If you lived during the early 2000s, the phrase “flash mob” might evoke a vague sense of dread. The seemingly spontaneous gatherings, which often include some kind of performance, started out as a cool kid phenomenon and turned frustratingly quickly into a corporate marketing tool. By the end of the decade, there was a creepy feeling that, when watching a mob or a video of a mob, Something has been sold to you.
Then, several years and multiple transformations later, came Flash Pop.
Like their older cousins, flash Bobs involve mock impromptu gatherings in public. But according to the format Pop dance shop – a group of five performers that founder Vince Coconato describes as an “immersive dance crew” – the mob is lean, colorful and quirky. Featuring a performance routine with impressively simple choreography set to wedding playlist classics, and performed by a motley crowd of mostly untrained dancers, they bring the all-out spirit of a viral dance challenge to the outdoors. (And then, in the group’s shared video footage of each event, they were brought back online.)
Those who stroll down Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica a few days before Saturday may be strolling through it Latest Flash Pop. Eighty colorfully dressed thieves went to the cobblestones, and performed a disco dance to a remix of “Le Freak” by Chic. The climax was the reveal of pop star Paula Abdul, who mingled dancing with the audience and then hugging everyone close at hand.
Abdul, who began her career as a dancer, said in an email that she considers herself “for life” to Bob. (She befriended the pop while waiting in line at the airport.) “I’ve always been a huge supporter of dancers and choreography,” she wrote, “but this group embodies more than just movement.”
Over the past few years, Bob’s Dance Shop has built a loyal following around the healing power of dance party energy. “There is such a selflessness in it,” said the dancer. Sarah McRanor, better known as Smac, who has been involved in two Flash Bobs shows since connecting to the group on Instagram. “Everyone out there, whoever they are, has the same agenda, which is to have fun.”
Fun remains a priority. But in recent months, Bob’s Dance Shop has also begun positioning its events as acts of protest. Of the five major pop – coconato; performer Jacob Garcia, better known as Lito; Dancer and choreographer Lucas Hive; Music Cameron with K; Dancer and choreographer Malia Baker All but Becker are gay. (And, no, none of them are named Bob.)
Flash Bobs gained traction as conservative politicians across the United States pursued laws targeting LGBT rights. show “Boldly and strangely in publicA video caption was also read recently that became part of Bob’s mission.
“We like to call ourselves Joy Activists,” Coconato said. “And our activism is about queer joy because this is truly our own story.”
Coconato, 31, said he grew up “very close” in small town Florida. His first experience with dancing was as class president in high school, teaching fellow seniors to choreograph “stirring” choreographies for a homecoming crowd shortly after Michael Jackson’s death. Although he had no dance training, he was found to be a natural teacher. At the University of South Florida, he choreographed dances for his fraternity, and organized the first fast mob—this was at the end of the first wave of the trend—for 300 students.
After college, Coconato went to his family and friends, moved to Los Angeles, and worked for a video post-production company. One day, he puts on a yellow T-shirt embroidered with the name “Bob” to work. An unsuspecting customer said, “Hey Bob! What’s your story?” Coconato comically improvised a character he later realized was inspired by his own transformation: a gay Southern choreographer named Bob.
Coconato was considering organizing another flash mob, after his college success. “And I had this moment of, ‘Oh, a fast mob named Bob,'” he said. The first ever Flash Popa gambol camped out on the same Santa Monica Boulevard that served as the final stage, with Coconato wearing Bob’s yellow jersey.
After losing his day job, Coconato registered the name Bob’s Dance Shop, and in December 2019 began hosting pop-up dance classes in rented studios, advertising on Instagram and teaching celebratory dances to those who attended. Chaps preserved the tongue-in-cheek spirit, and some of the spontaneous feel, of Bob Flash.
When the pandemic hit, Koconato and a few friends crowded into a home in Los Angeles. With in-person classes, not to mention flash mobs, which is impossible, Coconato recruits two dance-savvy roommates, Lito and Hive, to help him turn Bob’s Dance Shop virtual.
They joined several creatives in the dance and then gave free Instagram Live lessons, and started filming cheerful choreography videos Leto said it had “big pop energy”, as well as stylish production values. A few months later, as their online audience grew, they invited Kameron, a friend from the music scene, to become part of their growing crew. (Baker, the newest member, joined this year to help choreograph as the group’s projects increased in volume.)
In June 2021, with the easing of Covid restrictions, Pop plans a big celebration IRL. On Father’s Day, they ride the flash bob that will determine their fate: 50 dancers perform “Around the World (La La La)” to a cheering crowd at Ocean View Park. Screenshots from the event, posted on Instagram And Tik Tok Shortly thereafter, it spread by leaps and bounds.
“I think everyone was so happy—really desperate—to be outside and dancing together, or even to see that possible again,” Coconato said.
Since then, Bobs have been gathering everywhere, from Grand Central Station in New York to Buckingham Palace in London. They’ve been invited to The Flash Red carpetand appeared at the Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits music festivals. Last year they were asked to “transplant” the pop flash for the musical duo Sophie Tucker, and immersed themselves in the audience before inviting them on stage. Now they are touring with the band and with the DJ and producer Purple disco machine.
“They are world-class organizers,” Sophie Tucker’s Sophie Hawley-Wild and Tucker Halpern wrote in an email.
Over time, the group has honed the Flash Bob formula. Each event begins with a ticketed workshop, a two-hour dance class where anyone enthusiastic enough can learn a short choreographed routine—and culminates in a mob-style performance for an unsuspecting audience. Pops usually teach some basic steps that have become signature “poppographies”, such as “people dance” (touch your far shoulder, touch your near shoulder, raise your hand above your head) and “flamingo” (touch your index and middle fingers on your thumb, raise your hand over your head).
While these aren’t moves from the slang of a TikTok dance challenge, the philosophy is similar. “It’s all about making a dance language that’s both learnable and repeatable,” Coconato said.
It is also a language shaped by the LGBTQ culture. “The way we perform is inspired by the queer community and the drag community,” Leto said. Much of the group’s choreography includes elements of vogging, a style pioneered by black and Latino dancers. Lip-synching, a staple of drag shows, factors into nearly every performance.
With LGBTQ rights under attack, the Bobs began explicitly framing their performances and videos as activism. He said Coconato wants to strategically select future Flash Pop sites. There are plans to host one in Tennessee, which recently Prohibited gender confirmation sponsorship For transgender youth and restricted drag shows, in June this year. He also hopes to crowd the deep red Florida countryside, where he grew up.
“You just want to flood those areas with as much joy as possible,” he said.
Also Need More Joy: The Spirited Commercial Dance Industry. Bob’s Dance Shop initially existed largely outside of mainstream professional dance, with most of its members, performers, and fans coming from non-dance backgrounds. Now it is gaining a following among professionals seeking a more relaxed, upbeat approach to performance.
Baker, whose credits include dancing to “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and choreography to “So You Think You Can Dance,” said she was feeling “sad and frustrated” by the competitiveness of professional dance before joining the Bobs. Smac, who competed on both “So You Think” and “Dancing With Myself,” described the Flash Bob workshops as “stress-free environments, which is unprecedented for professional dancers.”
Next month, four of the five Pops will move to New York City from Los Angeles. They hope moving their base to the East Coast will help them make better connections to the worlds of theatre, music and fashion, areas they would like to explore further. Social media may have been the group’s path to pandemic-era success, but now the focus is on personal good vibes.
Coconato said, “Where we’re most excited about growing is not the social platform, it’s the physical platform—the stage, the amphitheater, the concert.”
Whatever other projects the group might take on, their Flash Bobs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Or, alternatively, they go to many undisclosed places at many undisclosed times.
“The element of pleasant surprise will always be at the heart of what we do,” Coconato said.
“Typical beer trailblazer. Hipster-friendly web buff. Certified alcohol fanatic. Internetaholic. Infuriatingly humble zombie lover.”
Rep. Maxwell Frost yells “F – k DeSantis” at Paramore’s party
Harry and Meghan Markle will regret not having the children around the royal family
Padma Lakshmi is leaving Top Chef after its 20th season