Belly Dance

Belly Dance Flash Mobs – Love them or hate them?

Flashmob Raqs sharqi

There has been so much great feedback on the post I did about dancing beyond the age of 40 and 50, but I wonder if this will be the post that breaks the camel’s back? Is this the post where you will all disagree with me and have a very differing opinion? I would love to hear your comments at the end of this post, a post which this time is about ‘Flash Mobs, in particular, belly dance flash mobs!

What is a Flash Mob and Why Do People Organise them?

Some of you will have absolutely no clue at all when I refer to ‘flash mobs’. If you have not heard of a flash mob, then I am sure you probably think that it is something quite seedy and you have this image of belly dancers flashing their body parts! That is not quite what a flash mob is though. Flash Mobs have been around for just over 10 years or so and the idea is that a group of people will gather together in a public place and then suddenly start doing a performance together in front of the general public.

When flash mobs were very first done, it was usually big companies organizing these events, to promote their products and, since then, some big brands have continued to use this concept. Over the last 10 years though, many small groups have done their own flash mobs and to the point, I feel, that these events have almost become sometimes tacky and a little dated. The other side of it though, is that these events do seem always to make people smile and certainly no one is harmed. They are a form of free entertainment for those who want to stop and enjoy them. I guess the reason I do enjoy the concept so much, is because I really enjoyed the original point of them and that was that the flash mobs were unexpected and original and that is what made them special. Flash mobs have now become so commonplace that they are perhaps no longer really flash mobs but what we could just term ‘live performances’. If we take away the name flash mobs and just call them public performances, then it makes sense and we all love a live performance.

There is another side to the flash mobs and that is that some are done for very worthy causes, such as for ‘Breast Cancer’ and other fantastic causes! Belly dance communities all over the world usually love getting involved in worthy causes, most often organising hafla to raise money for charity. However, flash mobs can be another creative way of raising funds for charity. Click here if you would like to read more about inspiring stories of altruism in belly dance.

Example Belly Dance Flash Mobs

Copenhagen Airport

Confusing Live Performances v Flash Mobs

The example below, which takes place in Vilnius, Lithuania, is posted as a Flash Mob event but it is actually a normal dance performance i.e. there is no element of surprise to the general public. People in the video seem to be expecting the event. I am all for live belly dance! I am not sure that this is really a flash mob though?! Maybe it does not matter, but, in talking about flash mobs, there seems to be a lot of confusion over the difference of live performances v Flash Mobs. Take a look at the video below in Vilnius:

The performance though itself is nice and the dancers are clearly having a lot of fun!

These dancers below are also having fun:

Your Experiences and Videos

Have you, as a belly dance group, ever held a flash mob event? I would love to get your stories and videos and experiences and to add them below, so that I can share them. How does the element of surprise change the performance for you? Is it time perhaps I tried doing a belly dance flash mob myself?

Useful Links

Shimmy Mob – This is an organisation that raises awareness and funds for local domestic violence shelters by organising belly dance flash mobs/performances.

Do you know of other organisations that promote worthy causes through belly dance flash mobs? If so, and you would like them to be mentioned on this page, please feel free to comment below or to contact me!

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Valeria is a dance researcher completing a PhD in dance and heritage. Valeria also teaches and performs as a belly dance but also enjoys learning ballet, jazz dance and other dance genres.

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4 thoughts on “Belly Dance Flash Mobs – Love them or hate them?

  1. Beverly

    I’ve been involved with Shimmy Mob, a flash mob type event that raises awareness and funds for local domestic violence shelters, for the past 3 years. Because the term “flash mob” often has a negative connotation with retailers, we avoid it in this area. We simply say “performance”. We dance in matching t-shirts and black dance pants, so it’s hard to create the total element of surprise, although people do generally begin to come around asking us what we are about to do. We did perform in one place where some of us moved outside to perform, so that did create total surprise. When we did that, the donations increased, the crowd got more involved, and they asked us to bring the whole group out for another performance. So, that was great fun and very encouraging.

    I would love to be part of one like the one at the Copenhagen airport in the video above because I think the element of total surprise would add to the fun.

    • ValeriaLo Post author

      Hi Beverly, thank you for posting this comment. I have checked the Shimmy Mob’s website and the idea is fantastic and the cause very worthy!

      • Beverly

        Definitely a worthy cause. Over 200 cities were involved this year, so that’s a ton of awareness being raised.

  2. Fateen

    I would love to participate in a belly dance flash mob. Unfortunately, we don’t have a group leader in the area for Shimmy Mob. I look for one every year. The airport one was great with surprise since everyone was wearing normal clothes. I think that also helped point out the variety of dancers in terms of ages, sizes, lifestyles, etc. I was really able to see the variety of women. You can only ‘flash’ mob so much when dancers are in full costumes, but I still love the idea of a performance put on by random dancers who may have never seen each other before but have learned a common choreography. I would do both if they were around me! Yep, I’m just a little jealous of those who have been able to do these.


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