Sunday, May 23, 2010

Homage to Flash Mobs

by Donna MacMeans

I've been really taken by the spontaneous dance videos that are popping up all over the internet. I'm sure you've seen some of these. They all start the same way - a crowd of people milling about, doing what a crowd does. Suddenly music is broadcast, someone starts to break out in dance - then more people join in doing the same choreographed moves. When the music stops, the crowd disperses. I love it! I want to be in a flash mob dance.

Here's one of my favorites (for many reasons). One - the venue is my alma mater, Ohio State University. They just opened a new student union (which, in my opinion, looks a lot like a shopping mall). Jordan Davis organized the flash mob and the Jordan is (Two) from my home town. Man - if only she would have called. They let the old geezer University President in the video (he's the one accompanying Brutus Buckeye, the school's mascot) so surely they could have found a place for me (grin). (Three) I believe in this song - Don't Stop Believing and (Four) I love the Glee version.

Here's the flash mob video. BTW, it took two months of secret rehearsals to coordinate the seventy student dancers.

It makes you smile doesn't it? Just in case it doesn't load right - here's the link:
I read that the whole phenom started with a "spontaneous" pillow fight in a public venue. That was followed by a public freeze for five minutes in Paris. The music and dance adds a much better component, plus the songs are always so upbeat. Here's another one that makes me want to sing along.

Were you singing? (Were you dancing?)

Here's another video to get you moving. The Black Eyed Peas singing "I've got a feeling." The performance was to kick off Oprah's 24th(?) season - but she didn't know about the flash mob. Do you see that crazy girl in the front dancing like crazy? That would be me (grin) - no - that's not me in the video, but I'd be the crazy one dancing when everyone else stood still. Sometimes the music just gets in you.

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So how about you? Are you a flash mob fan? Have you ever been in a flash mob video? Want to? It's a kick-back Sunday so let's have some fun.


Unknown said...

Mine today!

Donna MacMeans said...

Yay Virginia! Maybe you and the rooster can make your own flash video! He does strut a mean feather.

Unknown said...

Cool Video's Donna! I have never seen this done before but I loved it! I think I could spend a day just watching! Thanks for sharing! I could see our dear rooster right up in the middle of them!

Jane said...

Hi Donna,
I have seen the Black Eyed Peas one on Oprah. I don't purposefully seek out these flash mob videos, but I do watch them when I come across them on YouTube. I'm not sure I would want to be in a flash mob video, I don't think I have the right moves.

Congrats on the GR, Virginia.

Christine Wells said...

Hey Donna, we should do one of these at National! Love them! I think the Sound of Music one was cleverest because of the way they added people from the crowd so cleverly.

Yay, Virginia gets the rooster!

Anna Sugden said...

Congrats, Virginia!

I LOVE these videos, Donna - they brighten my day whenever a new one comes along. We had a couple over here that were used in the TMobile TV ads - one in Liverpool Street Railway Station and one in Trafalgar Square.

I also really like the one of the prisoners in Thailand doing the Thriller Dance (one of my bucket list things is to learn that dance!). *sigh* I've always wanted to be a dancer, since the days of Hot Gossip, and all those old musicals and 'dance' movies. (John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever!)

I'm with you - I could be part of one of these things. I love dancing. I was even boogying doing the weeding yesterday with my iPod.

Helen said...

Well done Virginia have fun with him


That is the first time I have seen these and they were great I loved them I liked The Sound of Music one and yes I was singing along although not dancing but the foot was tapping LOL.
I don't think they have done these in Oz or because I always am reading and not watching TV I have missed them but I will be keeping an eye out for them.

They were great thanks Donna

Have Fun

Kim in Baltimore said...

If we had a flash mob dance in Hawaii, they would hula to Izzy singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (not my favorite song but an anthem to the Hawaiian people).

I welcome the Cabana Boys to join us in the hula ... I'll drape them in native dress!

Gillian Layne said...

Never heard of this term before in my life, but how cool! I was bouncing in my seat to Don't Stop Believing--such good memories to go along with that song. What a fun Sunday morning post. :)

Anna Sugden said...

Oh Donna - that OSU one is AWESOME! I'm another one who uses that as my theme song - I'll be dancing to it when I sell!

Here's the Liverpool Street flash mob. (BTW, that's one of the stations we use to get into London).

Don't you just love the old dear with the shopping bag?!

And, there is another cool one with Jamie Oliver (the TV Chef and the Marshall students).

Gannon Carr said...

I love flash mobs! I think they are so much fun--you just can't help smiling!

My 10-year-old daughter and I just sat here and watched all of them and bopped along. The faces of the people in the crowd in the train station are priceless. And I absolutely love Oprah's expression--"that's the coolest thing ever!" Yes, it is!

Thanks, Donna for starting my day off right. Love music, love to dance. *g*

Virginia, you and the GR should make a video and post it here. LOL

Donna MacMeans said...

Virginia -

There's a bunch more out on youtube. There's a flash mob of 100 ladies doing Beyonce's Put a ring on it that's cool, but I couldn't find a good clear video.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Jane -

I bet you'd be great. Let's face it, in a crowd - say like that Oprah one - no one is going to notice the one in the middle of the fray. The moves look pretty basic and easy - the trick would be remembering the order of them. I think it's a lot like doing an aerobics class, but more fun.

Donna MacMeans said...

Christine -
I agree! What song do you think? DON'T STOP BELIEVING is certainly appropriate. The stop has to be upbeat. A flash mob doing a more dramatic song would be a bit much (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Anna -

I saw several videos on my hunt in Trafalgar square (or maybe it was the same video taken from different angles), Piccadilly Circus seemed to be a popular site too. The organizers must have liked all the neon ads in the background.

I wonder what you have to do to organize one of these things? Do you need a flash mob permit?

Donna MacMeans said...

Yes, my dear, they have done these in Oz - or one at least. I saw a video of one in Sydney. It was a long street, music started playing and groups and people at intervals would step off the sidewalk and start dancing. The music was a medley, and I remember THRILLER was a small part of it. But I like the one song approach better than the medley.

I wonder if Michael Jackson started it all with his THRILLER dance? The advent of youtube and and short videos gave everyone a media outlet. See you too could organize a flash mob dance!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Kim -

I never placed SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW with Hawaii, but it sure fits! Nope - I think you need something peppier - I want to see those hips shake!
Love the idea of an all male group in leis and leaves. Hmmm...maybe something with fire (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Gillian - Aren't they fun! I'd seen them occasionally, but the fact that one was filmed so close to my house seemed to resonate. Hey - come to think of it - my books are in the library in that new student union. They have a collection of books written by OSU alumni. I know I'm not the only romance author in it - Karen Harper is in that collection as well.

I use "Defying Gravity" from WICKED as inspirational music as well. That song might be a bit too dramatic for a flash mob...I know - it would be performed in the air ala Cirque de Soleil!

Donna MacMeans said...

Gannon - Aren't they fun! Are you going to Orlando? We should plot via the internet and stage a flash dance on the walkway between the Swan and the Dolphin. might be a problem...Wonder what the Black Eyed Peas are doing?

Donna MacMeans said...

Anna -

That's one that really pulled in the bystanders, didn't it. I prefer the single song over the medley. Just as you get into the song and the dance in the medley, they change the music! But that one was fun because the dance steps were so basic. Who can't twist? Dancing in the Street would make a great song for a flash Mob.

With so many flash mob videos taken in London, it must be an exciting place to be!

Deb said...

Donna, I've never seen one of these videos before nor heard about the phenom. How fun! My fave is "The Sound of Music" video because TSOM is my all-time fave movie and I love how high Julie Andrews gets on the last do note!

If there were to be a mob flash dance here, it would be UI's Fight Song. Go Hawks! (Sorry, Donna, couldn't resist since you're an OSU alum.)

Deb said...

Oops, I had it backwards, it's flash mob, hahaha.

Donna MacMeans said...

Deb - Hey flash mob, mob flash - it's all the same!

Did you see the dancers in the OSU video give the O-H-I-O cheer as they exited the dance floor?

I think all the big ten schools should put together videos. Then they can show them up on the big screens at the stadiums during the games.

Actually, for PR purposes, that's not a bad idea. I noticed OSU got quite a bit of press out of this piece. I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot more of college based flash mob dance videos pop up.

Kirsten said...

Oh Donna, I loved the Ohio State video! I've seen several of these and just love them. I would be horrible at it, but I would definitely be the goofy girl at the front grinning like crazy the whole time.

Thanks for giving me a good smile this morning. I'm headed off to BEA and terrified that I'll be a huge bust. So Don't Stop Believing came in really handy!!

jo robertson said...

Great post, Donna!

Congratulations, Virginia. I wonder how the rooster would look in a flash mob vid with all his crazy relatives?

I love those flash videos, Donna. In fact, I didn't even know that's what they were until you wrote this blog.

They're so cool!

Louisa Cornell said...

Yay, Virginia! Teach the GR the Thriller dance! Now that WOULD be frightening!

What fun, Donna! I love this sort of thing. With the world we live in anytime I see a large group of people dancing and singing together outside of a show it cheers my heart.

Too bad people don't do more of this. I have long been a believer that music is one of those rare things that brings people together and shows us how very much we have in common.

I've never participated in a flash mob video. However, when I was in high school our band and choirs went to the National Music Festival and Competition at Opryland. There were special DJ'ed events and live concerts just for us and one night KC and the Sunshine Band performed. Just picture thousands of high school musicians at an outside pavilion suddenly breaking out into the electric slide. We had a ball !

Gannon Carr said...

Are you going to Orlando? We should plot via the internet and stage a flash dance on the walkway between the Swan and the Dolphin.

I'll be there, Donna! That would be too funny!

Donna MacMeans said...

Good Luck Kirsten!!!

I think all your fears are for naught - you are a star, bandita, and we're all pulling for you. Be sure to give us a report on the BEA!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Jo -

I guess the "flash" part came as they're quick and then gone - like a flash flood. There was one video held at some college to publicize the opening of their small college. The newspaper must have been alerted as this guy is walking around asking the students why they're all standing around. Then music starts and the same students who denied knowledge of the event jumped and started dancing.

I think once you learn the moves, though, and practice - it would be hard not to do the routine whenever the song started playing.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I had never heard of this! How cool! I liked them all but agree the single song packs more punch.

Oprah's face was amazing to watch when she realized what was happening. She lit up like a Christmas tree.

Anna I watched the Jamie Oliver thing in Huntington, the whole story was there along with the flash mob dance, I was in tears.

Donna MacMeans said...

LOL Louisa - I can just the GR's wings flapping up into the classic MJ clawed growl. We know he can strut.

Oh - Magic Carpet Ride just started playing on the TV - that would make a good flash song. Nice beat.

Just wanted to add a sigh about the Opryland hotel. Cool that you saw it when it was great. I'm certain that they'll bring it back - better than ever - but it's going to take some time. That electric slide must have been fantastic with all the kids involved.

Louisa - I think you'd be great in a flash mob. We know you can keep the beat! LOL - And you'd love it - that's important. Hmmm...coming to Orlando?

Karyn Gerrard said...

Well, this is a new one on me, where have I been?? thanks for the video Donna!

Unfortunately, if I were to organize one here in my very small town, it would be with the bear and the deer. With a few coyotes and moose thrown in. *snort*
Yep, I live in Twin Peaks.


Tiffany Clare said...

I love flash mobs. I think they are so much fun. Would love to watch, maybe participate :) They put a smile on everyone's face.

Donna MacMeans said...

Dianna -

I had to jump over to google to check out the Jamie Oliver video. That's like a "flash stirfry" LOL. Here's the link:

I liked how there were those guys standing on the sidelines, then suddenly they pull an apron from their pockets and join in. That was cool. It's hard to watch one of these and not start smiling.

Glad you liked the Oprah video. I liked how she was filming it on her phone. One thing about these flash videos - for the good ones, I think you need several cameras so you can change up the angles for the video. There's a lot of videos that cover the same flash mob event and it's easy to sort the amateur video from the edited ones...sort of like a book (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Gannon - I put you on my super secret list of folks we might have to draft to pull off a flash mob. You never know....

Donna MacMeans said...

Karyn - Too funny - I suppose it would be hard to teach a moose to bust a move. Wasn't there a youtube video about a parrot that could dance? could happen. Disney could do it (grin).

We need to bring you into civilization! Or you could crank up the music, dance around outside and see what happens. The deer might join in!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Tiffany - Cool Cover BTW!

Another one who would like to participate (ding, ding, ding). So we have dancers - we need choreographers.

Terri Osburn said...

I've seen all those except the Oprah one. That really was the coolest thing ever! How did they do that? Amazing.

I love these things and I'd love to be in one. Count me in for the Bandita Mob in Orlando. LOL!

Nancy said...

Donna, I'm smiling at these videos. I'd seen the Antwerp one but not the others. Some good-lookin' kids go to your alma mater.

As with so many things that appear spontaneous, though, these must've had a lot of planning and rehearsal. Very cool!

Virginia, congrats on the rooster.

Donna MacMeans said...

All right! Adding Terri to the list. I figured you'd be in Orlando for sure.

I hadn't seen the Oprah one either, Terri - until I started looking for ones to put on the blog. Who can resist Black-Eyed Peas? Plus it's a good song to start a day.

Hmm...that's what I should do - set up a playlist of songs to start the day to rev up the energy.

I was going to use the Beyonce song with the 100 ladies in leotards and high heels, but the best video was in black and white. I think that was done for a cell phone company commercial.

Donna MacMeans said...

Nancy -

There's a group of dancers in Stockholm that travel around and stage these flash mobs all over. I think I liked the OSU one because I knew those were students - not professional dancers - but it still took two months of practice to pull it off.

Still we are mature women. We're not teenagers with limited attention skills. We aren't tempted to do complex steps. Heck - moving in one direction on cue might be our limit (grin) but wouldn't it be cool to try?

Pissenlit said...

Gah! I was intending on commenting a bit earlier but I got caught up watching YouTube videos! They're so helpful in providing related videos in case it just so happens that you'd like to watch some more.

I love watching flash mob videos but only when they're done properly. A lot of supposed flash mobs are all mob and no flash. You're supposed to sort of sneak in and show up and afterwards, disappear...not hang around and cheer and pat yourself on the back for pulling it off. It's somewhat less awesome when they do that. *grin*

I think it'd probably be loads of fun to be in a flash mob but I don't think I could be a part of one that includes dancing. Me and choreography don't always work out so well. :)

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Donna!

I LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE the OSU flash mob! Put it on my facebook after you sent it to us!! And the dancers weren't just doing the O-H-I-O cheer at the end, at one point you could see the hand gestures about half way through. (Yeah, I've watched it that many times! hehehe)

The first one I saw was the Sound Of Music one, I think in Munich. Too fun.

Donna MacMeans said...

Pissenlit -

It is easy to get caught up in all the related videos, isn't it? I agree - I like it best when dancers show up, do their thing, and then blend back into the background - leaving bystanders to wonder what the heck did they just see. I like the ones too, where you think you're seeing a bewildered bystander - and then they march into the middle of things and start dancing.

However, if I were to participate in something like that - it would be hard for me to fade into the crowd like nothing had happened. For one thing - I'd be grinning like an idiot. Can't say I blame the participants for exchanging congratulations - especially if they aren't professionals.

I think I could do the moves - as long as they were simple. Heck - I've learned to do the dances in zumba class, I could learn to do this (grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Suzanne - Cool idea about uploading to facebook. I'm going to learn to actually use that social medium one of these days.

I knew you'd be a fan. Nope - didn't notice that they did the OHIO cheer part way through - but it makes sense. You can throw your arms up in the air and most people wouldn't recognize that it's an "H" or an "I" or an "O". I'm going to have to go back and listen to that specifically...once my husband finishes watching this golf match. Somehow "Don't Stop Believeing" doesn't blend well with some guy whispering..."He's approaching the green..."

Terri Osburn said...

Donna - Wouldn't a Bandita Mob be a routine to Funky Chicken?

*runs away*

Donna MacMeans said...

LOL Terri - too funny! I should do a google search to see what other "fowl" songs I can find.

Caren Crane said...

Virgina, congrats on the GR coming back home to roost. *g*

Donna, I LOVE the flash mob dances and I want to be in one, too. I think we should totally organize one in NYC at the RWA conference next year. That would be so awesome!!

Donna MacMeans said...

Caren - That would give us sufficient time to practice, right? I can so see us doing this - rooster and all. Not sure I could wear my hat, though.

Hey - maybe we'd have to plan a meeting or two before then to practice - that would be cool.

I wonder if Skype could work to our advantage with this?

Caren Crane said...

Louisa, you'll grin to hear what my Girl Scouts did this afternoon. We gathered at one my co-leader's houses to have a Court of Awards and party. When the weather cleared, the girls walked over to the next street and went to the neighborhood pool. Another co-leader and I lagged behind, cleaning up and talking to parents.

Well, when we drove over to the pool, I encountered a dad and his son arriving just as the black clouds were once again rolling in and the thunder started. I said, "We'd better get the girls out of the pool."

The dad said, "Oh, were those your girls? They were walking up the street singing songs. I told my 16-yr-old daughter she should go and join them!"

We told him we always have room for more singers. *g* So, apparently the whole neighborhood was treated to Girl Scout songs. And these girls are all 14 - 17 and they are not at all afraid of people knowing they are Girl Scouts. That was too cute!

Caren Crane said...

Donna, I think the search for the right song could take months. We'd have to get Cassondra on that. Then there's the choreography - me and Trish with some other help?

I think Skype could help us, but we would probably need to have someone make a video and send it around so we could all practice and THEN meet the weekend before the conference in NYC (starting early, just as Fo likes it) so we can practice in person.

Man, that could be profoundly cool...

Donna MacMeans said...

Caren -

I think all ages of girls like to sing in a group. They all love to sing and there's safety in numbers. I can remember walking around campus with my roommates singing at OSU.

Now boys like to sing too, but there songs tend to be different (grin). I remember taking my pack of cub scouts out hiking in this one touristy sort of area. They marched along, single file, along the bed of this tiny stream singing at the top of their lungs. The song had a military cadence and they were really cute. I doubt they would have done it as teenageres.

Donna MacMeans said...

Caren - you have this all worked out! No problems with us going to NY a few days early. In fact, I think we should all go to a Broadway show en masse for a little inspiration!

jo robertson said...

I had to come back just to watch those vids again, Donna. They're addictive!

And very exciting in a we-are-the-world kind of way!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Jo -

I just played the Oprah one for my daughter - she hadn't seen it so we're singing "Tonight's gonna be a good night!" here.

I told her about our discussion in the comments about staging a flash mob for RWA. She says quote: That would be so funny seeing all those old ladies dancing.

Excuse me...Old? Okay - I could see that for me. I am her mother and I do otherwise qualify - but not every author is old, thank you very much. We so have to do this just to show the world it can be done.

Unknown said...

OMG Donna! That is the coolest thing EVER!

I would LOVE to be in one of those. But let's be honest--I'd never make the rehearsals. I can't even find time to clean my HOUSE!

I cannot watch stuff like that without smiling the whole time. It started with that wedding dance that took the internet by storm and now THIS! I love it that it's gone global.

What an awesome blog!

Virginia, WOOOOOT on the rooster!

Donna MacMeans said...

Cassondra - They are fun! And don't forget - we know where you live. We'd get you to rehearse. (Of course, after your last blog - knowing where you live doesn't cut it anymore as you're rarely there!) But we'd keep it simple and have you come in late.

BTW - I don't clean my house anymore either - not that I miss it. What I do miss is that I have no time for gardening either. I usually have window boxes in my upstairs windows and baskets of annuals adding color to the shadier places - but not this year. Not with deadlines (sigh). One day...when I win the lottery ..I'm going to hire a gardener. I miss my flowers (but at least I have my flash videos).

s7anna said...

Omigosh! These are just BRILLIANT! Thank you so much for posting them...I even showed them to my Mum...I totally got goosebumps watching.

Donna MacMeans said...

s7anna - Glad you liked them! They are a great way to start (or end) a day.

Donna MacMeans said...

s7anna - Glad you liked them! They are a great way to start (or end) a day.

Stacy Boyd said...

Thanks so much for the links. They made my Monday morning!

I've never been in a flash mob, but would keel over from JOY to be in one like these, with super cool dancing and music.

If you coordinate for Orlando or NYC RWA--count me in!!