A group of nearly a hundred Showtime Subway dancers has filed a class action lawsuit seeking workers compensation from the city of New York. The suit represents performers from 35 dance crews including Crown Heights-based Squiggle Head and The Funk Blasters of South Bronx.
Showtime dancing, an art best viewed through side eye, has become a staple of the NYC subway commute. Dancers stick to a grueling performance schedule, magically appearing every time your book starts to get good. They dazzle the crowd with pole flips and a unique style of breakdancing that elicits pity donations, but the suit alleges they have never been given the workers compensation they’re entitled to as public servants.
Injuries are rampant within the industry and something as simple as tripping over the boom box can leave dancers unable to work for months at a time.
Frequent Q-train performer Jizzy- Jay believes the city’s refusal to adequately protect the livelihoods of his colleagues “is bull shit and basically formalizes the historical preference shown towards workers with technically legal occupations.”
Marta Garza, the attorney who represents the performers, hopes a victory will help extend benefits to not only her clients, but other deserving city workers like Times Square Elmo and Naked Cowboy.