Our Events

Santa Claus Flashmob

Silverdale Market Day, Auckland. Photo, video and stories.

December 14, 2018 / Yana Papaya / 0 comments

Photography by Tanya Perova
Words, flashmob event by Yana Papaya
Choreography by Tatsiana Paliakova

I remember the time when flashmobs were at its peak in Russia. It was straight after I finished the university in 2009, the thriving time of the mighty recession hitting the market. That was a time when I started my career at Ogilvy, had a pool of diverse clients who were desperate for creative ways to connect with the target audience in the public spaces and get the exposure online.

I was lucky enough that working with the clients such as Nokia (yes, it was still a very popular and cool brand), Grohe (bathroom interior accessories made in Germany) were open to trying to experiential and experimental ways to capture the audience, reach new markets and promote their products. We had a lot of fun while organising flashmobs for big brands with big crowds with big money. That was a time. We organised urban pillow fights, water gun sessions or dressed up as hippies who hummed OM on 1-2-3 on the World Peace Day.

I remember when I came to New Zealand in 2011 during the Rugby World Cup I thought that flashmob trend already reached the shores of this beautiful country. It was a beautiful atmosphere full of random acts of kindness, exchange love and hugs. That “love is in the air” moment that you could experience at FIFA 2018. Once the rugby season was over and New Zealand came back to the norm, the flashmob feel was over too.

YanaPapaya-SantaClausFlashmob collage

As the famous saying goes: if the flashmob doesn’t happen to you – you happen to a flashmob. That’s what I did a few times back, I am doing right now and will continue organising, because flashmobs do bring lot of JOY to people and it’s a proven fact. The practice and theory show that the flashmob or pop up performing act make everyone joyful: those who perform on the urban dance floor and those who are on the other side – enjoying the show. Even the skeptical ones in the crowd end up having the biggest smile on their face by the end of the show.

I like meeting new people and bringing them all together. Flashmob is one of the real cool ways to see it is happening, besides it is such a great team-building activity and community engagement exercise that I highly recommend it to everyone.

I love surprises and probably that’s one of the reasons I like organising flashmobs. Every time there is an element of surprise to me as I don’t know who is going to apply. I publish the ad via FB and wait in admiration. All sorts of people of various age, professional backgrounds and ethnicities come together to be a part of the event. What I like to see especially is how the bunch of strangers within a few weeks becomes a group of friends.


I keep our participants 100% involved in the creative process – concept development, fun rehearsals, costume discussion. That’s how we grow together as a creative community and encourage participants to open up their fountain of youth, creativity, believe in their potential which is the core value at Papaya Stories.

This December we had a chance to put the Santa Claus Flashmob together that took place at the market in Silverdale on Sun 9 December thanks to the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board. We started our performance with an awesome sketch with Phillipa, Alice and Alex who (as a part of the deal) had a loud argument at the market. As you can see from the video below we got the audience attention as the scene looked so believable that people got involved to sort it out (Yesaaaa!).


Straight after that Yana jumped into the middle of “stage” to perform the song by Mariah Carey and that was the clue for all SantaS to jump out from different corners of the market with the sequence of the dance routine choreographed by Tatsiana Paliakova. All of that Santa madness you can see below in the video and photos.


Plus you will get a chance to meet and greet our awesome vibrant participants of the flashmob by reading the short interviews.

Ta-ta-ta-Tatsiana – dancer, choreographer

Tatsiana-SantaClausFlashmob collage

Why did you decide to join the Santa Claus Flashmob?
I have always been a fan of Flashmob events, but unfortunately, didn’t have many opportunities to take part in them before.

What did you like the most about the flashmob process? Why?
Choreographing different dance pieces and tutorials, and see how all these things are implemented in practice by our fantastic team!

What inspires you in life?
Love, God’s creation, nature, people, dreams!

What is your next big dream?
To live my life to the fullest with love, hope and happiness and when I would like to look back to what I’ve done and how I lived – I do not want to regret any second of my life.

Alice – comedian, flashmob participant

AliceSantaClausFlashmob collage

Why did you decide to join the Santa Claus Flashmob?
I decided to do this flashmob initially not understanding what “flashmob” meant, I didn’t realise it was dancing. But even when I found out it was dancing I still wanted to do it, I’m not a very good dancer but I thought the only way to get better is to dance. I thought having a bit of dancing experience may come in handy in the future. I’ve also challenged myself more to say yes to things, and to do stuff that scares me. It was also fun to be able to do something with friends.

What did you like the most about the flashmob process? Why?
What I liked most about the process is probably the rehearsals. It’s fun to see it slowly come together over the few weeks, and be able to link up with everyone while mixing in different ideas that we all have.

What inspires you in life?
Seeing people do what they love inspires me, whether it be a singer, or an inventor.

What is your next big dream?
The next big thing for me is the 2019 NZ international comedy festival. Two other comedians and I applied for a comedy festival show and we got accepted. So I will be working very hard, this year and early next year for my big NZ comedy festival debut. As far as next big dream Goes, I want to continue to do things outside my comfort zone, mainly with comedy. And take every opportunity that comes my way, because there is no greater waste of time than regret.

Yana – marketing manager, flashmob participant

Yana-SantaClausFlashmob collage

Why did you decide to join the Santa Claus Flashmob?
Always loved flashmobs (my dream is a big one like on the Black eyed peas concert, yes) and wanted to do something fun. I haven’t seen flashmobs in Auckland =(

What did you like the most about the flashmob process? 
The actual flashmob

What inspires you in life?

What is your next big dream?
I want to keep meeting good and interesting people, as I didn’t have much luck before.. =)

Phillipa, future on-screen actress, flashmob participant

Phillipa-SantaClausFlashmob collage

Why did you decide to join the Santa Claus Flashmob?
I decided to join the Santa Claus Flashmob for the purpose of meeting new people, dancing with them and making great memories.

What did you like the most about the flashmob process? Why?
What I liked most about the flashmob process was learning new and slightly challenging choreography and rehearsing with everybody as a team. This was because it excited me to visualise what would come of the flashmob and how excellently it would be performed.

What inspires you in life?
Other people inspire me in life. To be able to see and understand everybody’s passions, hobbies and skill sets inspires me to find my own and create magic with them.

What is your next big dream?
My next big dream would have to be what is in store for me next year. I live and breath performing arts and acting. I am going to study at South Seas Film School for a diploma in on-screen acting. It would be a dream come true for my course duration to be successful and for me to make a career out of it.

Alex – fitness coach, flashmob participant, originally from Brisbane.

Alex-SantaClausFlashmob collage

Why did you decide to join the Santa Claus Flashmob?
Because I had been in one in BRISBANE and they are so much fun

What did you like the most about the flashmob process? Why?
I liked the routine and the learning off the you tube videos and coming together to practice but best of all I enjoyed hanging out with all you. Why?? Because you are all FABULOUS!!!

What inspires you in life?
Trying new things and having no fear.

What is your next big dream?
To own a coffee ️ business.

Viktoria, flashmob participant

Vika-SantaClausFlashmob collage

Why did you decide to join the Santa Claus Flashmob?
At first, I was not going to participate, but I liked the idea. But once Yana said just one phrase it changed my mind. I thought: “Really, why do I always give up so easily without even trying? I find a lot of reasons why I cannot do this instead of why I should be there.” I reconsidered my decision and didn’t regret it.

What did you like the most about the flashmob process? Why?
Each stage of the process is interesting by itself, from looking for costume ideas to having fun at rehearsals and feeling of butterflies in the stomach just before the performance.

What inspires you in life?
Everything about nature, especially the sunrises, which I often see from my kitchen window. If I see it from the first light (ray), it means that I woke up early and it’s gonna be a good day.

What is your next big dream?
One year – one city – one big marathon event. And no matter what distance I will choose. It’s more about the mindset and overall mood, the invisible connection between runners when they are going to achieve their goals right here right now. And, of course, my dreams are also about travelling.


And how do you prepare for Christmas? What’s your next Big dream in 2019? Please share your stories with us in the comments

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