"Zorba the Flashmobian": National communities go viral


In July 2015 a group of people gathered at the Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece, and performed the dance Zorba the Greek in a flash mob manner. The event was then uploaded on YouTube with the title The Greek soul is not in crisis: Greece hold your head high as a response to the bailout referendum (July 5, 2015) where although 61 percent of the Greek population voted NO to austerity measures, the Greek Prime Minister signed a new bailout package with the European Union implementing more severe austerity measures on Greece. In this article I explore flash mobs as novel urban phenomena that employ dance, new technological media, the element of unexpected spectacle and temporary performance site as a means of social mobilisation and political activism. In particular, I focus on the role of Zorba the Greek flash mob as a means of resistance and a medium of identity expression within the current socio-political and economic climate in Greece. Furthermore, I discuss the paradox of employing an ephemeral performative event, such as a flash mob, to project and affirm the Greek national identity - an identity that is perceived to have a diachronic value. 


@ The University of Waikato