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From completely silent to dancing, singing and classical, we mined the internet for some of the coolest flash mob performances.
Visitors to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, UK were treated to a flash mob of professional dancers – Club Mob – who specialize in performing in public and private dance flash mobs. The exuberant performance showcased the best of British music from the 60s (Beatles) 70s (Bee Gees) 80s (David Bowie) and right up to 2010s (Basement Jaxx).
On a freezing, snowy February day in Moscow a man walks through a crowd carrying a boom box, sets it down, switches it on and starts dancing to ‘Putting on the Ritz’. Of course he is joined by others and it soon turns into quite a crowd. There are lots of acrobatics with backflips and no-hands cartwheels, but wait – there’s more! Men dressed as street sweepers with brooms join in, followed by military guys, and finally a red stretch limo pulls up with a bride and groom. It’s one helluva party! Most entertaining.
This flash mob was created to advertise the opening of the musical Grease in Antwerp, Belgium. Over 250 people of various ages gathered to participate in this fun stunt during rush hour at the Central Station. In fact there were more dancers than spectators, who thoroughly enjoyed the upbeat performance featuring many of the memorable songs from the musical, including ‘Greased lightning’ and ‘You’re the one that I want’. The songs and story from Grease never seem to age even though the film originally came out in 1978, with newer generations still enjoying the rock ‘n roll fun.
A lone man dressed in formal tailcoat and bowtie and holding a double bass stands in the middle of a busy square in Barcelona, Spain. A little girl approaches and puts some coins in his top hat, at which the man begins to play the opening bars of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’. Soon, a woman appears carrying a cello and joins him, slowly followed by other musicians until there are a few dozen musicians and the music begins to swell in depth and volume. Finally, the musicians are joined by a choir who emerge from the crowd, with spectators singing along to a rousing and joyful finale, with great appreciation from the crowd. This video has been viewed over 88 million times!
This ‘flash mob’ is actually the groom, groomsmen and friends who surprise the bride at their wedding reception with a full-on dance routine of ‘appropriate’ songs featuring, among others, Britney Spears’ ‘Baby one more time’ and ‘Tell me why’ by the Backstreet Boys and many others. This took place in Cape Town, South Africa and hats off to the guys who must have diligently practiced in secret for quite some time. It seems that wedding flash mobs are a thing, as there are many more YouTube videos similar to this. Another good one comes from Australia where the groom and his mates practiced each week for 3 months to perfect their routine. Not bad for a bunch of amateur blokes!
Although not technically a flash mob as they would have had to be given permission, this video of is pretty spectacular and is mentioned in flash mob top ten lists. The 1,500 inmates incarcerated in a Philippine prison perform a very well-rehearsed routine set to Michael Jackson’s ‘They don’t care about us’ from his Thriller album. The fact that these are hardcore badass guys adds another dimension to the performance. Enacted with military precision, the accuracy and discipline on display is impressive, ending in them forming a perfect peace sign. In fact, their act actually became a popular tourist attraction with visitors streaming to the prison to watch this spectacular performance, as well as inspiring a movie about finding redemption in prison.
With 21.5 million YouTube views, the flash mob at Grand Central Station, New York caused quite a stir. All the participants are ostensibly going about their business and then suddenly and simultaneously freeze in position for five full minutes. Groups were in mid sentence, someone knelt on the floor about to pick up papers he had dropped, while another was about to take a sip of coffee. The public couldn’t figure out what was going down; one person is overheard wondering if this is some kind of protest. When the five minutes is up, all the participants just quietly move on. About 200 people are estimated to have participated in this fun spin on the flash mob.
A hugely impressive flash mob of over 2000 people gathered at Bayonne's festival in France to dance to Lady Gaga’s ‘Born this way’, possibly one of the bigger flash mob gatherings (but see below for an even more epic crowd). Not only were all the dancers fairly in sync, but all had dressed the same – all in white with red neckerchiefs and red sashes. It seemed that everyone had a great time in this happy production.
This was an epic surprise engagement, the young woman had no idea what was going to happen and that she was the ‘target’. A flash mob of dancers jives to Bruno Mars’ ‘Marry you’. The subject of the proposal has been left sitting alone at a sidewalk café at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, presumably her hopeful suitor has made an excuse to leave the table. He finally appears behind the dancers dressed in a suit and on bended knee with engagement ring at the ready, proposes to his girlfriend. Thankfully, she said yes!
This flash mob in Mexico City made the Guinness Book of Records, numbering nearly 14,000 people who took to the street to dance, with near perfectly synced choreography, to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. Unfortunately, the videos are of rather poor quality, but this massive record-breaking turnout is definitely worth a mention.