Monday, April 9, 2012

Flash Dancing and Mob Politics

Fun and Fancy Flash Mobs in Russia
By David Owens

Flash mobs started appearing in Russia in 2005, as they have all over the world.  The idea is for a group of people to independently practice some dance moves to a selected song and plan a time and place to meet. Someone will start the music -- one dancer,  then two, followed by the whole mob --  dancing in unison. In its pure form a flash mob is a fun, happy, surprise for all.

 Most larger American cities have a flash group, often with a YouTube channel where you can hear the music and see the dance moves -- and practice for the event. The time and place for the gathering is kept secret to outsiders. Part of the fun is that the mob will appear out of nowhere and amaze any onlookers. The point is to have a lot of fun doing it and to enjoy a happy celebraton bursting out of the daily routine.

In Russia, most mobs represent innocent fun. while others serve  a more comercialized  purpose for publicity.  It is just too much fun not to capitalize on the popularity!

 Dance Like President Medvedev, Moscow  --  Fun and amateur
  A small flash mob out to have fun in the spirit of flash mobs. This is how flash mobs started.

Wedding Party Flash Mob - 
Puttin' on the Ritz,  Swallow Hills, Moscow  -- Over the top with a message

A highly organized wedding party flash mob just 5 days before the presidential elections in Russia to the tune "Puttin' on the Ritz."
It is hard not to see that the United Russia party gave support to this flash mob, the name of the song title "Puttin' ..." sounding very close to returning presidential candidate, "Putin"

The dance starts at the Sparrow Hills Metro Station, just above the 1980 Olympics complex in Moscow.  A guy puts down the boom box and starts a dance and is joined by several hundred more.  It is really fun to watch,  Uniformed street cleaners and military men join the dance.

The mob  builds to a crescendo when a limousine pulls up with a bride and groom. Modern Russian weddings require that the groom take the bride around the city and take pictures in beautiful places before the ceremony.  The bride is flabbergasted and everyone is smiling.
Some in the crowd start yelling a traditional wedding party toast, "Gorka, Gorka!" which means "bitter" and the only way to sweeten the bitterness it is for the bride and groom to kiss. Just a fun and over-the-top wedding party held by a distinguished Russian businessman. Or is it?

In the wide views you see the camera lifts and it is apparent this is not an amateur flash mob.  A full camera crew is onsite and the sophisticated choreography is not something one can study at home alone.

It is all fantastic fun, but the last two lines of the song give away the plot,  "Putin Molodyets!" translated means "Well done, Mr. Putin!"   Well done, United Russia, we were entertained :)   Agree with United Russia's platform or not, the mob video is a real study in positive political messaging at a time when American politics are too much about negative campaigning. 


More fun Moscow flash mobs

Dance like Britney
Before Britney Spears concert in Moscow, Sept. 2011
An amateur fan mob.

Michael Jackson is Alive!
Flash on Arbat Street, Moscow, June 2010
Well organized fans with matching outfits.

West Coast Swing Flash Mob
Moscow River and Christ the Savior Cathedral, March 2011

Fun amateurs in the true spirit of flash.  
BTW, this is the church recently invaded by the "Pussy Riot" and ensuing discussions -- was it blasphemy, hooligans or publicity seekers? It sparked a lot of hooligan journalism, for sure!

Water fight flash mob
It's not always music and dance, but it has to be fun!
Moscow, August 2011


Enjoying the view from  St. Petersburg, Russia

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