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Festival 2010 News Release

Sacred Dance Flash Mob Benefit July 29

Teen Dancer Inspires Flash Mob

Former Alvin Ailey Dancer Simply Soaring

An Artist Reflects on the Festival Logo

Faculty Concert Poster


Sacred Dance Guild Festival 2010
Simply Soaring - Flash Mob Dance
Presented: July 29, 2010
Site: City Pier, New London, Connecticut

Creating the Sacred Dance Guild's First "Flash Mob Dance"

A site specific dance creates a transformational experience. The site, the onlookers, and the dancers are all transfigured in the process. For the Sacred Dance Guild's first flash mob, four groups of dancers learned movement patterns choreographed by Marylee Hardenbergh, a renowned creator of site dances.

These patterns merged into a single dance, that burst forth, as if spontaneously, at the city Pier, where people were strolling, relaxing, and waiting for tour boats.

The results were powerful for both participants and onlookers, as evidenced by the remarks quoted here. Read more about how Marylee communed with the site and the participants to create this movement dream.

"I really freed myself, like never before, dancing in public."
~ Quote from a conference attendee

"I will remember this for the rest of my life."
~ Quote from a woman at the Pier

From The Choreographer
By Marylee Hardenbergh

I always form a strong intention before creating a dance. In this instance, the intention shifted as I studied the site. At first I planned to bring an awareness of sacred dance to the public; to have them see a Flash Mob that had a different feeling than those typically seen in Flash Mobs. But when I studied the site, there were very few passersby at the pier. On some evenings there were 3-8 folks, and on others there were 25. My intention shifted away from bringing Sacred Dance to the public to giving the gift of our own spiritual energy to the city. Thus, my final intention was to bring joy and beauty to the site. I think that we succeeded very well in this way.

The dance was 3:26 minutes in length. The choice of the music was, after huge deliberation, Chariots of Fire, a familiar piece of music that brings a sense of uplifting inspiration. The music does not contain lyrics, thus obviating any misinterpretation on the part of our unknown audience. In the performance's first part, we had three dancers on the stage performing a short phrase and then -- surprise! -- they all ran off the stage, bringing the audience's attention to three groups.

Our three groups were to bring the awareness from diverse aspects of the site into one whole. There was the "Phoenix" group along the railroad fence; the "Butterfly" group on the pier; and the "Swan" group who began on the floating dock. All three groups pulled in the distant perimeter energy into the center, where physically there was as intersection of the spaces. The whole group flowed together into a repeating circular wave pattern, which allowed for the "soaring" creatures to arrive in a gradual manner, where they did not have to all come together precisely at one moment. Then they soared into performing the unison phrase and ended with the ribbons coming fluttering out of nowhere to be raised into the four directions, and then as one they walked out toward the water with their ribbons held high and taut.

There were audience members who joined in spontaneously. I felt we had a real winner when several people approached me enthusiastically to request that we do it over again, at least two more times. They felt the magic and wanted to repeat it. We performed it three times between 7:40 and 8:10 PM.

My favorite part of the dance itself was the whole group coming together in the in-out waves and then bursting into unison.

The joy of the participants was palpable. One woman remarked that this performance had given her so much confidence as a sacred dancer because she found herself leaping onto benches in front of the fishermen and she felt that she brought them delight.

I enjoyed working with the Sacred Dance Guild very much. I was deeply honored to have been invited this year and have a vision for a future choreography with participants moving together in complete synchrony in an amazing structure that honors all of the participants and creates a feeling of deep harmony and belonging.

See Flash Mob photos here

Visit Marylee's Website and learn more about her work

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