Through Facebook, thousands are quickly invited to public dance party

VANCOUVER, B.C. — What started out as a boring night at home on Facebook for Ariel Buxton has become a social networking experiment that could blossom into Vancouver’s dance party of the year.

While killing time online, Buxton, 18, stumbled upon a video of a “silent” subway dance party in Toronto last year.

In the video, uploaded to YouTube last February, partygoers break into dance one by one to the music of their own iPods and MP3 players as confused riders look on. Buxton created her own Facebook event and announced the dance-a-thon for Saturday.

“I posted the video on my Facebook, sharing the wondrous idea with a few friends,” she explained. “The rest, as they say, is history.”

The guest list now runs into the thousands.

“When I made the event I thought maybe 100 would be invited, tops,” Buxton said. “Never had I imagined more than 3,000 people.

“I guess I never took into consideration the domino effect. I invite 50 friends, the 30 who accept, invite 50 of their friends and so on and so forth.”

Participants are being told to bring their own MP3 player and headphones. The music is their own choice, but nobody else is supposed to hear it.

Dancers will assemble at the Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver and split into groups, each boarding a separate train. Once they enter the SkyTrain area, they’re not supposed to speak to each other.

When they’re all on board, a chosen few will start doing the Vogue, Robot, or perhaps Pop-and-lock. Then it’s up to fellow dancers to join in, each dancing to their own beat.

British Columbia Transit officials are aware of the plan.

“Usually in these kinds of situations, they’d like it to be a surprise, but obviously the Internet and things like Twitter and Facebook makes it harder and harder to surprise us with these events,” SkyTrain spokeswoman Jennifer Siddon said.

“The event isn’t sanctioned by us, so to speak, but we’re always open to facilitating something where people are trying to connect with the community and want to use SkyTrain for that purpose,” Siddon said.

Buxton said SkyTrain officials have asked her to remind participants of safety precautions, including limits on alcohol consumption, jumping and holding doors open, but added that not everyone may observe such niceties.

“It would be extremely naive of me to think only the neatest, kindest people would be coming,” she said. “Alas, I expect a few bad apples, but the worst thing they could do is mosh to their own music while completely intoxicated — and if that happens, I’m sure … that person would be kicked off at the next stop.”

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