Janet Jackson Flash Mob on the F-Market

Muni rider Paul sent us a photo of something completely unexpected at the F-Market terminal at Castro on Sunday:

“Late in the day on Sunday at the F-line terminal at Castro, a Janet Jackson flash mob happened. They blocked the tracks for several minutes, but didn’t cause an undue delay.”

Call it worlds colliding: one of the flash mob dancers was Bryan Goebel, founding editor of Streetsblog SF! So what’s it like to dance in public to Janet’s famous moves? From Bryan:

One of the best experiences of my life (really!) was taking the Rhythm Nation dance class (my first dance class ever!) and then participating in the flash mob Sunday. Even though the choreography was simplified so that more people of all ages and abilities could take part, the classes — which started in January and ended last week — were still grueling for me. Yet, I stuck with it twice a week for three months because everyone was fun and supportive, and the teachers, Julien Rey and Leah Ferrer, were so passionate.

A very talented jewelry designer in the class, Emiko Oye, made our shiny BAFM hat and jacket emblems that stand for Bay Area Flash Mob (in place of Janet Jackson’s 1814 emblems), and we were told to wear all black or resemble, as best we could, Janet Jackson’s outfit in the Rhythm Nation video. Some people who didn’t get a chance to learn the whole dance but wanted to be in the flash mob were invited to learn the last 30 seconds, either in class or through the online tutorial videos, so there could be a growing effect at the end.

The plan was to look like a SWAT team, or security guards, and remain in character before the dance at each location. It was pretty amazing to discover how many people out there recognized our Rhythm Nation outfits, and were pleasantly surprised to see us perform the dance. There were also lots of people who asked, “What is this?” It was so thrilling to see those looks of curiosity turn into smiles, followed by applause. The crowds at the Ferry Building, Union Square, UN Plaza and the Castro plaza seemed to love it.

I certainly never thought I’d be learning this famous choreography, and I’m not the best at it, but I did it to my ability and it felt so good. By the way, we performed in Jane Warner Plaza but the organizers were very careful not to delay the historic streetcars. We managed to fit our performance in between headways.

Here’s the photo Paul sent us from Sunday:


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