JCFA dancers star in new ‘Glee’ commercial

Butler University’s dance program proved “we can dance if we want to” in a flash mob performance at the State Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in downtown Indianapolis last Thursday.

The routine was part of a promotional video shot by Fox 59 for the season premiere of their hit musical-drama “Glee,” which has quickly chassèd up the charts since its appearance in 2009.

“A producer at Fox contacted me with the idea and I thought it would be ideal for the dance department students, particularly to kick off the new school year,” Butler dance professor Cynthia Pratt said.

A flash mob is orchestrated through different forms of media to bring as many people to one spot to congregate or complete an action.

The inspiration for the dance came directly from a “Glee” episode in which the actors jazzed to the 80s hit song “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats during a flash mob in the middle of a mall.

Just like in the “Glee” episode, Butler students received looks of shock and smiles when those around them realized they were caught in the middle of a musical.

The dance started with a small group of dancers dressed in colorful “Glee” T-shirts parading down the steps of the monument, dancing to the song.

As the music played, Jordan College of Fine Arts  (JCFA) dance students joined in on the act.

Some were dressed in regular street wear and surprised the person next to them when they jumped into the routine.

By the end of the three minute musical presentation, the at-first small group of 10 dancers became a group of 80, and the looks of surprise became beaming smiles as hands clapped and voices hollered for the Butler dancers who were cleverly blending their way back into the lunch crowd.

“No one had any idea that we were going to start dancing,” junior dance major and flash mob participant Emily Tashjian said. “We had no rehearsals at the location and there was no information sent to the public about anything that was going to happen.

“People may have been suspicious about the news trucks and a few cameras around, but overall everyone had no idea.”

Few Butler University students knew that the event was taking place, either.

“If I would have known Butler was going to do something this cool I would have taken my lunch downtown to watch it,” junior Chrissy Grubbs said. “Even some of my dancer friends didn’t tell me it was happening.

“There is so much talent in our small school dance department and no one really realizes it, but now the whole city knows.”

The flash mob performance may be new to the JCFA students but this isn’t the first outbreak of “Glee fever.”

In April, a group of around 1,000 people met in Seattle to partake in their own “Glee” flash mob presentation. Like the “spontaneous” one of the Butler students, this had also been planned far in advance according to KING 5 TV.

In May the outbreak appeared at Ohio State University where a group of 70 students and workers participated in a dance to “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey to promote the opening of their new student union.

Although few realized it was happening, information on the event had been sent out to a small group of people only a couple days before.

Like most students you may not have been able to see the act first hand, but there are videos of the Butler University flash mob performance on YouTube and even on the Fox 59 Web site, fox59.com. The video-link can also be found in the Butler Connection.

Pratt said JCFA has no other flash mob performances planned for Butler students.

It is a “one-time thing,” she said. If Fox 59 chooses to show the flash mob footage, familiar faces may be seen Sept. 21 at 8:00 p.m. during the channel’s season premiere of “Glee.”

Whether the recording is used or not, Pratt said she and the rest of the Butler community is proud of the spectacular performance done by the JCFA students.

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