Students dance with Oliver for flash mob
Published: Thursday, November 5, 2009
Updated: Thursday, November 5, 2009 01:11
About 300 Marshall University students and Huntington residents showed off their dance skills along with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver on Wednesday.
Local dance companies, show choirs, Marshall students and MCTC culinary arts students gathered on the Memorial Student Center plaza to participate in a flash mob, a short choreographed dance designed to look spontaneous and random. While culinary arts students prepared a stir-fry, others danced around them and handed them ingredients.
"We threw the veggies in, we threw the herbs in, we threw the meat in," said E. Blackhurst, second year culinary arts student from Charleston, W.Va. "We were really excited, waving the wooden spoons in the air."
As the dance progressed, more people joined in, waving dish towels in the air. The dance culminated with participants gathering around Oliver chanting, "Go Jamie," and dancing.
The flash mob was part of Oliver's challenge to get 1,000 people to cook a healthful stir-fry this week. Oliver hosted a cookoff at Pullman Square on Tuesday.
"It's excitement about cooking and getting everyone to cook," Blackhurst said.
Sarah Miranda, sixth-grader at Grace Christian Middle School and dancer with Elite Performance Academy, said she enjoyed participating in the flash mob.
"We did big hand movements," she said. "It was pretty basic. It was still a lot of fun, though."
Miranda said nine dancers from Elite Performance Academy participated in the flash mob.
The Rhythm in Red, Cabell Midland High School's show choir, also performed. Tyler Samson, junior show choir member, said the director of the flash mob came to Cabell Midland on Monday and invited the group to participate.
"I think everyone did a good job of acting like they did not have a clue what was going on and then started dancing together," Samson said. "It was a cool effect."
Samson said he likes the idea of having a celebrity chef in Huntington, but doesn't appreciate the negative attention the area has received.
"I think it's cool that a guy from T.V. is in our area to talk about cooking," Samson said, "but he's really here to talk about how obese we are and how unhealthy our food is."
Samson was referring to an Associated Press article that named the Huntington area the unhealthiest in the nation. Oliver came to Huntington to show residents how to prepare healthful meals to improve their diets.
However, Samson said he thinks Oliver can motivate people to change their nutritional habits.
"I think that now that it's at a national level and everyone knows how obese and unhealthy we are, it might motivate people to change," Samson said.
Whitney Burdette can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.