When Katonah resident Maria Colaco saw Dawn Greenberg’s Chappaqua Friends of Hill & Tim Facebook post suggesting an Election Day flash mob honoring the hometown nominee by wearing her attire of choice, she jumped at the chance to organize and choreograph.
A former professional dancer turned social media/digital content creator, Colaco quickly created a Facebook group for anyone interested in participating, secured rehearsal space at Scattered Books in downtown Chappaqua, and chose a song (Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”) from the official Hillary Clinton campaign playlist and a hashtag: #HRCPantsuitDance. The whole thing–from idea to execution–came together in only 10 days. Colaco said it was “short, intense and passionate.”
Approximately 115 women came to two hour-long rehearsals, having to split into three groups to have enough room to learn the relatively easy steps that Colaco had choreographed. She recalled that even at rehearsals some participants were openly crying “because it was such a moment.”
At 1:30 p.m. on Election Day, the 115 pantsuit-clad dancers were joined by newcomers and children in front of Chappaqua Station for a joyful and electrifying performance that rapidly “went viral;” within hours, the video appeared on people.com, all of the major U.S. networks, and many domestic and international websites.
“We really tapped into something,” said Colaco, noting that flash mobs are usually associated with the young. “This is an amazing demographic, a fantastic group of women who joined to sing and dance as a medium for social empowerment, social change and social awareness.”
Even though the Facebook group was created as a centralized organization tool, it has turned into a community for its members in the aftermath of the disappointing election, now looking ahead as to how the Election Day energy can be harnessed and utilized effectively. Colaco is hoping to take the Pantsuit Flash Mob to the “next level” by teaching it via video to any group interested and repeating the event nationally on January 20 (Inauguration Day), which she has also proposed be a national day of Acts of Kindness–everything from public art, crafting with children and adults at local hospitals, painting rocks and leaving messages of hope around neighborhoods for people to casually find, playing music in nursing homes, to helping friends and neighbors or at a food pantry.
“We did something and made a difference,” Colaco said, inspired to continue this forward motion.” Everyone was “so incredibly passionate. It’s nothing you can teach or expect. It just happens.”
Chappaqua resident Debra Hand is a longtime writer and editor for The Inside Press.