A surprise dance spectacle spearheaded by Dr Vikrant Kishore and his production team helped launch the annual creativity festival (CREATE 2308) at the University of Newcastle in striking fashion.
On the morning of Monday18 August, at the historic Auchumuty Courtyard, over 60 dancers flooded the grounds with a multicultural flash mob fanfare. Three dance groups showcased their cultural dance styles which culminated into a grand finale that featured all dancers and members of the public.
Students, staff and visitors alike were caught unaware by the flurry of ‘flash mob’ dancers, who suddenly appeared and performed a variety of cultural dances which included, Afro Dancehall, Salsa and Bollywood.
The impromptu performance began with one of the choreographer’s –Lija Turner-Caroll bursting out into an African dance hall solo amidst a group of students having a conversation, as more unexpected dancers progressively joined her in a high-energy and rhythmically explosive routine.
At this point, the courtyard was filled with hundreds of curious by-standers, as a sea of salsa dancing couples join the flash mob arena, followed by a group of exuberant Bollywood dancers. A shower of confetti and streamers busted into the sky with vivid colours as the act crescendoed into the final flash mob performance and all three dance groups united to perform in unison.
CREATE 2308, is an annual community showcase for the University’s leading creative disciplines and for other faculty’s to have an opportunity to step onto the creative platform. More importantly, the festival brings together staff and students as typified by the collaborative nature of the flash mob project. Such activities aim to enhance on-campus experiences by breaking barriers and exposing staff, students and the community to each other.
“The rehearsals and organisation was fantastic and I was so stoked with how it all turned out. I definitely would like to do dancing post flash mob,” said Harzl, Bachelor of Primary/ Bachelor of Arts student, public flash mob participant.
“After attending my first Flash Mob today at The University Of Newcastle for their “Create 2308” festival I have to say I had a super fun time – I had no idea what to expect as I have not been to an event like this before, but I was really impressed with the positivity, passion and spontaneous nature of it all. I noticed that a diverse mix of people from many different cultures attended today which to me highlights the fact that dance, colour and music can bring us all together regardless of race or religion. I would definitely love to do something like this again,” said Alex, a Melbourne based DJ and restaurant manager, who was in Newcastle to visit a friend.
“I felt that the flash mob was a success! It was great to see different dance styles used to raise cultural awareness on campus,” said Chelsea, a primary teaching student, African dance hall participant.
“Being a part of the Uni flash mob has allowed me to work with great people with a common passion for performing and Bollywood dance which has been extremely fun and rewarding. I hope that in the future there will be more opportunities like this where I can get involved in the Uni community as well as learn other styles of dance,” said Piyumi, a medical student and Bollywood dancer).
Flash mob director and lecturer Dr Kishore took part in CREATE 2308 festival last year and contributed a Bollywood music video that was quite well received.
“The students really enjoyed the experience of being part of the project,” explained Dr Kishore.
Since then, several media production team members and talent from the music video have followed Dr Kishore on a myriad of domestic and international projects that have ranged from more music videos, the debut of an International Bollywood Conference in Newcastle and a raft of documentaries. So, when Dr Kishore was asked to submit another piece to CREATE 2308 this year, he was tempted by the grand nature of a dance flash mob and decided to reunite the production team once again for the project.
“’We put a lot of time and effort into getting the music just right. A flash mob is meant to be quick and surprising, which meant each different dance group had to keep their routine short, which meant a lot of audio editing, cutting and mixing lots of different songs together. In the end it sounded very smooth and the audience really got into it, which is always great to see,” explains Brad, a videographer and music editor.
There is no doubt the Team Kishore will be reunited again as Dr Kishore listed the series of projects still in the pipeline.
“There is another contemporary Bollywood music video that will be released soon and planning has started for a feature film- Bollywood in Newcastle”.
The screening for the University flash mob will debut at Derkenne courtyard’s outdoor cinema at the Callaghan campus on 20 August 5:30pm.