A Well-Deserved 71M YouTube Views For A Flashmob Dancing To A Grease Medley In The Grandeur Of Antwerp’s Grand Central Station

This is a 71M-views YouTube video that deserves to be viral! You could easily become obsessed with it. It’s a flash mob video. 250 people gather in Antwerp Central Station to dance to a medley from Grease. It’s a staged performance by the cast of the stage-show Grease, which was about to open in Antwerp. Extras were no doubt recruited from local dance and drama classes. It was a public promotion of the show that was professionally filmed to post on the theatre’s social media as advertising.

Now, the first time I saw Grease, I fell asleep during the fantasy scene featuring a big staircase. Even so, the movie and songs have a certain nostalgic value that I relate to. So what’s so good about this video? First there is the setting. It is the finest railway building in Belgium, despite being hard to categorise due to architect Delacenserie’s astonishing range of architectural influences. In the video; the station is in operation; people have trains to catch, friends to meet. Let’s watch

The video is well edited. You see the core performers taking position and engaging, you glimpse groups of support performers scurrying in the background and clustering together, and you notice passengers commuting, some of whom pause to spectate and record on their cellphones. All this against the majestic, splendidly idiosyncratic backdrop of Antwerp Central Station. The editing is particularly good at getting you to zone in on people, like when you see the nuns, you see them a bit later.

It’s the way you pick out individuals that could get you addicted to the video. That and the fact that it’s a flashmob in Belgium, so there’s a touch of Eurovision to the spectacle. The way the songs are edited into a medley, the moves of the dancers, the setting, make it all seem far from the stylised version of 1950s USA presented in the movie. These differences are fascinating. So how does a flashmob in Brighton Station compare?

Well, Brighton Station also has fine, if less eclectic, architecture and the video is also an astonishing social document. When we look at the numbers, we need to note that the Antwerp Flashmob was in 2016 and Brighton was in 2018. Keeping this in mind, Antwerp’s 71M views is up against 194,005 for Brighton. So Brighton has a hell of a lot of ground to make up in two years.

In Brighton’s favour, their performance is a lot more spontaneous and improvisatory than the Belgians. It’s not a well-coordinated advertisement for a commercial stage show, rather, it seems to be eight good citizens risking making dorks of themselves in the interests of charity. The video notes that it was a fundraiser for the Rockinghorse Foundation (which raises money “for life-saving equipment, specialist projects and enhanced services for sick babies, children and young people throughout Sussex”), though the role of the video poster, and apparent organiser, Fizzbox.com, is unclear. Still, I’m all for people putting themselves out there for charity.

Even as I root for the Brighton underdogs, I know that I’m more likely to return to the Antwerp video. Thanks to the production values and abilities of the video crew, the spectacular setting, and the various people in the video, it is a slice of life that is larger than a mere advert for the local run of the Grease stage musical. It is a real oddity.

Please be aware of people impersonating The Music Man. Click here to see our brands so you know who to trust.