Thursday, 22 March 2012

Spontaneity at TEDx Warwick 2012

Photography: TEDxWarwick
On 10th March, I attended TEDxWarwick 2012 for two reasons. The first was in my capacity as part of the speakers team and the second at part of the TSJ team covering the event (TSJ were the official media partners for the event). I joined TEDxWarwick in my first year at Warwick; I wanted to get involved in various activities and it was one of the first that caught my eye - and I am so glad I did. After the first event, I was hooked - I heard some fantastic speakers and the team environment was fantastic. So I re-applied and joined the team for the next event. And I did the very same a year later.

Yet the event this year was different - TEDxWarwick 2012 was taken to the next level and its new venue (the Butterworth Hall) could hold 1800 people. It still sold out. The event was once again brilliant and I can't imagine any of of the attendees having left the event feeling at least a little bit inspired or more knowledgable. I'm not here to talk about the event though - we will be publishing an article summarising the event in the next few days.

I want to talk about the moment when over 1000 people stood up and started dancing.

I want to talk about the moment that Jon Sterckx started his performance. He began with a few words, reminding us of a TED talk we saw earlier in the day. In that video, we see a man, described as a 'lone nut' dancing by himself. Yet soon he finds himself with one 'follower', becoming a leader - and many more then join. You can watch that three-minute talk, entitled 'How to Start a Movement' here:

Jon Sterckx invited the crowd to be that one 'lone nut' and start dancing and then started performing. Using a mixture of percussion instruments and modern technology, he created a beautiful sound. That's when Sylvester Vijay, a TEDxWarwick team member, spontaneously took to the stage and started dancing; he didn't just shuffle either - in the words of one of the speakers: "He really put himself out there!"

Soon afterwards the majority of the crowd stood up and started clapping in unison to a beat. Sylvester meanwhile went off the stage and started to collect 'followers' who joined him in a congo line. As he returned back to the stage he was joined by at least 50 attendees who danced alongside him - and many more later joined the group. The energy in the room was incredible; attendees dancing on stage, the entire crowd standing up and dancing along, all to a sound being created by one man. You can watch the entire video here:

And that's how a 'lone nut' becomes a leader.

Originally published in The Student Journals.

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