Shake it off

EN ROUTE to a Fringe show, Voice journo MOLLY SCHMIDT got sidetracked by a mate and found herself helping hundreds of strangers to launch a dance boogie through Northbridge. The infectious rave was part of a social experiment by Liberators International, a group aiming to spread love around the world by encouraging others to get involved in acts of affection.

Founder of Liberators International Peter Sharp stood in the middle of the group and told us the plan—dance wildly, freely and joyously through the streets of the Fringe Festival, past strangers and restaurant goers and people lining up for shows.

We were to encourage onlookers to join in and create one massive, roaming dance party that pushed the boundaries of ‘socially acceptable’ and embraced expression and creativity.

It worked.

“I want to create real life experiences of togetherness for people from the whole community,” says Mr Sharp.

“We forget how free we are sometimes, it’s really strange, you look around at a public space and just see everyone being quiet and not connecting or expressing themselves.”

• A fun “social experiment” in Northbridge by Liberators International. Photos supplied

A video of Mr Sharp’s first event in Barcelona—hugging strangers on a tourist bus to help them forget Spain’s economic woes—went viral, with 100 million views.

People started approaching him and asking how they could facilitate the same kinds of events.

Perth’s street dance party was a stand-alone event, but Mr Sharp says he hopes one day it could be a simultaneous, global dance extravaganza.

Across the night a few hundred people joined in Northbridge’s roaming rave, dancing along to classic party tunes.

“It was just a little jiggle really,” says Mr Sharp.

“But there were maybe 700 people who came and smiled and took photos too. One woman was Skyping her mum and showed her what we were doing.

“Dancing in the street is challenging normal behaviour; it’s about challenging the stories we tell ourselves about who we are.”

The night ended when the sound system gave way to static, and a crowd that had swelled, joined in a sweaty group hug.

Mr Sharp says there is another event planned for Perth in the next few weeks, and if you’re interested you can get in touch via the Liberators of Perth Facebook page.

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