Flash mob brings Pine Lake community together

Debbie Liam, a Pine Lake resident, teaches the choreography for this year’s Pine Lake Lakefest flash mob.

“First you put your arms up in an angle, like this,” 6-year-old Blais Liam demonstrated, holding her arms stick straight in a Y shape.

“Then, make an M in front of your face. Not on top of your head like a monkey!” she continued.

“Then make a C — to the left! — and look left.”

“Next make the A, a triangle over your head. Don’t put your arms too close to your head and squish your face!”

Blais patiently explained the dance moves to The Village People’s 1978 disco hit “Y.M.C.A” to a handful of Pine Lake residents and visitors practicing for a flash mob.

Practicing for a flash mob sounds counterintuitive. Flash mobs seem like groups of people who spontaneously gather in public spaces, but in actuality, the mobs are carefully coordinated for maximum entertainment value.

Blais’s mom, Debbie Liam, led around 10 people, kids and adults, in the rest of the choreography. She started the flash mob tradition at Pine Lake’s Lakefest in 2013 and is continuing it this year. She first participated in a flash mob during One Billion Rising, a campaign to end violence against women.

“What I found, because I have had some dance experience, that I could call out the choreography a few moments ahead. People who learn flash mobs have a variety of experiences, in terms of dancing. I was calling it out and before you know it I had this little crew around me and I was calling out all the moves. So I said, ‘I’m going to do this.’”

During Lakefest last year, Liam and other Pine Lakers danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”
This year’s Lakefest will take place on Oct. 4 and 5 along the shores of Pine Lake’s signature community water feature. At some time during the festival the mob will descend and start their routine, both to “Y.M.C.A.” and “Macho Man.” Liam also incorporated some elements of “Thriller” into this year’s dance.

Liam previously has taken dance classes and taught dance-based aerobics for many years. However, she emphasizes that the flash mob is for everyone, not just those with dance experience.

“Dance is really intimidating for a lot of people, especially performances,” she said. “But a flash mob, and especially the way I’m advertising it, is that it’s for people of all ages, no dance experience needed. I’m really trying to make it friendly.”

Notices for the flash mob are put out on Pine Lake’s listserv and spread through Liam’s network of friends. She gets Blais to invite school friends along, too.

“There are some people in Pine Lake who would never come out and dance, but they did with encouragement. We don’t need a stage – you do your own costumes. It’s a way for people to come outside, and to try something and perform if they have never had that experience.”

Dancers interested in participating in the flash mob can contact Liam at Debbie@MosaicCounseling.net

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