ST. ALBANS – All was calm, until the children in black descended upon the crowd.
Though none in attendance would say the scene was exactly quiet during Saturday’s Kingman Street Klassic car show, the atmosphere was docile. A relaxing, sunny day graced those in attendance.
Then they began sprinkling themselves throughout the crowd, sometimes in groups of three, sometimes as lone wolves. All were focused on their mission. The rest of the crowd milled around beautiful vintage vehicles on Kingman Street, ate the summer foods, and were enjoying a generally peaceful event.
Abruptly, the atmospheric music stopped playing, and a new tune erupted from the speakers, surprising all who heard it.
One of the kids in black sauntered towards the middle of the street and started dancing to the music. Two more joined in, then two more. Within seconds, a group of 20 had appeared, dancing in sync with each other.
In addition to wearing all black, each youth had adorned a cap reminiscent of the Civil War era, suggesting that this was no ordinary random group of dancers; these kids had a message to tell.
As sudden as it began, the music stopped, and the kids scattered, distributing flyers to anyone who would take them. The Kingman Street Klassic car show had just witnessed a flash mob by the Electric Youth Dance Company designed to raise awareness for the upcoming 150th anniversary of the St. Albans Raid.
“We are doing flash mobs all over Franklin and Chittenden counties,” said Cheryl Kelly, lead dance teacher and organizer of the flash mob. “We are dancing for the raid. We want to go to the Franklin County Field days, Lake Monsters games, the Farmer’s Markets in Burlington and Enosburg, and anything else that will draw a crowd.”
Though Cheryl is a dancing veteran of more than 20 years, this type of awareness demonstration is new for her company.
“The first flash mob we’ve ever done was today,” she said. “I think it went really well. We’ve never done it before.”
The kids agree. Ranging in age from 10 to 16, the boys and girls of the Electric Youth Dance Company practiced for weeks in order to get the moves and synchronization just right.
“What I love about dancing is how it’s an escape,” said Kaylah Sailer, a St. Albans resident who participated in the flash mob. “If I’m having a hard day, I can just go dance, and it helps me through.
“It was fun to dance out in front of the people. Maia Morton, another dancer in the company. “I think [the flash mob] went really well.”
Cheryl considers the kids to be the power source of the Electric Youth Dance Company.
“The kids and their parents are the ones to remember,” said Cheryl. “Without them, this flash mob and any other performance wouldn’t be possible.
Soon after they completed at Kingman Street, the company preformed another flash mob across the street at the farmer’s market, distributing flyers describing the events that will occur during the weekend of the raid anniversary.
Warren Hamm, St. Albans Raid Committee co-chair, today thanked the Electric Youth Dance Company and its director, saying, “The dance company did a great job attracting attention to our September event. It was nice that the modern-day concept of a flash mob, something perhaps never before seen in St. Albans, was used to make the link to a one-of-a-kind event in our community’s and state’s history. We really appreciated it.”
The St. Albans Raid 150th Anniversary Commemoration is set for September 18-21, with history walks, raid re-enactments, a costume ball, lectures and more celebrating the northern-most land action during the Civil War. For more information, go to stalbans.com or Facebook St. Albans Raid – 150th Anniversary.
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The Messenger has video of the flash mob dance which will be posted soon at its website, samessenger.com.
Update: Check out the video now!