Back in the day, when I used to watch movies, some of my favorites were the musicals. If you’re my age, you know the ones I mean. I’m not referring to the movies we get these days with lovely songs and dances by a few people on a small set. I’m talking the major extravaganzas. Think Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, Hello Dolly, Oliver and, because we’re getting close to Christmas, Scrooge!
I can recall a time or two when, watching the major dance scenes (Put On Your Sunday Clothes from Hello Dolly or Thank You Very Much from Scrooge), someone would invariably say, and quite derisively, too, “as if people would just break into song and dance in a public place like that”.
Can you figure out where this is going? Flash forward to 2010 and the flash mob craze. Is it a craze? For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, a flash mob is when a group of people in a very public venue either begin to dance, or to sing, seemingly “spontaneously”, but of course, I doubt spontaneity has anything to do with it.
I saw my first ever flash mob dance about a year ago, I guess, when the Black Eyed Peas sang “I’ve Got A Feeling” for the Oprah show in downtown Philadelphia. If you saw that on TV or later on you tube, you recall how excited Oprah became as it was happening.
I wonder why it is people do these things now? The fear of “being centered out”, which I recall so well from my younger days, seems to have been replaced by a hunger to be centered out. After all, if You Tube can make a mega star of Justin Bieber, it can happen to anyone!
So is it the search for fame and fortune that finds people sucking up their nervousness and just putting it out there for everyone to see?
Or is it maybe, with the advent of You Tube, and even American Idol, people no longer fear being the center of attention. I don’t watch the Idol show, but I’ve heard there have been some pretty horrendous acts on there. Many of us might find ourselves saying, “hell, I can do a better job of it than that!”
This flash mob phenomenon isn’t just a North American craze, either. I have one in my “you tube favourites”, a video filmed in the central train station in Antwerp Belgium of a group of 200 dancing to Julie Andrews singing “Do Re Mi” from the Sound of Music soundtrack.
What I like most about these videos, aside from getting a real kick out of seeing all these different people united for a common, entertaining purpose, is the looks on the faces of the people who are there, watching it unfold.
Those expressions go from disbelief to pure joy in a matter of moments. For those few minutes while their fellow travelers or diners or shoppers perform, their cares are forgotten as they either listen raptly or bounce to the music, or, in some cases, join right in.
What an extraordinary gift these performers are giving! You might tune in to You tube and see these “impromptu” performances and enjoy them for a few minutes, and even play them again, but can you imagine what it would be like to actually be there while it’s happening?
If you want to see the video filmed at the train station in Belgium, it’s here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EYAUazLI9k&feature=recentf
For a Christmas treat, and if you’re a fan of the Hallelujah Chorus, may I suggest this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE
If some day in the future you’re out somewhere and a song or dance breaks out around you, think of me, please, and join in. Moments like that don’t come around every day.