Facebook mob plans to dance on SkyTrain

Vancouver Sun

More than 5,000 people could show up this Saturday in a Facebook flash mob to stage a silent dance on Vancouver’s SkyTrain.

And while SkyTrain is ready to welcome the thousands of wannabe dancers who are planning to converge at its Granville station, the transit organization is hoping they’ll leave some of the traditional party ingredients at home. Like booze.

“It really is something to have people just sort of celebrate and we are glad to be part of it,” said SkyTrain spokeswoman Jennifer Siddon. “But the same rules apply; you have to pay your fare and respect the rules of the system.

“The main one is whenever you hear the word party, some people think it is an invitation to party in the conventional sense.”

If party spells BYOB to you, Siddon says forget it. Aside from the fact it’s not legal, fellow passengers may not appreciate the consequences if the combination leaves transit dancers queasy.

“Some people equate partying to drinking; we can’t have that on the system,” said Siddon. “We can’t have that on any day; we have to enforce the law.

“And drinking a lot and getting on the train and dancing for an hour is not a good thing — people get a big green from that kind of thing.”

So far, the event, organized by teen Ariel Buxton, who was inspired by a YouTube video of a ‘silent’ subway dance party that took place in Toronto last year, has attracted a response from more than 5,400 Facebook users who say they may attend.

Participants in the dance-a-thon bring their own music on an iPod or MP3 player. Tuning in on their headphones, they dance to the beat of their own music, with everyone in the SkyTrain car following suit until the train is filled with dancers — seemingly dancing in dead silence.

The event, listed on Facebook as the SkyTrain Dance Party, is scheduled for between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. this Saturday, with participants to meet downtown at the Vancouver Art Gallery. From there, they’ll disperse to the Granville SkyTrain station, where they’ll be directed onto trains, according to the event instructions.

Siddon said Buxton has been in contact with SkyTrain, which is prepared for the event.

“We are accustomed to moving large groups of people,” she said. “What may be the challenge to this is if everyone wants to board at Granville, in two groups at 15-minute intervals.

“We can get a lot of people through the system but not necessarily all at once.”

gshaw@vancouversun.com

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