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Flash Mob Passover, Zoom Bolero and… the Thousand-Hand Guanyin dance
By Byron Toben
As reported earlier, there is a host of theatre, readings, film, music and dance performances for us housebound COVID-19 souls to view these days. I am concentrating on those that are free or very minimal cost.
Improved technology like Zoom has enhanced dramatic performances, especially with small casts, proving again that in the absence of costumes, backdrops, special effects, “the play’s the thing”. A good script, well delivered, and appropriate expression from the talking heads and voilà!
But today, I would like to start with the new normal of the “Flash Mob”.
Improved technology like Zoom has enhanced dramatic performances, especially with small casts, proving again that in the absence of costumes, backdrops, special effects, “the play’s the thing”.
Flash Mob excerpts, which I have incorporated occasionally in an article, began in 2003. instigated by Bill Wasik, a journalist now with Harper’s Monthly, with a takeover of a floor at Macy’s department store by “spontaneous” musicians who played free for passing customers, it was a sort of “lark” for the performers. It gradually evolved into larger presentations in public squares, having much in common with “happenings” and “performance art”. See again, my Passover and Easter… then and now post featuring a Passover “Mash-Up” event.
These large group events were slowly phasing out around 2018 and hit a dead end with the advent of the pandemic.
But artistic people are not quitters. See how the famous New York Julliard School of Music has turned Ravel’s classic Bolero to advantage with individualized youthful exuberance:
Still, group happenings and Zoom-type offerings will each continue to have their time and place.
In closing, I cannot resist this non-spontaneous, not individually realized Thousand-Hand Guanyin dance by 63 deaf Chinese performers which was performed at the Olympic games in China.
Feature image: frame from Thousand-Hand Guanyin video
Read more articles from Byron Toben
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.
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