Flipping The Script: Sign Spinning

. 2 minute read

Cool or not, there’s a wave of kids starting their careers in a mind-blowing fusion of street dance and sandwich board work – it seems a new phenomenon called sign spinning is taking over and the kerbs are no longer the place they used to be in America. Has a lost youth seen the sign it was looking for, and run with it?

They are employed to market businesses to passing traffic and pimp out everything from hair salons to mattress stores, but in the process they’re succeeding in glorifying a once menial task. Why? It pays, it’s outdoors, and it’s fun.

To watch at least! Athletic and talented, young people are attending sign spinning schools, taking part in professional competitions aka ‘world championships’ with big $5000 prizes, featuring on tv talk shows like Ellen, and generally earning a decent living by dancing with signs, street-side. It’s an odd job that pays upwards of $9ph, usually a lot more upwards, and way more than working at a burger joint.

As cars whizz past, they put their spinning skills to the test, treating four foot signs like size five basketballs.

It’s strenuous on the fingertips but a feast for the eyes. Their moves are hardcore, almost acrobatic, taken from the b-boys of breakdancing, and remade into their own signature tricks. Sometimes, deep in the Californian suburbs, groups of these guys come together to battle it out, showcasing everything from insane freestyle solos to synchronised partner work and choreographed group dances.

They take human billboards to the next level, to a weird level of dope, and the incessant honking of cars as they perform is at least some kind of proof. How many products actually get bought? Who knows? Who cares. American sign makers, Daft Signs, have put together a beautiful video, aptly scored to a Daft Punk single, to help people understand – it may seem like a daft pastime, but it’s so good it’s daft.

At a Los Angeles park in North Hollywood, a group of talented individuals come together in a synthesis of sign spinning and street dance:

Directed by Nicolas Randall and Joe Stevens. Created by Randall Stevens Industries.