World Umbrella Dance

I’ve always wanted to be in a flash mob, and last year, my dream came true thanks to the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival: I joined the 500 dancers who celebrated spring with the Umbrella Dance at the Vancouver Art Gallery on April 14, 2012.  (Okay, perhaps it wasn’t a real flash mob because the date and time were set in advance, but nevertheless, it felt very much like a flash mob)

At first, I was really scared to register.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to learn the choreography and dance in public. I hesitated for days. Then finally, I decided to just register. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulder. Now, there was no turning back. I had no choice but to learn the dance routine and go through with this.

The music

First, I started by listening to the music “Zoobie Doobie” over and over again to familiarize myself with the rythm and the change of tempo.

The practice

Then, one month before the rehearsal date, I started learning the dance routine with the Youtube videos.  I was simply adding “learning the umbrella dance” to my regular exercise routine. After two sessions of 15 minutes every week,  I was now familiar with the dance routine.

The Rehearsal

The day of the rehearsal, I discovered I had learn the dance “backwards”. I realized I wasn’t supposed to mirror the instructor’s moves on the Youtube videso (if he moved to the left of the screen, I moved to the left as well), but I was supposed to “pretend” I was the dancer (if he went to the left of the screen, meaning he would move to his right, I had to move to my right).  But since I knew all the moves already, it was easy to adapt. Basically, in a dance choreography, you always start on the right side (then left).

Note: It’s possible to learn the dance routine in only 1 hour during rehearsal but if you have no dance experience (which was my case), learning the routine prior to rehearsal is a good idea.

The Big Day!

I went to the Vancouver Art Gallery early to pick up my umbrella (there was no early pick-up location that year). A crowd of excited dancers had already assembled, dressed in black pants and white shirt. There were three dance scheduled. I was assigned to dance with at the second  group (perhaps I was offered the first block, I can’t remember, but I probably turned it down, because I wanted to see how the first dance would turn out.)

Prior to the Umbrella dance, Shiamak Davar dance group members were warming up the participants with great bollywood music and routine. It was so much fun.  All my nervousness went away. Then, it was time for the Umbrella Dance. The familiar music started, with participants saying hello to each other (as per the dance routine), then we “striked a pose” and danced our heart out to the sound of Zoobie Doobie.

I wanna do it again!

What a great experience.  It was so exhilarating!  I can’t wait to do it again this year, so I signed up early and I carry my umbrella with me on every rainy day and tell all my friends and colleagues to join. Don’t miss this great event, buy your umbrella now and sign up for rehearsal. You won’t regret it.

The World Umbrella Dance will take place at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Saturday April 13, 2013.

See you there!

— Jessica

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