How do I organize a "spontaneous" public dance?
April 4, 2009 2:36 PM   Subscribe

This is one of the coolest things I've seen in a while. How can I do something similar?

I am a fan of ImprovEverywhere and other improv/performance art pieces, but I can never quite conceptualize how much work actual goes into creating something like this dance performance.
I live in the U.S., and I'm not a dancer, actor or artist, by any means, but participating in a performance like that is one of my life goals.

What are some things I should know, if I'm considering organizing something similar? How long does it take, from start to finish? How much permission do you need? How do you find willing participants?
Anecdotes or information is appreciated.
posted by bluestocking to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
"Flashmob" is the term used to describe this. There are probably some in major citites around the US.
posted by aheckler at 2:38 PM on April 4, 2009

And by "citites" I of course meant "cities".
posted by aheckler at 2:45 PM on April 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

Seconding the suggestion to check out the "flash mob" phenomenon if you want to stage one yourself. But this one, in Antwerp, was organized by a Belgian television network to promote a reality TV show called "In Search of Maria." I suspect it was a pretty massive operation!
posted by artemisia at 3:01 PM on April 4, 2009

Improv Everywhere does lots of things like this (1, 2, 3). I'm guessing that their forums and/or book would point in the right direction. I have no doubt that you'll love reading through the various "missions" they've pulled off, either.

On preview: flashmob
posted by niles at 3:01 PM on April 4, 2009

This looks too much choreographed. This is similar to Tmobile advert flmed in Liverpool.

The T-Mobile Dance

See here the behind the scenes Making of T-Mobile Dance
posted by shr1n1 at 3:04 PM on April 4, 2009

...filmed in Liverpool Street Station, London
posted by biffa at 3:24 PM on April 4, 2009

The International Pillow Fight Day how-to guide may be of interest.

(It was today. You missed it. Sorry. A friend of mine called me from the NYC event, but I couldn't hear him because people kept whacking him in the head while he was trying to talk.)
posted by ook at 4:16 PM on April 4, 2009

The T-Mobile Dance

Previous MeFi thread.
posted by ericb at 5:01 PM on April 4, 2009

Most cities will have, within the partnership or ballroom dance community, a synchronised dance squad/club/group. (Any big university dance club may also be worth checking out). Traditionally, these groups have been a way for people to improve their dancing through working on a performance together, and then they perform the show at various places, before starting work on another. I'm under the impression that as the flashmob thing has grown in popularity, some of these dance groups have gone in that direction for some of their shows. It depends on what people in the group want to do. And if you're part of the group, you'll be pushing for that direction.

From what little I know, you'd probably need to do some dance classes beforehand, as even though a lot of people in the group don't have much experience, they'd expect people to know the basics, but if you find a group, they'll set you up with what they'd need from you, and what you'd need to do to get there, and let you know if they've done the sort of thing you're talking about, or whether all their shows are part of larger events, as is the norm.

(I assume that, like a theatre production, it's difficult on everyone trying to rehearse if a piece of the whole is missing, so there is likely to be an expectation that you show up for rehearsal no-matter snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, sort of thing.)
posted by -harlequin- at 5:18 PM on April 4, 2009

If you want choreographed, there's the site that breaks down all of the moves from Thriller step by step.
posted by MsMolly at 6:05 PM on April 4, 2009

1. Youtube video with choreography.
2. Basic group organization (who starts, when the B team descends the stairs, etc.)
3. Lots of friends
4. A time & a place
5. A license from the city to congregate & use amplified musical equipment
6. A kick-ass sound system
posted by MesoFilter at 6:45 PM on April 4, 2009

Best answer: A friend of mine was one of the dancers in the T-mobile Liverpool Street Station sequence and she's told me: it was absurdly rehearsed. Several all-night practice sessions, one actually in the venue. The budget was in six figures, and not at the low end of them.
posted by Hogshead at 1:02 PM on April 5, 2009

Also, I'd just like to put out the idea of flash-mobbing a flash-mob - meta-flashmob!
Namely, a secret Thriller flashmob that takes part in a zombie flashmob, unbeknownst to the zombie flashmobbers, until the zombie tangled up in the cords of a stereo system, dragging it behind him, accidentally turns it on...
posted by -harlequin- at 4:46 PM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

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