Everyday people: Finding the music after the quake

"I thought about leaving Christchurch but I was born here."

Mason Joseph Hurrell is sitting beside me on the "dance floor" — taking a break. He and his friends have come to dance in this vacant lot, where once a building stood before it was turned to rubble.

The February 2011 earthquake destroyed much of downtown Christchurch, and killed 185 people.

"There were bodies in the street, lined up, in the street," says Mason.

They were covered with sheets, and waiting to be taken away. It was overwhelming, and the city was in chaos.

He stayed, because it slowly got better. The after shocks finally stopped and he sees the city rebuilding now.

And in this rebuilding, dancing is encouraged.

The "Dance-O-Mat" is part of a citywide art and installation to "green" the rubble and celebrate creativity as well as pay hommage to the fallout and dead.

Dance-O-Mat sits in this vacant lot of a ruined building and a damaged one. Cranes operate across the street. Down the road, the 1904 cathedral is being repaired as the central point, and there's a building beside them with what looks like the end ripped off.

There's a dance floor with a disco ball. And a washing machine. Slip in a $2 coin and hook up your iPod or phone or whatever and the transformed washer will play your music on the loudspeaker.

His friends Yvonne Ivy Tinilawu, Grayson Farrant and Lusharnia Wihapi-Shaw were here practicing their hip hop moves.

"I had this idea to start a dance group," says Yvonne. They come a lot, to get out and do something they love.

They dance, because "It makes you feel good," says Yarshinia.

They test out their moves, and laugh when they miss a step or Mason's hat flies off in a flip.

Anyone is welcome to come here and shake it, bust a move or do a shuffle. Here, in resurrecting Christchurch, the do-it-yourself dancefloor is always open. 3 PM or 3 AM.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Mason goes to do his cartwheel move and says, "Ok. Tell me when to go."
I tell him he can go anytime. He asks if I will get it.
"Yeah! Hey! I'm a professional here. I know what I'm doing!" We laugh.
He goes.
They run over to see the results.
Yeah, I got you. :-)