Twist and Shout!

Patti WernerBy Patti Werner (@TriciaEl)

I love the first few beats of a song, when you’re either trying to figure out if you know it or you just want to jump up and start singing the lyrics. I’ve been dancing and cheering since I can remember and music is what makes all the performances I’ve ever done memorable. It’s an experience that’s completely engaging.

Some of the students that work in Reeve Union know that I have a passion for choreographing and dancing. When I got a call one morning from David Rathsack, asking to make up a flashmob dance, I was ecstatic. I didn’t care what my crazy schedule allowed me to do at that time because I knew making and instructing the dance would be a blast. And indeed it was.

After some meetings with the Reeve marketing manager, and my sister, Kate Unger, and her entourage, we decided to stay away from the ever-popular Michael Jackson songs. It seems now when you search “flashmob” on YouTube, there are countless videos of people doing the Thriller dance or a combination of Michael’s greatest hits. Who better than The Beatles and their song “Twist and Shout”? I think everybody loves a little Ferris Bueller and those who participated really were able to get into it, maybe even pictured themselves as one of the German girls on the float.

Finally we figured out the song, so what’s next? How about a late night of watching video clips of Ferris Bueller to get dance moves down and counting to eight over and over again. Once I finished choreographing it, Kate and I stayed up even later, adamant to videotape the dance so everyone could watch it online. I must say was awesome because everybody knew what they were doing at our first practice.

On opening day, I walked around the mall strip like everyone else getting my free candy from tables and popcorn from Kimmie Albertin and Tom Hanaway. So, there I am chewing on my yellow Starburst and I get a text from Kate saying, “Where are you!? I’m going to puke!” I made my way over to Polk to console her, while quickly realizing myself I might puke.

I’ve done countless performances in my life for dance and cheerleading, but nothing quite like this! There were about five cameras setting up to prepare and I think everyone was getting a little nervous.

I was told that the music would start any minute. Crap. Here we go. No backing out now.

Once I started dancing, everything just cleared out of my mind. I was laughing so hard with my friends as we started singing and watching the expressions on people’s faces. It was priceless. I started to notice after a few waves of dancers had joined in that spectators were pulling out their cameras, phones and electronics and were sharing the news with friends.

Success. We had done it. Once the song ended we all walked away as if nothing had happened.

Did you see the performance? What did you think?


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