This years’s Arts on the Square included a surprise.
Shortly after Tom Pease left the festival’s main stage on Fulton Street, people of all ages took over and started dancing to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.
The dance flash mob was coordinated by Kate Lewellyn.
That is her in the turquoise leggings in the video posted here.
Lewellyn, along with Helen Halverson, are certified Zumba instructors who teach classes at the Waupaca Senior Center.
The past two years, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department sponsored an intergenerational Halloween party that included dance flash mobs.
As a result, Vicki Poeschl, a member of the Waupaca Community Arts Board, approached them with the idea of doing one at this year’s Arts on the Square.
The arts board sponsors the annual arts festival on the city square, and Poeschl said the dance fit the art board’s tagline of “community building through the arts.”
Lewellyn reached out to local dance groups, asking to teach them the dance.
“Pep in Your Step and Lessons from the Art were wonderful in allowing me into their studios, and Shellady Udoni was a gem with allowing me to crash her Zumba classes. She even taught the routine to one of her groups when I wasn’t able to make it,” Lewellyn said.
Students in Lewellyn’s linedancing and Zumba classes at the senior center also learned the dance.
She said all of them learned it quite quickly and were excited to be a part of it.
Some of the groups practiced for weeks, while others learned the dance just days before the eighth annual arts festival, Lewellyn said.
She said the main group of children involved on Saturday were Lindsey Haas’ students from Lessons from the Art in Iola.
There were also students from Pepe’s Pep in Your Step in Waupaca, as well as some of Udoni’s students and several who take classes at the senior center.
Lewellyn said being a part of the dance flash mob was exciting – but also difficult, “because I couldn’t go around telling people about it, and doing call-outs for anyone to join us. It needed to stay a surprise.”
They pulled if off.
And after it was done, Marci Reynolds, who is the president of the arts board, reacted with tears.
When asked why “Happy” was chosen for the song, Lewellyn said it was a song not only she had on the list of options, but that Poeschl did, too.
“I suggested it, and she said it was the one the board wanted to do,” Lewellyn said. “I think the overall reason for this song was because of the tone/mood of the music. You just get happy listening to it.”