Friday, January 28, 2011

Flash Mob Rehearsal

Thanks to Facebook I found out that there was going to be a flash mob event right here in Orlando. If you are unfamiliar with Flash Mobs, it basically has people spontaneously break into dance in a public place. There were going to be a few rehearsals for the core group of dancers on the week leading up to the event. I contacted Nao Dance Collective choreographer, Linda Elchak, for details and she invited me to Studio K (12211 Regency Village Drive) to sketch the dancers rehearsing. On the day I went to sketch it was pouring outside. The drive down to the dance studio was treacherous. It was like driving through a waterfall for half an hour. When my truck hit a deep puddle the steering wheel would jerk right, due to the sudden friction. Bright blinding flashes of lightning illuminated the windshield and the wipers could not keep up. High winds kept buffeting the truck. I drove more by instinct rather than sight. My cell phone lit up and I glanced at a text from Terry, "Waiting for the storm to blow over, hope you are safe inside too." The truck hit a deep puddle and I dropped the phone, grabbing the steering wheel to correct.

The dance studio was out in the middle of nowhere down by Disney. I drove till the street ended with some barricades and then I back tracked. I lucked upon the dance studio, which was a warm inviting beacon in the storm. Stepping out of the truck I was sure my tiny portable umbrella would catch a lightning bolt. I ran to the dance studio and stepped inside shaking off the damp and cold. Linda welcomed me immediately and I felt at home. Dancer, Michael Sloan who I have sketched before with DRIP Dance company, also shook my hand. In the dance studio lobby, maybe 30 or so dancers were gathered. I imagined some might have come from the theme parks and some people just answered the call to dance just this once in a public place. Inside the dance studio a ballroom dance lesson was just finishing up. I suddenly realized I would need my stool so I dashed back out into the rain to get it. When I got back the core group was inside assembling for the dance.

A techno version of "The Sun will come out Tomorrow" began to play and the dancers elegantly raised one arm then another as their walked to their marks. An announcer said, "welcome to Orlando." The dance moves were energetic and aerobic. All the moves were straight forward and simple so many people could follow the dance when it gained mass. I followed the movements of the dancer in the green shirt. She didn't just follow the movements, she managed to give meaning to each move and had that extra elusive spark of energy. I saw Linda acknowledge her and soon Linda was shouting at the top of her lungs, "Come on people! Work it! Show me what you got!" The dancers were jumping up and down in place with their hands in the air as the music switched DJ style to "Let the Sun Shine In!" Now everyone was moving with high energy, clapping high, clapping low. I was tapping my feet to the beat fully enjoying the performance, a fantastic energy to sketch too. By the end everyone was flush as they mingled and once again melted into the side lines.

When the heat and bustle of the rehearsal was over, I bundled up and went back outside to the real world to face the storm. There is one more rehearsal tonight at 9 pm at the Mall at Millenia . The Flash Mob is happening tomorrow January 29th at noon in the Mall at Millenia (4200 Conroy Road). I'll be there sketching and who knows, I might just bust a move.

3 comments:

Ryan Price said...

Thor,

Flash mobs are not just about dance. Pillowlando is also a flash mob, as are any of the Zombie parades, Bar crawls, or a few of the events people call "tweet ups".

The basic idea is a group of people who don't know each other all coming together and doing the same thing as though it had not been planned, when in fact the activity was planned on a message board or twitter, etc.

Something that is more staged like the CVB is doing at the mall was popularized by a group called Improv Everywhere and publicized on YouTube. Now corporate interest is taking over. At least some dancers will get paid... :)

Thor said...

Thanks Ryan, I can see I had a narrow vision about flashing. Are the MP3 projects also considered flash mobs?

hamahadeo said...

See you there today! I'll be dancing! Can't wait to see your sketch,you'll have to get it quick :) - Hollie (we met at Orlando Weekly's Best of Orlando)