The Largest Ever Tribute to Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” Choreographed by a Flashmob in Berlin

When I’m feel­ing depressed or unin­spired, I can always count on one of my favorite vision­ary musi­cians to remind me just how much wild weird­ness and unex­pect­ed beau­ty the world con­tains. That per­son is Kate Bush, and for all of her many bril­liant songs—too many to name—the touch­stone for true fans will always be her first sin­gle, “Wuther­ing Heights,” writ­ten when she was only 16, record­ed two years lat­er, and turned into two aston­ish­ing videos. The first, UK ver­sion does Kate’s ethe­re­al strange­ness jus­tice, with­out a doubt, plac­ing her on a dark stage, in flow­ing white gown, fog machine at her feet, show­cas­ing her idio­syn­crat­ic dance moves with sev­er­al dou­ble-expo­sure ver­sions of her­self. All very Kate, but we’d seen this kind of thing before, if only at the meet­ings of our high school dra­ma club.

It real­ly wasn’t until the sec­ond, U.S. video’s release that audi­ences ful­ly grasped the unique­ness of her genius. In this ver­sion, above, the young prodigy—who trained, by the way, with David Bowie’s mime and dance teacher Lind­say Kemp—appears in a flow­ing, Bohemi­an red gown, match­ing tights, and black belt, haunt­ing a “wiley, windy” moor like Cather­ine Earn­shaw, the doomed hero­ine of Emi­ly Brontë’s nov­el.

Every­thing about this: the flow­ers in her hair, the edit­ing tricks that have her fad­ing in and out of the shot like a ghost, and most espe­cial­ly the ful­ly unin­hib­it­ed dance moves—not con­fined this time to the bound­aries of a stage (which could nev­er con­tain her any­way)…. It’s per­fect, the very acme of melo­dra­mat­ic the­atri­cal­i­ty, and sim­ply could not be improved upon in any pos­si­ble way.

And so when fans seek to pay trib­ute to Kate Bush, they invari­ably call back to this video. In 2013, Kate Bush par­o­dy troupe Sham­bush! orga­nized a group dance in Brighton, with 300 eager fans in red dress­es and wigs, each one doing their best Kate Bush impres­sion in a syn­chro­nized com­e­dy homage. This year, on July 16th,  a flash­mob gath­ered in Berlin’s Tem­pel­hof Field for “The Most Wuther­ing Heights Day Ever,” break­ing the Sham­bush! record for most Kate Bush-attired danc­ing fans in one place. See them at the top of the post. Oth­er flash­mobs assem­bled around the world as well, in Lon­don, Welling­ton, Syd­ney, Ade­laide, Mel­bourne, and else­where, reports Ger­man site Ton­s­pion. Mel­bourne, it seems put on a par­tic­u­lar­ly “strong show­ing of Bush-mania” (watch it above), accord­ing to Elec­tron­ic Beats, who also sug­gest that next year the orga­niz­ers “switch it up and find a good for­est for a ‘The Sen­su­al World’ flash­mob.” That is indeed a stun­ning video, and it’s very hard to choose a favorite among Bush’s many visu­al mas­ter­pieces, but I’d like to see them try the wartime chore­og­ra­phy of “Army Dream­ers” next.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

300 Kate Bush Imper­son­ators Pay Trib­ute to Kate Bush’s Icon­ic “Wuther­ing Heights” Video

Kate Bush’s First Ever Tele­vi­sion Appear­ance, Per­form­ing “Kite” & “Wuther­ing Heights” on Ger­man TV (1978)

2009 Kate Bush Doc­u­men­tary Dubs Her “Queen of British Pop”

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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