A few months ago, Citi Performing Arts Center in Boston offered to partner with the Dreamland Foundation to create a flash mob for Nantucket Christmas Stroll. Donald Dallaire, Director of Programming for the Dreamland Foundation, took up the challenge.
Citi Performing Arts Center is dedicated to providing broad-based, popular entertainment and arts education programming and inspiring a greater appreciation for the performing arts through educational outreach, public programming, and community partnerships.
Donald came to Nantucket from Rhode Island for the first time in 2005-06, hired by the Dreamland as an actor in the Dreamland resident company. He’s now a full time resident as of March 2010, and on staff full time at the Dreamland Foundation.
Courtney Falite, who interned at Citi Center and is now an actress and dancer in Rhode Island, choreographed the piece after the music was chosen – Maria Carey’s “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”. A sound system by Tim McDonald “just happened” to be set up in front of reMain, and several videograhers were wandering about in the general vicinity.
More than 70 people, including 10 children, attended a half dozen 2 hour rehearsals in the weeks before the Stroll surprise.
Flash mobs have gone viral in the past few months. With less than 100 flash mob videos on Youtube last year at this time, there are now more than 1000 in the past two weeks alone.
Google Trends mentions of the term “Flash Mob” in America
The first ever flash mob was planned for a department store in New York City in May of 2003 by Bill Wasik, an editor of Harper’s Magazine. The store was tipped off in advance, so it fizzled. Wasik tried again in June at Macy’s, this time not telling the performers where they were going until minutes before. It was a simple idea – 100 people gathered around a rug, saying they all lived together and made all purchases as a group. Next, 200 people filled the lobby and mezzanine of the Hyatt hotel and all applauded at once for 15 seconds. Wasik said he created flash mobs to lampoon conformity and those who always want to be part of the next big thing, and though the term had been used before, Wasik used it first to describe this form of performance art.
The Concise Oxford English Dictionary added the term on 2004, calling it an “unusual and pointless act”, differentiating it from performance art and protests. Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary of English defines it as “a group of people who organize on the Internet and then quickly assemble in a public place, do something bizarre, and disperse.”
The first large scale flash mob took place in 2006 in various London Underground stations when thousands assembled with their ipods, and at a designated time, all started dancing to the music. The International Pillow Fight Day took place in 2008 in more than 25 cities around the world, the largest performance to date with 5000 participants in NYC alone. Word of the event was spread by Facebook, Myspace, blogs, public forums, personal websites, word of mouth, text messaging, and email.
The final video of the Nantucket flash mob at Stroll was produced by Lisa Frey, and was edited from footage from 8 different cameras. You can contact Donald at email@example.com. Click below to watch the video.