Go Deeper

how philly moves (and rocks)

Posted March 7th, 2011

While he himself may only dance under very special circumstances, Festival photographer JJ Tizou has the unique gift of being able to capture Philly moving at its best, most beautiful and most honest self.

I can’t think of a better way to end one’s work day than by getting to discuss JJ’s current project, How Philly Moves, with the man himself. Here are the highlights of what we discussed.


How Philly Moves aims to capture more than simply photos of Philadelphians dancing. While some of the images from the project are getting exposure in the mural, JJ wants to create “a living project and have more people participate.” The photos are merely a relic. As JJ explained, “It is the happening [of the dancing] that serves as a massive affirmation” of all that dance can be and is, whether that might be catharsis or an expression of sheer joy. For example:

“At the time of the shoot I was questioning myself as a dancer/choreographer and what I had to offer the community. The photo shoot with JJ and his team was an affirmation, reinvigorating my creative juices and spirit. The photos that he took of me are GREAT! Thank you JJ.”
-Sheila Zagar

From JJ’s experience as a Live Arts Festival photographer, he began to recognize how much his work really does serve as public art. From seeing his photos posted as the subjects’ Facebook profile pictures to watching the joy in someone’s face at either seeing themselves or a loved one projected on the big screen at the Festival bar, he realized that while he may have been taking the photos, he really was capturing moments for an entire community.

How Philly Moves aims to establish community value, in that even the photo shoots themselves are a time for the community being photographed to share in the creation. (All of the photoshoots are run by JJ and volunteers). Wouldn’t it make sense that the community as a whole should come together to help fund such a project? This is why, as JJ puts it, “Kickstarter rocks.” It is a platform for the community to give a little bit, so that a lot can be achieved.

Watch the video below. Donate. Dance. Move.

“This piece makes me love everyone and want to be a better person. Whatever I have paid in, it’s not enough. Fabulous work, JJ.”
–Paige Moore

-Molly Weingart