Dance for Kindness is a worldwide annual dance event each November that heralds the start of World Kindness Week (which encompasses World Kindness Day, an initiative begun in 1998 by a collective of "Kindness" NGOs from different countries).
The Dance for Kindness event features a flash mob and freeze mob (if you are not sure what that is, stay tuned for the photos - it's basically a lot of people dancing together in a public place), and a unique theme song and choreography. It's sponsored by Life Vest Inside, a non-profit begun in 2011 by a young woman named Orly Wahba. With an ambitious goal of global change, this organization, as stated in their mission statement, "inspires, empowers and educates people of all backgrounds to lead a life of kindness." They do that in multiple ways, including by dancing...
Orly recounts that the first dance event started as a dream - it was 2012 and she and others wondered if they could do a dance gathering in some worldwide capacity. They posted a note to their followers and soon found 30 group leaders from 30 locations in 15 counties (3000 participated that first year).
This year (2018 was the the seventh annual dance) the Dance of Kindness took place in 120 cities in 50 countries (select highlight videos and photos from many cities can be seen at the Dance for Kindness website). The message, says Orly, is that "despite the differences, kindness is a common thread that unites us all." Everyone in all the countries danced to the same music and performed the same dance steps.
For the first time, the flagship city was moved from New York (Times Square), and Jerusalem was chosen - which tethers well with Orly's recent aliyah from NYC. Jerusalem as the lead city, meant that a local songwriter and choreographer would be sourced to create the music and the dance that would be used by all the participants in all the dance locations around the globe.
Orly believes that each new day is opportunity to do better, that we're given new life when we wake up to a brand new day -"God bets on us, how can we not bet on ourselves." Her organization creatively promotes Kindness and also, on the website, asks philosophical and scientific questions, such as Why unkindness exists?
The photo essay you're about to see shows the DFK FlashMob and FreezeMob event that took place in Jerusalem on November 11th, 2018, at First Station (site of the old Jerusalem Railway station), from registration and rehearsal, to performance and a post-dance concert by two Israeli musical artists, The Solomon Brothers (who composed this year's worldwide theme song) and Ishay Ribo. Also included at the end of the photo essay is the viral video that launched Orly's advocacy efforts higher and higher (it has gained 30 million views, and resulted in a TED Talk invite a couple years after the video was posted on YouTube.)
Photography and photo essay design by Judah S. Harris
On site, and with just a few hours left before the event, Orly Wahba finalizes graphics and other details for the evening program - Dance for Kindness 2018 - taking place in this year's flagship city, Jerusalem