Flashmobs

A growing phenomenon is the flashmob. We've seen all different kinds - the dancing one, the singing one, a combination of both. I am sure there are others out there too, but those are the three I keep seeing .  They appear in emails, on tv news shows, on blogs, on twitter, on youtube, and many other places. Everyone seems addicted to the flashmob. I started thinking - what makes a flashmob so appealing to those who witness them in person and to those who stop what they're doing and watch them on tv or elsewhere.

Think about it - the flashmob starts out looking like a spontaneous act. One person walks out in the middle of a crowd and starts dancing or singing (sometimes both). For about ten seconds or so, the person is alone. They are playing a musical instrument or dancing or singing. They seem so brave standing there in the middle of an anonymous crowd.  Then, another person walks up and joins them, then two, then four, then more.  Before you know it, an entire group - usually more than 20 people are singing and dancing in the middle of a mall or train station (or some other public location). I started thinking about why we are mesmerized.

For me it's like listening to that one pure voice or watching the perfect ballet dancer. You can't take your eyes off them. It touches a part of your heart and soul that does not get touched very often. In this crazy hectic world we live in, we forget about the beauty in the world. Then out of the blue, in the middle of our hectic running around (at the mall, or other crowded location), we hear or see a piece of beauty. We cannot take our eyes off it. We know we have someplace else to be. We know we have something else to do, but we stop and listen. We don't just stop and listen - we absorb the beauty of it.

As more and more people join in, we have to remain rooted to the floor now. It's the expectation of "what else" that keeps us from leaving our spot and going on with our lives. We know we are witnessing something extraordinary. This will not happen again in our lives. If we leave, we will have missed out on something beautiful - like watching a master painter at work. Why would we want to leave when such a masterpiece is being created right before our eyes?

We want to be part of it. We want to see it develop. There's an element of surprise as well. We don't know what will happen next. To us, this spontaneity keeps us riveted. While deep down we know that this flashmob actually took weeks of practice before they came out to perform it in front of perfect strangers.  I am always amazed by the people involved because they always look like they are the spectators, then suddenly they are joining in.

Don't you want to join in?  Don't you think - why doesn't that ever happen when I'm at the mall?  I want to join in. You feel a need to join in  and yet you don't want to ruin the perfection of the moment. As more and more people join in, look at all the spectators who pull out their phones. They start recording the flashmob. They call people to tell them about it. Now, this "spontaneous" action starts to look planned. You can tell as more and people join in, how well planned the event actually is.  The perfection of the choreography, causes your breath to hitch. You don't want to look away because you are afraid you will miss something.

The flashmob is really nothing like the name intimates. It is neither a mob, nor a something happening in a flash. It is well-thought out. It is well practiced.  Most of all it is not happening in a flash. The people who are involved have planned for this moment for weeks, maybe even months. They have timed everything down to the smallest detail. They know exactly when to step in.  They know exactly what beat  to jump in. They know when to turn and twist. They know when to join in to the acapella voices singing so sweetly.

My question is - have you ever seen or been part of a flashmob? If so, tell us about it. We want to know how it developed.


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