A Tale of a Swing Dance Flash Mob Around Galway, Of Crazy Men on Bicycles and Bubblegum Flavoured Ice-Cream
So the day was set (again! – don’t ask about previous setbacks. Oh the recriminations) and a dozen or so dedicated and enthusiastic dancers made their way into the heart of Galway City to provide a little spot of entertainment for those out-and-about at the conclusion of Galway’s Arts Festival.
After a number of fun and sometimes wet practice sessions over the past month, we met in Woodquay for a final run-through before going public. Of course, even out here, on these final yards of terra firma before city meets water, we had an appreciative audience sitting patiently on the Corrib Princess, awaiting their river tour. It took many of us by surprise when, after completing a practice run, we were met with applause from somewhere off in the distance. It was like the captain of the vessel had waited for us to finish before departing back up the river.
We made arrangements to meet at Eyre Square. I said 20 minutes. People complained. I said 15 minutes. That was better. Of course, 25 minutes later we were still waiting for people to arrive. They scattered themselves about quite nicely, as they’d been instructed, and I set up my small but brave (that’s another story) speaker and hit play. Our dancers came together, and we danced. Of course things went wrong, mistakes were made, but from everywhere, as the sounds of ‘Sing Sing Sing’ rang out, people emerged with cameras and phones to record our impromptu performance. This act was repeated in the tight confines of Shop St, before we headed down the the Spanish Arch for the last of our planned flash mobs.
The first two flash mobs had gone well, but invariably small errors had crept in (most obviously by myself). We were determined that this one would go to plan.
And go to plan it did. We danced, broke into our jam, the jazz girls hit their stride, and then it was time for me to flip my partner, Tracey, into the spotlight…… and along came the crazy man on bicycle . As I launched Tracey into the air I heard the cries of ‘Whoa’, saw the people looking away (or unable to look away), and out of the corner of my eye caught the harried movement of man on bike crossing into my path. I held back briefly, changed angle slightly, knowing I could save this if he stayed the course. He didn’t, but his desperate movements managed to take him further out of harms way and our flash mob proceeded uninterrupted (The video with full sound-effects is below).
It was a warm day, so we decided that just rewards for a job well done would be ice-cream from Gino’s, Galway’s finest ice-creamery. The health nuts went for the sorbet options, the weirdos who aren’t into ice-cream went next door to buy ice-pops. My own option, controversially derided by all, was a blue-coloured bubble-gum flavour. And it was num-num. From there, it was back to Eyre Square, where we whittled away the afternoon with more dancing, an encore of our flash mob, threw in a Shim Sham for no reason other than it’s the Shim Sham, and generally enjoyed a warm Galway afternoon.
Thank you to all who came out, both to dance and support us. I really look forward to the next swing dance flash mob as part of the GLX – Galway Lindy Exchange 2014 !