Shoppers in Bolton got an unexpected treat when 21 young people started dancing in the town centre. The flash mob was the public debut of Switch, UK Youth’s partnership with Bolton’s The Phoenix arts project.
Claire Ryan, project worker with Switch, said: “The project is about bringing young people together who might not mix otherwise. Within the group there are various diverse backgrounds. The young people involved wanted to do a flash mob, as it’s about doing something to express unity.”
The flash mob performance included dancing, with rhythm provided by dhol drums. “We wanted to reach out to anybody in the street rather than put ourselves on a stage, where people are expecting a performance,” adds Claire.
Sean Jagger, aged 12, said: “I don’t do any performing arts in school and I had never really done dance before this. I was nervous performing at first, because I didn’t know what reaction we would get, but I discovered that some people watched and some people listened as they walked past.”
Switch is three-year partnership supported by the Big Lottery Fund. The project is bringing together young people to tackle prejudice and isolation and promote community action.
As part of UK Youth’s commitment to youth involvement, the project’s name was chosen by its members…..Switch was selected by young people as a title that expressed how the project is looking to change people’s perceptions and assumptions about each other.
Switch runs in Bolton and Oldham and with a base in The Octagon theatre. The project involves a diverse group in an exploration of dance, drama and music. During the earliest days of the project, group members brainstormed ideas and used their newly-acquired skills to put together the four-minute flash mob piece.
Read about the start of Switch.