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At any given moment in any given location around the world, groups of men, women and children might spontaneously begin dancing in a synchronized routine.
Known as flash mobs, the random act does not have to include dancing. In fact, a flash mob doesn’t have to include any action at all, such as the freeze frame flash mob that involved about 50 participants who stood frozen in a supermarket in Manchester, England, in 2007.
Flash mobs have consisted of Star Wars-themed light saber battles and seasonal offerings, such performances of the Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus. From a mall in Rome to an airport in London, from Central Park in New York to a clothing store in Los Angeles, flash mobs have included ballet, opera, pop music medleys and marriage proposals.
At www.youtube.com, flash mob videos draw millions of viewers across the globe. A video in the food court of a Kansas City mall has had more than 38 million views.
Times, dates and locations for flash mobs are typically unknown to non-participants. Participants are often from the same area and generally are provided that information along with other directions, such as the dance routine, music choice and how rehearsals are to take place.
In the Hardin County area Saturday, a flash mob will feature belly dancers and zombies and even belly-dancing zombies.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Angela Roberts of Elizabethtown said of the zombie flash mob.
Roberts has been spearheading practices for a flash mob that will perform Saturday at Zombie Fest in downtown Elizabethtown.
With a background in cheerleading and some dance experience, Roberts has been teaching the dance moves to participants. The flash mob consists of about 11 area residents who — dressed as zombies — will perform Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance routine.
The flash mob will take place 7 p.m. during the downtown Second Saturday event, which runs 5 to 8 p.m. The flash mob is scheduled to take place in the municipal parking lot behind Sugar Fashion Cakes.
Organized by Sarah Anthony, who is Roberts’ sister-in-law, the group has held several two- to three-hour rehearsals at an old sewing factory in Elizabethtown in the past few weeks. The participants already have the moves down for the most part, she said.
“People are pretty dedicated,” Anthony said.
Janna Tinsley of Radcliff is a partipant.
“A friend of mine was already involved in the group, and I heard they needed more people,” Tinsley said.
Though she joined after the group had already practiced once, Tinsley got up to speed learning the dance. It is the first time she’s ever participated in a flash mob.
“It’s a way for me to participate in a community activity,” she said.
As the day of the performance nears, Tinsley is not too nervous. Just more than a week before the event, she was thinking more about presentation than technique.
“I haven’t nailed down my costume yet,” Tinsley said.
Community involvement also was cited as a reason for participation by Vanessa Anderson of Elizabethtown. Anderson said she had wanted to participate in a flash mob for a while, too.
“They immediately make you want to be involved,” Anderson said.
Knowing the flash mob was part of Zombie Fest, an event for which proceeds go to the charity Icing Smiles, made it even more attractive, she said.
On the other hand, the flash mob organized by Brandenburg resident Heidi Capps-Hayden seeks to reach beyond her community.
Capps-Hayden, who is owner, director and instructor of Sevanti Tribal Collective, which features American Tribal Style belly-dancing, has organized ATS Flash Mob World Wide.
The event, which has a page on Facebook, is aimed at encouraging ATS belly dancers across the globe to record themselves dancing at 3 p.m. Saturday — alone or in groups — wherever they are.
They are asked to post the video at www.youtube.com with the title, “ATS Flash Mob World Wide,” including the city, state and country at the end of the title. Then participants are asked to post a link on the public group page on Facebook.
“So it will end up being a Facebook flash mob I suppose,” she said.
This is the first time for the event.
“I’m going to do it even if it’s just me,” Capps-Hayden said.
Capps-Hayden also has arranged to perform a flash mob with members of Sevanti Tribal Collective after the zombie flash mob at Zombie Fest.
“I think we have to zombie-fy ourselves now,” Capps-Hayden said. “Zombie ATS belly dancers coming right up.”
Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or firstname.lastname@example.org.