It’s not every day that, while enjoying a meal in your dining hall of choice, you notice a group of people setting up stereo equipment at a table, placing signs around the room and suspiciously looking around at the growing crowd of students beginning to form.
And when something like that actually does happen, it apparently still doesn’t get noticed. Students in Douglass Dining Center were oblivious to about twenty members of the Ballet Performance Group preparing, and then anxiously waiting, to perform their first flash mob.
For those who don’t know, a flash mob is a performance art stunt in which a group of people unexpectedly perform a choreographed dance number in public areas/spaces (there are some variants on this, such as the famous video of many people suddenly standing still in New York City’s Penn Station).
Students in Douglass and Danforth Dining Center got the flash mob experience when BPG performed in both dining halls on Tuesday. After much deliberation, Ke$ha’s ‘Tik Tok” abruptly filled the room and scattered BPG dancers began the routine. People stood still to watch and camera phones appeared almost instantly.
In both cases, the flash mobs lasted less than three minutes, but they certainly got peoples’ attention.
BPG organized these stunts as a promotion for their spring performance, ‘Best for Last,” which will be held this Friday in Strong Auditorium at 6 p.m.
The flash mobs may have been brief, but a great amount of preparation went into them. Two members, junior Alyssa Lord and BPG Vice President, senior Arielle Friedlander, first brought up the idea last semester.
‘I thought it would be impossible,” BPG President and senior Danielle Levine said. ‘So I just put it on the back burner.”
But that wasn’t the case. After exchanging e-mails with dining services, pulling off the flash mobs started to seem plausible. BPG began planning the the performances, which were choreographed by sophomore Emily Hart, at the very beginning of this semester.
The flash mobs which were a first for BPG capped off a year of advances for the dance group. BPG updated its archaic constitution to better suit the current members, being the only group to go before the Students’ Association Senate twice this year.
As BPG began updating the group itself, they worked to raise money for their new improvements. The group participated in a cupcake fundraiser with Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe, which was an unexpected success.
They will add a new position next year, called the Technique Chair, to maintain the group’s primary focus on ballet. Levine is also beginning an effort to organize a dance network that would unite all 15 of the dance groups at UR.
Needless to say, BPG has had an eventful year and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. But all these challenges will be handled with the same confidence and daring that was demonstrated in the flash mobs.
‘We have a reputation for being one of the best run groups in the school,” Levine said. ‘Taking risks when you think you have a good idea has paid off this year.”
Tickets for ‘Best for Last” are available at the Common Market in Wilson Commons. Tickets are $5 for undergrads and $7 for all others.
Silverstein is a member of the class of 2013.