Not-So-Spontaneous Flash Mob
TV changes everything. I arrived at Times Square on Friday night for our “flash mob” performance and found a crowd of tourists staring at the cameras, lights and production crews setting up for the event. I immediately knew our spontaneous performance was not going to be much of a surprise.
We ended up performing the dance three times. The first was the most obviously set up: With tons of pedestrians swarming around, the production crews got nervous that there might not be enough room for the cameras to pan back and forth. So they sectioned off the space where we had a permit to perform and started yelling, “Dancers only!”
The Cirque du Soleil’s creative director Fernand Rainville watched this footage and was not so happy. We’d been warned we might have to perform more than once, so the almost 200 dancers hung around the sidewalk in front of Sephora (I overheard someone walking by who hadn’t seen our performance say, “I think it’s an audition for High School Musical.”) About half an hour later we were called back to places, this time a little more discreetly.
When the music came on for a second time, I actually got stuck in a group of dancers and had to fight my way to the edges. Someone hit me in the face with her port de bras and a group of girls started cracking up. They asked me if I knew what was going on. I said I had no clue. When I started dancing a few moments later, they started screaming, “Ooooh, she played us!”
Although I wouldn’t say this event was the most artistically fulfilling performance I’ve ever done, it was in many ways the most fun. In the middle of the piece, I looked up and saw groups of people gathering in the windows of the skyscrapers surrounding us. Pedestrians all around us stopped to watch what was going on. Even taxi drivers slowed down (when does that ever happen?) to take a peek. And although the movement was very simple, performing it in unison with 200 other dancers was quite a thrilling experience. Being that close to the “audience”—some of whom were more unsuspecting than others—gave all of us a huge adrenaline rush.
You can watch our performance at
. (I’m near the front in a red sweater!) Or go to onedrop.org to see the entire two-hour event.