If you frequent the market in Covent Garden then you are well aware that it is not only packed with crowds of Londoners and tourists alike, but also a variety of street performers looking to entertain and earn a few tips. But if you happened to wander into the square last Wednesday, you might have been surprised to find yourself in the middle of a mob of dancing hooligans, breaking it down to blaring club music. This is just the latest in a series of flash mobs that seem to have taken over public gathering spaces across the globe (not to mention your television – believe it or not there is a reality TV show about flash mobs). But what’s all the hype? And why did it recently strike Covent Garden?
To answer the first question, all you need to do is see a flash mob in action. The one that performed in Covent Garden is no trained group of professional dancers; just a bunch of teens out having fun. And yet, they incorporate elements of classical dance (hints of ballet and jazz can be seen in their movements) alongside contemporary and even street. Hip hop, breakdancing, Latin, and gymnastics are exhibited in their rollicking performance. Their moves are not always perfectly executed, they are not always in sync, but somehow you can’t tear your eyes away. Through eight and a half minutes of musical changes, the Dynamic Dozen (as the troupe calls itself) held the attention of a growing audience outside the market. And why did they choose that location?
The truth is that they’re not the first flash mob to perform at this open-air venue. As recently as May 30th, a flash mob that included dancing, singing, and even a horn section showed up and had the whole crowd singing the Beatles’ “Love” and King Crimson’s “Dancing in the Moonlight” with them (video on YouTube). It seems that the atmosphere of Covent Garden just lends itself to outbursts of artistic expression.
The Dynamic Dozen is a project that actually receives partial funding from City of London, Canada (in Ontario). There are two teams of dancers (selected through tryouts) stationed in the city: the northeast and the southeast teams. Once the group has been selected they spend 20-30 hours a week training for these seemingly impromptu performances. People in the know (Facebook friends of the Dynamic Dozen, for example) will be apprised of the time and date of events so they can show up and support the group (some bring hand cams and then post the videos online). Others who happen to be in the right place at the right time will just get a pleasant surprise, as was the case for many in Covent Garden on July 13th at noon.
And you just never know who might be in the crowd. Jon-Paul McGonigle, a Project Manager for City of London, was apparently surprised by the performance, calling it “impactful”. It does seem a bit strange that he should happen to be in Covent Garden at the same moment that a group his organization sponsors was performing, unbeknownst to him. But there you are; that’s the beauty of a flash mob. They arrive, they perform, and they withdraw. No warning, no explanation. They simply bring a ray of sunshine to an otherwise average London day.
Sarah Danielson writes for Adiamor Diamond Engagement Rings. Why not propose flash mob style with the perfect ring from Adiamor?