Four weeks of practice, a lifetime of community spirit

A couple of weeks ago, visitors and locals alike were surprised on a late afternoon when a group of over 100 Grand Bahamians broke into spontaneous dance in Port Lucaya Square.  Timed to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day, the square was filled with parents and children dressed in green; participants weighing their fish from a local tournament and college students enjoying their spring break. In other words, the square was hopping. Music was pulsating through the sound system as young children ran around and hopped to the beat.  Suddenly out of the crowd a young and beautiful girl skipped into the square and began to dance. The children didn’t pay much attention although one or two began to watch. She was alive with the music – energetic and graceful.  As she continued to move, more people stopped whatever they were doing to watch.  A group of  women skipped into the square to join in. Now they were dancing in time with our young lady. What was this?  The crowd began paying attention and reached for their cameras and cell phones.  Suddenly a third group ran into the square, picked up the beat and before we knew it, there were over 30 people dancing  to the Calypso song, HOT,HOT,HOT ( by Montserrat socca artist Alphonsus Cassell). The air began to fill with whistles and shouts. As if on cue, men, women and children of all ages skipped into the square-put their hands over their heads- and danced.  The energy was nothing short of electric.  All of Port Lucaya Square sashayed and shimmied together.  Never had so many people danced to one beat on the island.

Within three minutes the music ended. People sauntered off the square as if nothing had happened. Grand Bahama had witnessed its first  flash mob.

And yes, the flash mob was my idea. I wanted to bring a smile to the faces of Grand Bahamians who have had their share of economic difficulties. I wanted a “feel good” moment.  But I couldn’t have created it without the goodwill and commitment of our participants and volunteers. They’re the real story! My Co-Organizer Prudence Gallagher,owner of the beautiful clothing store Bandolera; Choreographer Jullion Collie of the Bahamas Dance Theatre; Camera direction by Dave Mackey of Mackey Media; Stage direction by Jackie Dack;  Photography filming by Lyndah Wells, Mark Winder, Rico Thompson, Lisa Davis, Nicole Leblanc, Frankie Ladéyo, Catherine Macleay, Karen Clarke, Marcus Bethel, David Mackey and Nicholas Rolle….and of course, our participants  numbering over 100 children and adults who devoted themselves to meeting twice a week for a month to practice our dance moves. Thank you all!!

Below are two links for your viewing pleasure. They are the “official” and “unofficial” videos of the moment. Both are a delight and I invite you to watch them. They’ll be sure to put a smile on your face.

About The Grand Bahama Heritage Foundation

The Grand Bahama Heritage Foundation was founded several years ago to tell the story of our island's heritage by intertwining Art and History together. Through our Artist in Residence Program, we develop fresh ways to collect the oral stories of our islanders, which are recorded through multi-media projects. Last year, A QUESTION OF FAITH: THE JOURNEY OF FREETOWN told the story of the first freed slave settlement on Grand Bahama. Our Artist in Residence, Lauren Austin, a fiber artist now living in China, led our group of multi-generational participants in monthly workshops designing memory quilts. As part of the project, articles of historical/personal interest were brought in to be discussed and documented. The project ended in a well received public exhibition, where the original artwork, historical photographs and Bahamian music were displayed. We are now beginning our next project, HATTITUDES: Hats and the Bahamian Ladies who wear them. A collaborative art circle will be used to interview and photograph modern day ladies with a love of hat fashion. We will try to uncover the link between Colonial and African heritage in today's hat fashions and the influence on them in Bahamian culture.
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5 Responses to Four weeks of practice, a lifetime of community spirit

  1. Indy says:

    Excellent job Laurie it was an amazing experience!!!

  2. Paula's Paradise says:

    It was so magical being there and watching the historic fun unfold with the island’s (maybe even The Bahamas’!?) very first flash mob! Congrats to you for a fabulous idea and to the whole team for bringing it to life so vibrantly and beautifully. Grand Bahama’s got it goin’ on!!! High fives All.

  3. vitamin d says:

    You are so interesting! I do not believe I’ve read through something like that before.
    So great to discover somebody with some original thoughts on this subject.

    Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing
    that’s needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

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