SALISBURY – More than 300 Eastern Shore residents will overtake North Division Street Sunday in Salisbury’s first annual Dance for Kindness event.
A flash mob of children and adults will be among the thousands of participants from countries all over the world to rehearse and perform a dance routine in an effort to spread kindness to the community.
Life Vest Inside (LVI) founder Orly Wahba started the international event five years ago to unite people of different backgrounds for World Kindness Day, an occurrence set for Nov. 13 of each year.
Last year, more than 12,000 participants from 50 countries danced for kindness. This year, Salisbury will join the movement for its first annual community event.
Co-leaders Grace Foxwell Murdock and Jennifer Whittington have taken on the responsibility of assembling donations, arranging a location and spreading the word.
With the approval of Mayor Jake Day and grant funding from the Salisbury Arts and Entertainment District, the team has made it into the final stretch of planning.
“The Arts and Entertainment District are very much into bringing community action to Salisbury,” Murdock said. “The director was vital to learning how to do this.”
Murdock and Whittington also sought the help of LVI to plan and choreograph the event.
Dancers are tasked with performing two portions of choreography: a freeze mob and a flash mob. In the beginning, participants will freeze in a position that displays kindness, such as hugging a friend or shaking a hand. Then they break into a dance.
Murdock said participants have been practicing with online videos supplied by the nonprofit. But she said the overarching message is the most important takeaway.
“It isn’t about the dance or the steps,” Murdock said. “It is about the connection and impact of experiencing something with kindness. The main mission is for kindness to move into the neighborhoods.”
The Salisbury location will be the closest participation point for more than 80 miles, and Murdock urged community members from surrounding areas to get involved.
Various schools and dance troops in Wicomico County will participate in the routine, along with adults from the community.
At the event, representatives from the Blood Bank of Delmarva, the Salisbury Zoo and the Wicomico County Library will be providing information about their organizations. The get-together will also have music, performances and t-shirt sales to benefit LVI.
Murdock is a retired educator and founder of two companies, Professional Grace and Kindness Bracelet, The Original.
Murdock reached out to Wahba within the last year in an effort to use information from LVI for her speech at the inaugural TEDx Salisbury event.
Since then, Murdock said she has worked with the organization to form the dance event.
A video of the dance will be sent to New York to be a part of the LVI 2016 montage.
“It’s thrilling to see everyone all over the world dancing,” Murdock said. “Sometimes three people in a country will be doing it, and others in Japan and Vietnam will have hundreds dancing.”
The event will start at 2 p.m. at 125 N. Division Street and is free for all who attend. Murdock said those interested in participating in the dance can register online at www.lifevestinside.com to access the choreography videos.
“We are grateful for everybody who has participated and registered,” Murdock said. “The journey has been a blessing.”