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'The Woman in Red' Choreographs Famous Lip-Dub Proposal

Radish Underground owner and professional choreographer Gina Johnson Morris with the red dress featured in the viral “Isaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal” video. Morris hopes to auction the dress in support of arts and music education in schools.

Rose Hansen / OPB

When local actor Isaac Lamb, 31, decided to propose to his girlfriend Amy Frankel, 33, he knew just who to call to make it a day she’d never forget: friend and professional choreographer Gina Johnson Morris.

“When you’re looking at a professional choreographer and a professional actor getting married, they want to go over the top and above what you would expect normally,” says Morris, who appears as the standout woman in red throughout Lamb’s recording of the elaborate proposal.

The video shows dual views of Frankel’s reaction to the surprise flash mob as she rides down the street in the back of an open CRV. As of June 11, the video had received over 16 million hits on YouTube and Vimeo combined.

Frankel had reportedly been expecting a proposal for some time, saving Lamb any risk of rejection. Nonetheless, organizing it was no simple feat, especially with 60 of their closest friends, family and coworkers involved. Morris credits Lamb as the visionary behind the proposal, since she choreographed and taught the steps.

Ten days before proposing, Lamb gave Morris the song “Marry You” by Bruno Mars and described his ideas for the show. Within three days, Morris had a plan, grouping people into six different performance clusters. 

Despite the short notice, everyone was enthusiastic, which Morris saw as a testament to their love for Frankel and Lamb: “Everybody said, ‘No questions. Whatever you need. We’ll drop everything. We will be there.’ “

And they were.

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The weekend before the proposal, the group met for one four-hour rehearsal. Afterwards, Lamb videotaped Morris performing the individual parts, which were then emailed out along with step-by-step instructions for at-home practice.

Flash mob proposals are all the rage these days, it seems. One YouTube search reveals everything from productions of 100+ in Disneyland to dancing clowns in New York City. But when Lamb posted his own version on the Internet, he dubbed it the “World’s first lip-sync wedding proposal.” The performance is sprinkled with mini-skits: dancing Jews, a marching band, fake money showers. And there’s tequila. At one point, distant friends and family appear on laptops holding “SAY YES” signs.

The result? 

A happily engaged couple, and instant Internet fame.

“We caught a genuine moment of love, and that’s what people are reacting to,” Morris says.

Another reason for the video’s popularity may be its departure from traditional flash mob structures of synchronized dancing in unexpected public spaces. It’s still a spectacle, but one designed with a specific audience: the bride to-be. Morris described the feat as an act of “pure genuine love.”

She intentionally choreographed the dance with time to “play” between steps, allowing people to personally express their relationship with Amy.

“Each individual moment was actually what was happening from that person to Amy. So you really see them exuding their love for her,” she explains. “The goal was to make her smile.”

Lamb and Frankel were featured grinning ear-to-ear on The Today Show at the end of May, but they aren’t the only ones receiving attention. Morris has been invited to speak at a public salon in Vancouver and the State of the Now Conference in New York City to discuss the power of the Internet.

She’s also trying to organize an auction for the eye-catching red dress worn in the video. Designer Celeste Sipes, Morris’ business partner at the Radish Underground, has a near-identical version still available. Morris hopes that profits from its sale will contribute to arts and music education nationwide.

“We use our art as a gift for each other very frequently,” Morris says. For their group of friends, elaborate stunts and performance videos are nothing new. “But if we hadn’t all grown up with arts education, we wouldn’t make these videos for each another. We wouldn’t do what we do. We wouldn’t be who we are.”