They appear in a flash and get you dancing
By Ellen Futterman
Flash Dance

Natalie Bram, 15, (left) from South County dances with Elliot Burton, 17 (left) from Affton, at the top of the Muny during a flash dance prior to the musical Hello Dolly! Friday. Both are part of the volunteer Muny Teen program. (Dan Eldridge/P-D)

They call themselves flash dancers. No, they aren't extras from the 1983 movie starring Jennifer Beals and ripped sweatshirts, but rather dancers who gather spontaneously. Remember the "flash mob" concept of a few years ago, when large groups of people showed up at a certain place on short notice? Well, this is a lot like that, except that flash dancers actually dance.

On a recent Friday night, nearly 100 flash dancers descended on the Muny in Forest Park before the curtain went up on "Hello Dolly!" to get the crowd moving. Dancers from 10 states were there to join the action at the park, and more came to take part in a weekend of workshops centered around waltzing and contra dancing.

"The crowd loved it," said Greg Rohde, who helped organize the event and served as its emcee. "It helped that I made an announcement at the beginning that we weren't there to perform but to participate with the crowd."

Rohde explained that the flash dancers hooked into "Hello Dolly!" because of a scene in which Dolly gives a waltz lesson. "We were there to give (the crowd) one-on-one lessons just like she did," Rohde said.

For more information on upcoming flash dances and contra dancing, go to

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This page last updated on October 30, 2007.