Shoppers were treated to an unexpected display of dazzling young talent – and then the show was over almost as quickly as it began.
But what at first appeared to be a sudden, impromptu performance by over 30 youngsters had, in fact, been carefully rehearsed flashmob designed to have the biggest impact.
The display by 30-plus members of the Urban Fusion dance group at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham was planned to spotlight an initiative being launched on March 8 by Wrexham County Borough Council with the aim of getting more children and young people to be hooked on exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
Urban Fusion was founded 13 years ago and has gone from strength to strength, with classes in street and break-dancing held across Wrexham and Flintshire. Under professional guidance the youngsters not only have fun and maintain their fitness but can also gain qualifications.
Shoppers at Eagles Meadow stopped in their tracks as the sound of the Bruno Mars hit “Uptown Funk” suddenly boomed out and the youngsters aged seven to 18 all converged and went through their routine. The audience also included many parents and grandparents.
Some spectators wore puzzled looks until they were handed flyers containing information about the launch of PURE N.R.G., and the slick performance earned the dancers a warm round of applause.
Founder and manager of the group Vicky Allen said they had been rehearsing for about four weeks and it was good for members of the various classes to be able to come together for such an event.
One of the oldest members of the group, 17-year-old Daniel Parsonage from Connah’s Quay, has been a member of Urban Fusion for five years and is also a tutor.
“It’s good fun doing something like this because you see the people’s reactions when we start,” he said.
Mother-of-two Michelle Wilson from Llay said she visited Eagles Meadows most weekends and, like many others, was taken by surprise.
“They were very good and were obviously enjoying themselves,” she said.
Wrexham Council is the first local authority in Wales to work in collaboration with Les Mills, creator of the global group fitness and team training programme.
On March 8 at Clywedog Leisure and Activity Centre a new membership package called PURE N.R.G. will be launched and the free activities for youngsters aged 8 – 16 will include “Born to Move” fitness classes, swimming, gym sessions, aqua aerobics and racket games.
Membership and classes will then be available throughout the council’s leisure and activity centres including Waterworld, Chirk leisure centre and Queensway Stadium.
To promote the launch Amanda Roberts, the council’s Health and Fitness Development Officer, enlisted the help of the Urban Fusion youngsters to stage a “flashmob” as their energetic streetdancing perfectly illustrated the fun to be gained through exercise.
“With obesity levels among children and young people so high these days it’s important to get them up and active and we want to show them that there is plenty for them to do,” she said.
Councillor Hugh Jones, lead member for communities, collaboration and partnerships, said he hoped large number of children and young people would take advantage of what was on offer under the programme.
“It is important to encourage and educate children from an early age about the importance of regular physical exercise,” he said. “The volume of advertising and peer pressure that surrounds the internet and technology is to such an extent that future generations may actually be in danger of forgetting how to take exercise.
“It is vitally important that we all undertake regular exercise, and this initiative is a great fun way of bringing exercise into the lives of busy children.”