In this charming video a group of swing dancers gather around a street orchestra to perform a charleston routine. It’s a simple routine that repeats, they do it well, and they are enjoying themselves immensely. It’s a great choice for a flash mob because for swing dancers it wouldn’t take long to learn. They know the steps already and just have to learn what order to do them in, but they have to be pretty skilled for it to look this good.
Dancers looking good
And it does look good, doesn’t it? It looks good because they are experienced dancers and because they are having fun. It’s fun to watch people have fun and this would have been almost as fun to watch if they were less skilled but still having a blast.
Dancers showing off
So why is it so much fun to do? Because dancers love to show off. There are exceptions to this of course. I’ve known good dancers who are shy and don’t like to be in the spotlight, but for the most part it’s energizing to feel the appreciation of onlookers. Doubly so when it’s a surprise. A show that people pay to see has a much higher risk level. It’s still fun and energizing, but everybody is there already with an expectation that this will hopefully be good enough to be worth the ticket price. A flash mob comes out of nowhere and feels like a gift out of the blue to people lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to witness it.
Musicians like to show off too, so when dancers and musicians combine their talents this way it’s a guaranteed success.
Flash Mob or Lindy Bomb?
A close cousin to a flash mob is a bomb. I’ve never heard other kinds of dancers use this term but it’s common in the Lindy Hop community. When a group of swing dancers put up a boombox and break out dancing in a public place, it’s called a Lindy Bomb.
A flash mob is choreographed. Whatever the material, it’s planned out in advance and everyone learns a part or does the same routine. A Lindy bomb could be spontaneous, starting with a small number and growing as people join in, or it could be planned out by a particular group, but there is no choreography. People just dance as they would in a club. They’re just doing it in a public place where it’s not expected to happen.
Anyone can join a Lindy Bomb if they know the dance. Any level dancer can participate. The fun for the audience is seeing a bunch of people suddenly breaking out in a joyful dance. If you are dancing Lindy, even if you just started, let others know you’d like to participate in the next Lindy bomb. And if nobody has one planned, consider organizing it yourself. It’s a guaranteed fun-for-all!
by LaurieAnn Lepoff
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