The concept was simple - a groom wanted to surprise his bride with a flash mob at their wedding, since she had mentioned how cool she thought it'd be <3
It was to take place in Sebastapol, a quaint, upscale town in the heart of Sonoma wine country about an hour from my house when I lived in Marin County, CA.
I found out about this event by signing up as a dancer with Flash Mob America. They coordinated everything. First, we got our instruction videos. Unfortunately, I didn't practice first! I was just super busy at work and I knew we had 6 hours worth of rehearsals scheduled.
On Saturday and Sunday, we rehearsed in this tiny dance studio in downtown Sebastapol that had the air circulation of a metal garbage can in the desert. It was sweltering. I was sweating my butt off.
The choreography was much more challenging than other flash mobs I'd been in. At a Union Square flash mob for a major cosmetics brand just a few weeks before, I danced for about a minute and a half and the moves were pretty simple.
For this dance, we performed to the Glee mashup of Rihanna's "Umbrella" and "Singin' in the Rain". There were three sections, two of which involved dancing with umbrellas closed, then opened.
The prospect of trying to dance with props kind of freaked me out, but I was THRILLED to get to perform to "Singin' in the Rain"! One of my all-time favorite musicals EVER!
So, after Saturday's rehearsal, we were making really good progress with the first two sections. But that last section - the one in which we had to twirl and wave giant umbrellas without impaling each other - was kind of a mess. We had less than an hour left that night to learn it and practice it and it wasn't pretty.
Of course, that night I had a nice series of anxiety dreams about missing rehearsal interspersed with compulsive reviews of the music and choreography!
The next day our rehearsal went much better. We mastered the choreography and learned the blocking (how we would enter and leave, and our positions for dancing).
Then, for some reason, our departure time got bumped up and we had about 15 minutes to transform from soaking wet sweaty dancers into presentable-looking "catering staff".
We got shuttled over to the reception location and hung out (in hiding) on the entrance road. By this time, the group of about a dozen dancers were feeling pretty bonded. We were all excited, but nervous too. Would we remember the steps? Could we pull it off without blowing the surprise? Would the bride like it or freak out that we'd ruined her wedding?
There was a lot of nervous waiting, and then we got the cue to get in position. Only the groom and wedding coordinator knew what was happening, so it was important to be inconspicuous. I was lucky enough to be positioned by one of the cottages on the property - most of the dancers were literally hiding in the bushes.
And here's how it all went down:
I was blown away by the response from the crowd! They were hooting and hollering, laughing and clapping. This is really what I love about performing - the energy you share with your audience. It's exhilarating and overwhelming. It's love and bliss.
It was all so gratifying. The bride loved it. The guests loved it. The groom was happy. And we were all just thrilled to have been a part of it.
This is what I love about dance. It's not about how I look, or the moves I can master in my living room, or how many dance classes I can take - it's about sharing joy together.
* An earlier version of this post originally appeared on Follow-My-Lead.com on November 4, 2011.