to pursue his dance career. After a hamstring injury forced him to take a break from dance, Rami turned to documenting and videography as a way to stay involved in the dance community. Pedestrian Wanderlust was born after Rami filmed one of his friends doing improv in the streets of NYC. Rami was captivated and inspired by the individuality that the viewer was able to see as an artist improvised movement. This video became the first video in the portrait series and since then, Pedestrian Wanderlust has filmed over 150 dancers.

Rami met Kunle Oladehin, EDN!’s executive director, on Shapr, a networking app, and instantly loved the idea of bringing dance to schools where students were not exposed to dance or did not have the opportunity or access to take classes. Rami and Pedestrian Wanderlust are working with EDN! to donate 10% of all Pedestrian Wanderlust sales and donations to EDN! to support the growth of EDN!’s programing and provide access to dance to more students.

In the future, Rami hopes to take Pedestrian Wanderlust overseas and expand the network of dancers involved to be international and cross-cultural. In the meantime, Rami is focused on expanding his “movement movement” using dance and improvisation to bring communities together while also allowing dancers to express their individuality through movement.