Anti bullying flash mob brings message of acceptance

Unsuspecting lunchtime shoppers at Oakridge Centre were surprised by a flash mob performance by students from two Vancouver schools.

On January 27, three hundred students from Churchill Secondary and David Lloyd George Elementary took over the main lobby of the centre to perform a dance performance to Bruno Mars hit song "Just the way you are."

The idea for the flash mob came from David Lloyd George administrators who were looking for a positive way for their students to support Day of Pink, the International day against bullying, discrimination and homophobia which will be celebrated in Vancouver schools on Wednesday Feb 23.

During the three minute performance the student dancers wore pink shirts with the words "Acceptance" in reference to Day of Pink.

David Lloyd George's Principal Mette Hamaguchi said "It was a very positive experience for everyone involved and the hardest part of the whole process was not letting the secret out." Parents were asked to stay home and watch the video online since the most important aspect of a flash mob is that it takes bystanders by surprise.

How to form a flash mob

Hamaguchi first approached Churchill's dance teacher Edna James with the idea for the flash mob in the Fall of 2010. James enlisted the help of her leadership students and met with Anita Perel-Panar, director of A Star Studio Productions Society, who James knew as the producer of High School High, an annual Hip Hop dance competition.

Perel-Panar engaged the help of Jheric Hizon who is known by many as the man behind the exciting dance choreography in the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The choreographers came up with original dance moves that reflected the sentiment of the song and which would show the power of acceptance and friendship between the students.

To ensure she had her student's full participation, Hamaguchi made the dance rehearsals mandatory credit but she had no problem convincing students to stick to the task as they clearly enjoyed the chance to perform.

Churchill's leadership students and the choreographers met with the elementary students weekly over a three month period to rehearse the dance. Special thanks to the following leadership students for their hard work and dedication: Shireena Dhillon, Tina Hong, Chano Hwang, David Lee, Colin Mai, Dasha Popova, Roxanne Urbano and Rachel Woo.

The Vancouver School Board invites everyone to celebrate diversity by sharing the link to this video and by wearing a pink shirt to work or school on Feb 23.

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