In honor of World Kindness Day 2019, University students enrolled in Ekaterina Bronshteyn’s dance appreciation course, as well as members of the 5,6,7,8 Dance Club, were among those who participated in the Dance for Kindness worldwide flash mob held in downtown Red Bank, New Jersey last month. On Nov. 10, participants in Red Bank joined over 20,000 dancers in over 120 cities in 50 different countries, all uniting in dance to recognize and emphasize the importance of kindness.
The worldwide Dance for Kindness flash mob, created in 2012 by the nonprofit Life Vest Inside, is an annual event that aims to bring people together regardless of their differences in values, backgrounds, or beliefs. Groups from all over the world join together each year to perform the same dance, on the same day and at the same time, to “look beyond ourselves” and to “realize that we are citizens of the world and that kindness is the common thread that unites us all.” Local organizers are also encouraged to select a charity that will receive 10% of the day’s proceeds. This year’s event in Red Bank benefited the JBJ Soul Kitchen.
Bronshteyn, an adjunct professor and dance instructor, encouraged her students to participate, as she believes this event illustrates how communities develop acceptance through the art and power of dance.
“Dancing is fun and it unites people,” Bronshteyn said. “It breaks local and global boundaries. The success of Life Vest Inside has proven one more time that dancing creates positive changes in communities around the world, and by participating in the event, our students were reminded about a simple act of kindness and its big impact on our lives through dance.”
Gabriella Herbert, a dance appreciation student, said, “Participating in the community drum session, dance party and writing words of kindness in the street was unifying and made me feel like I was a part of something bigger than just a dance, rather a movement.”
Bronshteyn added that people from all ages and backgrounds participated in the event to help spread smiles and laughs, and the group gradually grew. “This is because kindness is contagious, and it takes minimal effort to create a big change. Kindness itself means being considerate and accepting of the differences, the realities, and imperfections. It means being friendly and treating, not only others, but yourself, with respect and genuine care as well,” Bronshteyn said.
“I think this organization chose dancing as a form to reach people around the world because dancing is a language that everyone understands that transcends barriers,” said Marina Finis, a student enrolled in the dance appreciation course. “It’s something fun that does not require mastery and people of all ages can participate in. I could see this firsthand at the event in Red Bank, as the people participating were made up four generations – grandparents, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and children.”