Abbotsford Heat fans experienced more action than they bargained for while arriving for Friday's game against the Texas Stars.
Packs of people buying tickets or pouring into the arena got an unexpected Christmas gift when, without warning, music began to blare and 80 people suddenly broke out into a choreographed dance routine on the AESC concourse around 6: 30 p.m.
Then just as suddenly, the act ended and the performers melted back into the crowd without any explanation, leaving some Heat fans a little dazzled by the flash mob's appearance.
A social networking trend, flash mobs are groups of ordinary people who organize through Facebook, Twitter or smart phones and suddenly appear in a public place to perform some sort seemingly random routine before disappearing.
But this routine, performed by the Project G flash mob, had a purpose with long-term ripple effects in the community.
'Project G' - the 'G' means to give - is headed by Abbotsford choreographer Mary Boon-stra who organizes the flash mobs as a means to fundraise for community organizations.
Boonstra, who has taught dance locally for 20 years, started the group through her social network last year and has raised hundreds of dollars for the Abbotsford Food Bank and the Women's Resource Society of the Fraser Valley. The group's theme this year is 'Giving Seniors a Brighter Christmas' and any funds raised will head to seniors programs at Abbotsford Community Services.
"There are so many charities that support children at Christmas and we want to make sure that the seniors that are in need are not forgotten," said Boonstra.
Those who participate in Project G come to two practices and pay $5, which is then donated to the non-profit organization selected.
Not only is it a way to contribute to the community, but it's also a way to provide people who want to dance with classes they might not otherwise be able to afford, she said.
The mob's moves are easy and its dancers are comprised of people of all ages and skill levels, said Boonstra.
The only requirement is the desire to have fun and dance for a good cause.
Additionally, people not directly involved in Project G are often motivated by the public performances to donate to the community group being sponsored, said Boonstra.
Project G is planning another impromptu Christmas performance, but Boonstra isn't giving away all the details, although she did provide a tip.
"I don't want to give away the surprise . . . but if anybody happens to be in the Seveno-aks Shopping Centre on Thursday evening they might see something special."
? For more information on Project G visit www.danceblast.ca.