A founding member of the flashy dance troupe says "anyone can do this."
Jay Roselius is always having fun.
Even folks who don’t know him by name will recognize Roselius due to his outlandish outfits. (When PW sat down with Roselius, he was clad in a neon yellow shirt, which peeked through the collar of a fuschia, blue, green and orange sweater with a shimmering turquoise baseball hat.) Philly’s own version of Party Steve—the hipster icon famous for his party-all-the-time lifestyle—Roselius dons absurd and flashy clothing and cruises around the city to shows, art openings and parties, looking for fun and infectious dance beats.
The Jersey native moved to New Brunswick in 2001 and was later one of many budding young artists and musicians who moved from New Brunswick to Philadelphia in 2004.
He lived in Athenaeum, a now-defunct artist collective where more than 60 young people worked on creative projects. An active musician, Roselius spent much of his time at the Athenaeum in various assortments of bands like Buzzard or The Bumpin’ Uglies. He formed The Celebs with Jen Rice as an excuse to employ a catchy band name. Dressed in glittery outfits, the duo played actively at basement shows and galleries. On songs like “A Diamond is Whatever,” they create new personas and the performances are done with the sole purpose of amusing themsevles, Roselius says.
These days, most of Roselius’ free time goes to Club Lyfestile, a dance troupe recognizable for their tight-fitting neon outfits and gobs of glittery makeup. The team wields glow-sticks, neon wigs and plastic light sabers while doing cartwheels and over-the-top dance moves at local clubs.
The ragtag group of artists, dancers and fun-lovers varies in numbers, but performances usually involve 10 or 15 members. The group exploded a few years ago at Adventure Island, a huge industrial space in Port Richmond that Roselius, along with other ex-Athenaeum inhabitants, began after the Athenaeum eviction.
Club Lyfestile grew from an impulse to go out dancing and suddenly have a flashmob of people doing the same strange moves at the same time. They wanted to surprise an audience with a choreographed dance performance.
Their first performance, at the Adventure Island warehouse in 2006, was “totally hilarious,” Roselius says. “Everyone loved it.”
It has since morphed into a collective that blows up dance floors with tribal poppy beats, narrative dances and ornate handmade costumes. The group has become more recognizable over the years—they had a recurring stint at the Barbary’s monthly Live Forever party—but Roselius admits they’re still making it up as they go along. With a grin he says, “We still don’t know what we’re doing. Anyone can do this.”
Though their final performance at the Barbary was in January, the troupe still performs at various clubs and parties in Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore. According to Roselius, Club Lyfestile is currently preparing for the summer, when they’ll embark on their fourth cross- country tour, performing everywhere from tiny living rooms to huge clubs to outdoor festivals.
Additionally, Roselius still practices with the Celebs and will participate in a huge Grateful Dead cover band performing on April 20 at an undetermined warehouse in North Philadelphia.
He’s constantly busy, throwing himself into any project or collaboration that sounds like a good time and cooking up a bunch of new music for Club Lyfestile. But one thing remains certain: Wherever Roselius is, that’s where the party’s at.
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