Saturday 25 March 2017

Flashmob surprises royal sightseers

Students from the University of East London join a dance flashmob outside Buckingham Palace
Students from the University of East London join a dance flashmob outside Buckingham Palace

Sightseers at Buckingham Palace have been treated to a surprise performance as more than 100 dancers emerged from the crowds to take part in a royal "flashmob".

Tourists lining the Palace gates expecting to see the Changing the Guard ceremony were taken aback when dancers rose from the Queen Victoria memorial and began slapping their knees and clapping their hands.

Starting with just four dancers, the group quickly grew, with performers emerging from all corners of the crowd as bystanders looked both delighted and bemused.

The dancers, mainly students from the University of East London, clicked their fingers, stamped their feet and shook their bodies to a mix of funky beats including Queen's We Will Rock You and popular dance hit Show Me Love.

University of East London dance student Lucy Sam, 19, from Birmingham, said the choreography had been inspired by the royal wedding and explored romance using urban dance techniques.

"Our theme was Romeo and Juliet because of the royal wedding. It's just to celebrate Kate and William and their love," she said. "It was an amazing opportunity that I didn't want to miss out on. Everyone was so excited but the nerves didn't hit us until today."

Sightseer Tom Accor, 22, from Turin, Italy, said the cameras and mounting anticipation had made him think "something big" was about to happen.

"I saw the cameras before and thought it would be the Queen or Kate and William arriving but this was very surprising," he said. "The different ways of dancing were unexpected. The music was cool, it really got you moving."

The flashmob was secretly planned by Buckingham Palace to mark a royal reception which will honour young people in the performing arts. The event will be hosted by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh and will include a specially commissioned theatre performance in the Ballroom, inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet.

Additional dancers from other academies and training schools participated in the show, which was organised by Big Dance, the world's largest dance festival, due to take place in London in July. The performance lasted for five minutes and was watched by a crowd of more than 200 people visiting the Palace who visibly enjoyed the unique show.

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