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‘Busting a Move’ at a Convention

How are flash mobs making their mark on meetings?

Wikipedia defines “flash mob” as a “large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then disperse.” The term is applied only to “gatherings organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral e-mails.”

Does it have a place in conventions? Since this seemingly spontaneous bit of entertainment interjects an element of surprise and fun, maybe it’s not totally pointless. Last month, the “first ever restaurant industry flash mob dance” was coordinated by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) at the 2010 NRA Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show. According to NRA’s website, the mob dance, set to Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance,” was choreographed by dancer Christina Chen (that’s her in front), exclusively for the NRA show at Chicago’s McCormick Place. The participants included show attendees, chefs, culinary students, exhibitors, and others:

Here’s what happened when the Opera Company of Philadelphia performed a “Flash Brindisi” at the Reading Terminal Market:

Unusual, yes. Pointless, perhaps. But it’s okay in my book if the only point of these flash performances is to surprise and delight audiences.

Michelle Russell

Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.