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When Rundle Mall rumbled to Bollywood

It was a nice sunny Saturday afternoon when Francesca from Fusion Beats started her Bollywood performance as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2015 at Fringe Funhouse in Rundle Mall.

Very soon, people from across the crowds stepped forward to join her in what turned out to be the first ever Bollywood flashmob at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. All wearing red, they danced to a medley of Hindi songs including India Wale and Jai Ho. The energy, the grooves and the passion caught the attention of all the passersby who stopped in their tracks, mesmerised.

The Adelaide Fringe is an annual open access arts festival held in Adelaide during Feb-March. Anyone with a show, exhibition or cultural event is able to register and be part of the event. It is a massive festival with artists from all over the world participating alongside national and local artists. Performances range from cabaret, comedy, circus, dance, film, theatre, music, visual art and design.

A flashmob is a group of people (not necessarily dancers) who assemble into a group suddenly in a public place and take part in a random performance before quickly dispersing. In most cases they are camouflaged as audience members as you are not required to wear costumes or only certain people will. It is all organised through emails, social media etc.

“As an artist, the Fringe is an amazing platform to showcase cultural and dance performances,” Francesca, who runs Adelaide’s oldest Bollywood dance school Fusion Beats, told Indian Link.

In 2014 the school worked together with a Melbourne Bollywood Group called B Dances on a Fringe Show called ‘Desi Deewanna crazy Bollywood Dance Party’. It had performances and comedic skits and was a huge hit. When a friend organised a flashmob on social media, Francesca struck upon the idea of having a Bollywood flashmob as a part of Adelaide Fringe 2015.

There were four workshops organised prior to the actual event. “Social media played great part to bring everyone together,” Francesca revealed.

Most of the people that attended were strangers accompanied by Fusion Beats students. Participants in this flashmob were ranged from kids to older people, and not just limited to Indian ethnic groups. There even were families who participated together. A few mums and daughters who participated in the flashmob expressed this event was a kind of bonding exercise.

“I was a Bollywood performer in my previous life,” said Samual Lee,  a 25-year-old Malaysian born, Chinese-Japanese aspiring Bollywood dancer who has been in Australia for seven years and a part of Fusion Beats for two years. He aspires to be a Bollywood dancer one day, dancing along with his favourite Bollywood actors.

“I just couldn’t hold myself when I first heard Sheela Ki Jawani, and since then, that song has been my favourite,” Sam said .

Overall, it was a fantastic concept conceived and executed to demonstrate diversity and fun as a part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2015.

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