It was lunchtime as usual Wednesday in the Atrium, until several students broke out into dance.
Members of the Ball State University Dance Marathon's morale committee and executive board jumped, clapped and "Dougied" to Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop ‘Til You Get Enough" in a flash mob just before noon in the Atrium.
"We wanted to raise awareness for BSUDM and thought this would really turn heads," said sophomore Lee Jerstad, who choreographed the dance and taught it to participants.
Jerstad is a public relations major, a member of the morale committee and one of the two students who began the mob. She walked calmly down the main aisle of the seating area until the music started playing on the speakers and then she broke out into dance.
"It was awesome," spectator Andrea Wortkoetter said. "I had never seen [a flash mob] in person before, but everyone got really into it. And you could see all the people around stand up and start watching."
The flash mob grew from two to a total of about 20 students, who danced altogether at times and at other times, knelt as a group to give a handful of students center stage as they performed a variety of popular dance moves. Junior Emma Mullins and a few other dancers did the robot for about 15 seconds of the song.
"I've always wanted to participate in one before, so it was really fun," Mullins, an elementary and special education major, said. "The hardest part was just remembering the dance, but we practiced last night when no one was here, and that was fun."
At the end of the dance, all of the participants came together jumping and shouting "FTK" which means "for the kids." As the music ended, the dancers knelt and pointed to a BSUDM banner that unfurled from the second floor balcony. Then the dancers dispersed as quickly as they had come together.
"It makes me very proud to be the president of an organization that can have such an impact on campus," Michael Bramer, BSUDM president, said. "[The flash mob] reinforces in everyone's eyes that we're still here. We're still doing stuff."
Bramer said BSUDM is planning a few more events to take place before the actual dance marathon, which will be from 1 p.m. on Feb. 18 until 1 a.m. Feb. 19 in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.
There will be a three-on-three basketball tournament in the rec center and a "Tacky Prom" in Little Chicago Pizzeria once the restaurant opens. Bramer said both events will be in January and will help raise funds for the organization and the dance marathon event.
Bramer said that while the flash mob doesn't raise money for BSUDM, it's important for the organization because it gets people interested in being involved.
Spectator Zane Anderson said it was easy to see the value of the flash mob.
"You think [everyone walking by] looks pretty normal and then all of a sudden you realize they're part of a group," the freshman advertising major said. "My fraternity was thinking about [signing up for dance marathon], and I hadn't planned on doing it by myself. But after seeing this, I think I would even if the fraternity wasn't. It was cool. I'm glad I was here to see it."