Promoting Dance Through Flash Mobs...
Date added to ADN: Thu,
December 22, 2011
Originally Published: Tue, March 01, 2011
by Melva Smith
(About the Author)
Recently you may have heard a lot about Flash Mobs, as they seem to be gaining popularity with both ballroom and line dancers alike. So what is it that attracts so many to these gatherings of dancers that seem to appear out of no where and dance? Audience surprise is certainly one of them. At a local level, instructor Donna Caudill has been teaching classes for a West Coast Swing Flash Mob at Dance With Steve and Donna Studio; which is located at 181 Cox's Drive in Shepherdsville Ky. According to Donna, she has been receiving quite a large response. We have a huge influx of people form all over Louisville, Radcliff, Elizabethtown, Hodgenville and Southern Indiana join us to learn this great routine," She said.
So, with all the generated excitement, can flash mobs help create a public interest in dancing and perhaps contribute toward reaching our goal of having dance as an Olympic Medal Sport? "I believe dancing should be in the Olympics," said Ira Weisburd, dance choreographer and the brains behind what will likely be one of the largest Flash Mob projects ever. The project involves splicing together clips of videos submitted from around the world to make one large documentary film. "Flash mobs are definitely promoting dancing to the general public. Just the inherent way in which they energize people to learn a routine and perform it in public is a way to generate interest in dancing," Ira said. "For the onlooker, it's entertaining and clearly draws interest. Many who watch flash mob dancing on YouTube or see one up close and personal have expressed interest in taking up classes or participating in a flash mob," he continued. The following will give you an idea of just how well received they are.
This particular project began when Ira started teaching a dance he choreographed called 'Shuffle Boogie," to ballroom dancers. "Apparently it was picked up and taught on a cruise ship by the activity director," A group vacationing on the ship learned the steps and contacted Ira telling him they had been teaching it to a song called Honky Tonk. While searching for the song, Ira ran across Preston Shannon's version of it and decided it was perfect for the dance. Using this version, Ira filmed a group of soul dancers performing his steps to the music and put it on YouTube. "Within just 24 hours I received more than 200 requests from around the world to teach the line dance," Ira exclaimed. The next day he received an e-mail from Preston Shannon and his agent Dr. H. Hanna. Preston was one of the headline acts at the Hannaian.com Treasure Coast Blues Festival, and looking for a way to promote it. Ira had an extensive list of dance contacts available, including dance groups. "I knew that I could get these groups to make videos of the dance once they taught it, especially if it was going to be a part of a world wide project," he said. And that is how the Flash Mob Project was born.
It wasn't long before Ira began to receive 15-20 videos a day. These videos came from 40 different countries across the world. The dance caught on so quickly that its popularity has been compared to The Electric Slide, and is the number one taught line dance in the world. "To date we have received nearly 400 videos in less than 4 months," he said. Ira began to attach human interest stories next to some of the videos. One of the stories received so many responses from viewers world wide, that the Breathe Freely Campaign was created to promote an awareness among dancers about a disability called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. This shows the large impact that flash mobs can have upon reaching the public. The final compilation of the videos is expected to take place early this year, but it won't be the end of the project. "I will be embarking on a Worldwide Workshop tour." Ira exclaimed. "My first stop will be Asia!!" For more information on the Flash Mob Project and to read about the Breathe Freely Campaign visit http://www.hannaian.com/sbsvideos/breathefreely.html.
About the Author:
Melva Gail Smith is a disabled dance enthusiast from Louisville, KY who enjoys promoting the health and social benefits of both dancesport and linedancesport through her writings. Melva has written for USA Dance, as well as various online magazines; and is the inspiration of dance choeographer Ira Weisburd's Breathe Freely Campaign for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness.
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