Sunday, October 4, 2009


Yesterday I tried something that I had always wanted to do, but hadn’t formally done, learning how to mob flash dance. (Okay, truth be told, I really wanted to learn to dance since childhood when my cousins took tap dance lessons, but there was never enough extra money in our household for this.) This past summer dancing came to the forefront of my mind when one of my LA girlfriends and USC Cinema classmates, Lynne Oropeza, directed me to her performance at the Hollywood & Highland Thriller mob flash dance, via Facebook. (of course, Lynne, in the red hat, has years of ballet training and I have two left feet : -)

Mob flash dance (Thriller) @ Hollywood and 
Highland mall on July 25, 2009.

The dance looked like so much fun that I really wanted to try this, if given the opportunity…then fate dropped this in my lap when P650 classmate Nancy told me about a group that was teaching Thriller two times a week in BLOOMINGTON as a fundraiser for The Middle Way House and to break a world record! The big question is: I know I have severe limitations, since my sequential limit appears not to be 7 but more around 4, so could I memorize the sequence of steps? Could I learn the dance by October 24th to take part in a mob flash dance that evening at 8:30? (And will I be able to dance after a long day at the Arduino presentation/workshop and being with our MIT guests?)

At the dance studio I soon realized I had good company during the lesson: Nancy attended with her daughter (see her pre-dance blog: and Tom joined me for moral support, which he found quite enjoyable (it was at that challenging but not frustrating level)…YEAH!! (Yes, Ellen…we are patiently waiting for you to join the mob! ; -)

What I learned during the FREE lesson (my favorite word as a single grad student : -) was the instructor used chunking, that is putting sequences of movements together for ease of remembering. She would first demonstrate, at a slow pace-with her back to us while facing a mirror, the moves along with auditory cues like: right, left, right, left, back, left, right, along with teaching us the names for certain steps like Bootie Bounce…(who could forget that name?!), then we would try it with lots of repetition eventually picking up the speed to go with the actual soundtrack pace, then adding it to the previously learned steps for continuity. For me, it was exciting to see how I was picking up many of the steps, meaning that new connections/webs were being formed in this brain that’s over a half a century old (did I REALLY just admit that?!). Being a visual person, I’m finding the combination of kinetics, with the auditory words, the visualization of the dance, and of course my personal interest to learn the dance, has greatly increased my sequential abilities. To me…that’s time well spent!

The burning question is: can this transfer over and enable me to dance my way through Joshua’s P544 class? I think a musical version of Socio-Cultural Theory may be needed : -)


  1. I was wondering how to entertain Leah & crew that night, I guess you're suggesting we should all attend?! I want to be the first to hear this musical version of socio-cultural theory!

  2. I am SO in awe of you and your dancing skills. (Not to mention your bravery and quick willingness to jump in and learn something new.) So, of course, my question is, can a learning scaffolding method like "chunking" be applied in less kinesthetic contexts (aka English Class), and, if so, what would it look like?

  3. Kylie...I may have been a bit too excited, as I haven't practiced since my first class; thus I am bound for the back, BACK row ; -)

    Still working on the socio-cultural musical, you'll be the first to know when it's complete!