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Published on May 12, 2012
Tulip Time visitors who watched the famed Dutch Dancers were surprised by an unexpected and non-traditional happening. As the Dutch Dance music ended and the dancers began to disperse, more music, a re-mix of Ray Charles by Opiuo (www.opiuo.com), came from the speakers. The dancers then launched into a routine that showed some elements of the traditional klompen dance but, had a very different twist. The dance extended East and West from its 8th Street & Central beginning. Soon, onlookers were moved to follow the 2012 Tulip Time Festival theme and "Join the Dance". Between 150 to 200 participants ventured into the street as the dance performance became a festival flash mob experience.
While the new dance may have appeared to be totally spontaneous, considerable planning went into it beginning as early as February. Upward of 100 Dutch Dancers and community members ranging in age from 9 to 70 rehearsed the routine choreographed and directed by Linda Graham, Chair of the Department of Dance at Hope College. Graham has experience in other large community participation dance events such as the June, 2011 Global Water Dance at Tunnel Park in which dancers all over the world performed the same movements at the same time to call attention to the need for safe water everywhere. Graham, along with festival supporter Ken Freestone, was instrumental in getting the project off the drawing board, and with the enthusiastic involvement of the Dutch Dance organization, making it a reality.
This happening was just another in a series of events that have had Hollanders enjoying some good-natured fun while adjusting to the early bloom of the town's hundreds of thousands of tulips. Locals and visitors alike have purchased "Stemfest 2012" t-shirts. Mayor Kurt Dykstra took blame upon himself for the lack of tulips in a humorous video produced for the Festival Luncheon. Even Michigan Governor Rick Snyder joined the fun in his luncheon address. The public sense of humor about the lack of tulips as stars of the show simply allowed the myriad of other festival events to step up and take their turn at center stage.
A special thanks to Erik Alberg.
For more information about Tulip Time, visit www.tuliptime.com Video Produced by Grooters Productions www.grootersproductions.com