People from across greater Cincinnati came together for a flash dance on Thursday evening.
Hundreds of people volunteered their time and resources as they planned the surprise dance over the past eight weeks.
“It started with a few people from theater, dance, music, museums, and the Fine Arts Fund staff. We nicknamed ourselves the Creative Team and wrote to our family and friends and invited them to support our community arts by participating in a video filming,’ said Margy Waller, Vice President, Arts & Culture Partnership of the Fine Arts Fund. “Even though the initial invitation didn’t say what the participants would be doing, hundreds of people agreed to help out.”
The recruiting effort brought people together from across the entire region. Friends of musicians, actors, dancers, and staff of the region’s large and small arts organizations all participated in the flash dance surprise.
Participants had to pledge to keep the secret via the online sign-up for “The Ta-Da” surprise. They learned that they would be dancing and had three weeks to attend a rehearsal and practice at home with an online video breakdown of the dance.
Working with the video producers from Lightborne, The Creative Team spent an afternoon together picking the music. They chose songs by five local bands, all of which donated the music for the surprise: Chocolate Horse, The Kry Kids, Freekbass and Tobatius, The Hiders, and The Sweep.
Rehearsals started with sixteen “captains” recruited by the choreographers – Heather Britt and Alena O’Donnell, both Rhythm and Motion instructors at the Cincinnati Ballet.
The captains learned the dance in a Sunday session while Nutcracker auditions went on in the next room at the Ballet. They began teaching other volunteers during rehearsals scheduled in donated space at the Aronoff Center and the Know Theatre.
On Wednesday night, all of the dancers came together for the first time for a “dress” rehearsal in the Music Hall Ballroom – a practice space also donated for the flash dance surprise.
When the volunteer dancers ran through the routine, the collective effort and support for and from the arts community was apparent. “Dancers and organizers alike were smiling and teary from the shared experience,” said Waller.
On Thursday evening, dancers gathered on Fountain Square. They talked in small groups and listened to the opening band for Mid-Point Music Festival – also a partner in the Creative Team planning group. As the first band of the festival wrapped up, everyone on the square noticed as taped music started.
After three and half minutes of dancing, the dancers dispersed, smiling broadly, without a word. None were necessary.