flash.

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As a scholar of dance, I often must recognize the changing way that dance is being presented to our society. In my American Dance History 3 class (1950-tomorrow) we have studied a variety of venues and styles of dance and how they shape the perception of dance to Americans.  Not only do we look at concert dance (Cunningham, Balanchine, King, Taylor, etc) but we’ve also looked at dance in social settings such as Woodstock, Disco, and The Twist. This is the class in which I researched body language, movement analysis, and the recent presidential election — you see, we’re learning how to see movement everywhere.

For our final, I’m currently researching Flash Mobs (which MLE knows I love so so much). It wasn’t until today that I realized that not everyone feels as strongly as I do about flash mobs.

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I was having lunch in my office today with some of the other grads and I mentioned that I had spent an hour last night laying in bed, watching flash mobs, and every time got just a little bit teary eyed at them. J and V seemed very taken aback by my statement. “Why were you crying?” they asked me.

Why was I crying? Some of it has to do with the fact that my solution to not getting any sleep because of finals is crying, but it’s not just that.

It’s not just that at all.

Flash mobs are an amazing display of a group of people who are very different, lead different lifestyles, and sometimes don’t even know each other coming together briefly for a common, shared, positive purpose. They’re coming together through movement. How beautiful is that?

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It doesn’t matter who you are, what your gender, sex, orientation, race, ethnicity, body type is, or what you’ve done in your life. All of these people come together for one thing — a type of celebration. The Fox show Mobbed features flash mobs celebrating relatives who were once estranged reuniting, young and old couples in love, people getting jobs, and all kinds of celebratory news.

How could that not make you just a little bit teary?

Behind every flash mob there is a sincere kindness and generosity to share in joy with other people. It’s about human connections and how we form them through dance and movement, which is this thing that is simple and complicated. It’s the first thing we ever learn to do: before we know words, we know movement. We learn about the world around us through movement.

Maybe I’m a total sap, but flash mobs will always, always make me the slightest bit weepy — they’re beautiful. It’s easy to feel like the world is filled with hate, and war, and sadness, but when you look closely, as one of my favourite movies reminds us, love actually is all around.

love, B

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