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Dec 02, 2019

Dance for Kindness Rocks Red Bank

By Joanne Colella

What do chalk drawings, a drum circle, silent poses and jubilant dancing all have in common? If you happened to be on Broad Street in Red Bank on the afternoon of Nov. 10, you would have seen for yourself. That was the date of the 8th annual Dance for Kindness, a worldwide movement established by Life Vest Inside, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring, empowering and educating people everywhere to lead a life of kindness.

The annual Dance for Kindness is a global flashmob celebration that kicks off World Kindness Week each November. The dance boasts more than 20,000 participants from more than 50 countries, sweeping across 120 locations all around the world. With direction provided on the Dance for Kindness website, crowds of people come together to perform the same song and the same dance, all on the same day at the same time, to promote looking beyond the boundaries that divide us and embracing kindness as the common thread that unites us.

Since 2013, the Red Bank event for Dance for Kindness has been organized by group leader Terese Rolke, who volunteers her time as a Kindness Ambassador for Life Vest Inside. The positivity she exudes when speaking about the initiative is contagious and her enthusiasm is infectious. She explained that the location, on Broad Street from White to Mechanic Street, was chosen because it is the exact place where Life Vest Inside filmed “Kindness Boomerang,” a video that went viral, illustrating acts of kindness.

Terese also noted that, in line with the mission of having each Dance for Kindness location lend support to a local charity, 10 percent of any funds raised through this year’s event would benefit JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank.

And even though this year’s gathering was a bit smaller than in past years, what the participants may have lacked in numbers they more than made up for in joyful exuberance. The afternoon began with a large drum circle right in the middle of the street, which had been closed to traffic with help from the Red Bank Police Department. As the drummers rhythmically beat their instruments together, other adults and children swarmed around them with colorful collections of chalk to write and draw messages of kindness on the dark asphalt. Still others held up signs and banners with words of kindness and encouragement.

As the drumming ended, some of the group broke into spontaneous dances and conga lines. Then came a freezemob, with pairs or small groups of people striking silent poses for three minutes to illustrate simple acts of kindness, such as helping someone who had fallen, giving hugs, and more, that often go unnoticed when the world is in motion.

Finally, there was the flashmob dance – although admittedly, by that point the spectacle was no longer the surprise that other public flashmobs often are – with the crowd of participants, most of them wearing signature Life Vest Inside orange shirts, gathering together and falling in line with their dance steps. Upbeat music blared on loudspeakers until the dancing was over, and then there was the sound of loud, happy cheers from dancers and spectators alike.

 

To learn more about Dance for Kindness and other initiatives from Life Vest Inside, visit DanceForKindness.com or LifeVestInside.com.