“Hey! Get off the field!”
“What is she doing?!”
Some students in the Missouri Western crowd at the rivalry football game were yelling at the Northwest Missouri State University students who had rushed to the middle of the field during half time last Saturday. Others were left scratching their heads.
“I was really confused,” onlooker Lauren Dillon said. “All I thought was, ‘Who are these jerks interrupting half time?’ after they came out behind the band members.”
Then she realized one of the “Northwest” students dancing was her friend Robin Ussher.
Ussher and the other three dancers ripped off their green and white clothing to reveal Western gear. The confusion was over; the crowd went wild. They continued breaking it down on the field while several other Western students (46 total to be exact) randomly joined in sync.
Six months ago, student Erin Williams began to think of ideas to market Missouri Western virally for her independent study. ‘How about a flash mob?’ she wondered. Williams took the idea to her teacher, Dallas Henry, and he was on board right away. Williams, her classmate Shaun Allison and Henry did a lot of research on flash mobs at different schools, but they weren’t very popular—which made the idea even more significant. There was one during a basketball game at Kansas University, but the students only did it in the stands, not on the court. Williams planned on having the flash mob actually on the playing field, which would separate Western’s flash mob even more from others.
Williams thought it would be a good idea to do the flash mob at half time during the Northwest football game because nobody would be expecting it. They originally chose Katy Perry’s “Firework” for the song, but then they changed it to The Black Eyed Peas’ “The Time (Dirty Bit).”
“We wanted a steady beat that was good enough to pump up the crowd,” Williams said. “We also wanted a song that the band could jump in and start playing.”
Williams, who has been dancing since she was 3 years old, was deemed the choreographer. She came up with the total choreography in two days, four hours apiece.
“I wanted a dance that was cool and easy to learn for people who don’t dance,” Williams said.
The next step was recruiting students and teaching them the steps.
Everything was approved Saturday before the game, so Williams had them rehearse that night. Only 12 showed up. However, more students became involved as they rehearsed three more times.
“Everybody caught on fast,” Williams said. “Our rehearsals only lasted about two hours each.”
The final time the students rehearsed was on the field the morning before the game. They kept the event pretty quiet, considering the band didn’t know anything about it until that morning. Williams had told the drum line about the flash mob in advance, and member Daniel Cole thought it was nice change for half time.
“I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out at first, but it was a cool idea that broke away from the same old routine of half time,” Cole said.
Henry and other Theatre & Cinema students set up a total of ten cameras around the stadium before the game. By the end of the second quarter, the “flash mobbers” started getting giddy.
“We were really looking forward to the response of the crowd; we wanted to see just how confused they were,” Williams said.
The crowd was confused all right. Two minutes into half time, the “Northwest” students followed the drum line as they left the field. When the music started, that was their cue. The students, like Dan Banks danced during the whole song and enjoyed every minute of it.
“It reminded me of the old days playing football in high school,” Banks said. “It was great to be in the center of the field again. I was hyped up.”
The main goal of the flash mob was to promote Western, and it has been going pretty well considering the YouTube video (which can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNBr3Osigkk) has received 1,622 hits after only two days of being uploaded.
Banks, who was one of the two cops in the flash mob, thought the video looked very professional because of all the different camera angles. He thought the experience of the flash mob was that much better because Western had defeated Northwest.
“We also won the game, which was just icing on the cake.”