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Free to Dance

A Surprise at the Mall of America

By Christine Trask

Viennese waltzers dancing in the rotunda
Tap, enter, delete—sorting through my emails, one subject line caught my attention from the much-loved, dedicated dance coordinators Yvonne and Dan Viehman: “Looking for dancers to participate in a surprise Viennese waltz dance at the Mall of America on February 13, 2015.”

I read on to learn that the event was about the Mall of America teaming up with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ 100th anniversary and the opening of its Vienna exhibit. Good marketing, I thought, to schedule the surprise event one day prior to Valentine’s Day and pick the dance of Vienna. Since around 180 million cards are exchanged annually for Valentine’s Day, I would expect there to be many people shopping for their loved ones at the Mall of America, which sees 40 million visitors each year and is so large you could lay 258 Statues of Liberty inside.

With the sunless arctic winter upon me, housebound with a painful flu for weeks, and saturated with the discomforting news on the television screen about terrorist organizations, I needed to get out of the house! Dance is my best medicine for the blues, and a surprise dance, to me, is a peaceful demonstration with fellow dance friends of a moment of random kindness. Add to that the good cause of promoting the arts and dance as a healthy means of expression. As a proud American, I can exercise my freedoms in a positive, creative way when many across the world are not so fortunate.

There was plenty of that freedom of expression evident at the Mall on February 13th. Dressed in a casual valentine-red blouse and skirt, I made a surprise appearance in the center of the rotunda with my dance partner, and we began dancing the romantic, rapid, twirling Viennese waltz. It was exhilarating! Then many other dance friends in casual street clothes began dancing as well. For the finale, about twelve couples—men dressed in tuxes, women dressed in glamorous, sparkling gowns—danced in unison to a fun routine choreographed by the talented Scott Anderson.

I rushed to the top rail of the rotunda so I could interview one of the observers watching the rest of the show. I picked the charming Sara Moser from the crowd.

Do you like the show?

The show is beautiful and elegant. I loved how the community was involved. It made me want to learn the dance.

Why are you proud to be an American?

We have the freedom to believe … without being afraid of being punished. We are blessed to be able to express ourselves in a way many countries will not allow.

Do you plan to see the Habsburgs exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts sometime between February 15th and May 10th?

I will probably go with my friend who is a dance instructor.

How do the arts enrich your life?

The arts are important to me because I enjoy learning about the different forms and mediums used throughout history.

If you would like to share one of your dance experiences, please submit your story to info@sheerdance.com. We would love to hear about it.