On New Years Day, more than 200 locals had the time of their lives taking part in a dance performance at Austinmer Beach. This ‘Flash Mob’ left smiles on the dancer’s faces, and on the faces of the 2000 beachgoers who watched on in surprised delight.
It was incredible. You can watch it unfold HERE
So the big question on everyone’s lips is ‘will it happen again?”
Well according to producer, dancer and choreographer Emma Saunders, that depends entirely on funding.
“This project was originally called ‘The Austinmer Dancing Project’ and its aim was to demonstrate the value of the arts,” she says. “Now it’s over I can safely say our ‘flash mob’ was a fantastic example of how the arts can transform a community.
“It was essentially a show, a performance that included locals from all walks of life.
“It’s important we, as a society, understand the importance of dance, and how a project like this brought so much joy to both the dancers and the spectators. We put the whimsy back into life.”
Emma began planning many months ago, securing funding from Wollongong Council.
“I aimed to have 150 dancers,” she says. “First stop was the Austinmer Otters, then the regulars swimming at Austi pool in the mornings, my family and friends, my daughters local school, the U3A in Thirroul, then more local people started joining up until finally our numbers grew to over 200″
And Emma says while the performance was spectacular, the joy was in the journey.
“Everyone had to come to rehearsals. I didn’t just upload the choreography to You Tube because I wanted personal connections. That was all part of the process. I wanted to dance with everyone and I loved every minute of it. Every rehearsal was essentially a flash mob and it was so much fun.
“Having all those women aged over 60 swirling together was incredible.
“This was my dream project. My heart lights up when I think about doing it again, but it does depend on funding from Wollongong City Council. We are lucky they still offer these kinds of grants and I am grateful to have been successful in the last round”.
“Now we have done it once, people can see for themselves what it actually entails so we shouldn’t have trouble finding participants.
“I’m thinking the same venue with new content, and I could work with Liverpool and Campbelltown Councils to have visitor participation
“I am a dance artist. Dance is my profession. Just like everyone else, I need to get paid. People need to understand the value of art. We need to fight for the arts in our schools and in our community. We need funding for creative people and projects for the benefit of the entire community.
“This project showed how dance is not only the domain of trained professionals. Anyone can do it. And participating can be as much fun as watching it. But without funding, projects like this can’t happen.
“I wanted to animate our cultural fabric. I wanted to reposition dance front and centre as a tool for transforming the community, for how we experience ourselves, each other and the landscapes we live in a little differently just for a moment, and just for fun!”
For all news on Emma’s next potential flash mob project you can follow the Facebook page HERE