Guests at the Olds College Christmas Party were in their seats listening to the year-end awards ceremony when a group of women got up and started to dance.
They weren’t performers and this wasn’t on the agenda.
The dancers were employees at the college and this was a flash mob.
A flash mob is when a group of people appear seemingly out of nowhere and launch into a performance, like a dance, play or pillow fight. The group usually leaves as quickly as it appeared.
It’s a recent phenomenon made possible by the ability of email and social media to communicate with large groups of people.
According to Shawna Cevraini, who helped organize the flash mob, the idea was born at a Friday morning coffee break at Olds College.
The training and software analyst says that a group of women from the college had begun to get together to support each other, build morale and make connections with other working women.
The flash mob seemed like a good way to bring the group together, she says.
The women practised twice a day for the two weeks prior to the event, though the first time the whole group was together was the night of the party, when a total of 43 women participated in the five-minute dance.
The audience was “so shocked,” Cevraini says. Especially the men, as most of the women were either dancing or in on the secret.
The secrecy may have created a new rivalry, because the men now want to plan a surprise of their own, she says.
“The boys want to challenge us!”