Saturday, July 28, 2012
Dancing Around the World
This is something a little different than my usual post, as I could not resist sharing this video! (You can skip the commercial at the start after a few seconds.) Do you think the universal language of a smile, music and dancing could make the entire world a better place? For the few minutes of this video they do! After learning a few dance steps in each location at the beginning of the video, Matt begins to dance with participants from different countries, and you can not help but feel the joy everyone was experiencing.
It all began in 2006 with the video above. Matt, originally from Westport, Connecticut, had moved to Australia and enjoyed traveling around Southwest Asia. To keep his family back in the US informed about where he was, he began a blog and showing videos, which he entitled "Where the H**l is Matt?" A friend jokingly told him he should dance on each video and he began doing just that. Someone put it on YouTube and it had a million viewers before he knew it, and it has since gone of to be one of Youtube's most popular videos! Soon after the original movie was made, Matt attracted sponsors and was paid to travel and make more what he called "dancing badly" videos. At first, Matt would chose a local landmark of a spectacular piece of scenery to dance in front of -- if you watch the video above you'll see a place in Norway where I was amazed he'd even attempt to dance! However, he began to notice that when there wasn't anything of note to dance in front of and he chose a few children or locals to dance with him instead, his videos were even happier and more interesting. He went on to make many more videos which you can watch on his web site on this link, including his out takes and commercials. In this post he shows all the places in the world he has danced. What an amazing life he is leading!
But in the current 2012 video Matt hopes that viewers will also contribute to one of the seven programs in different countries he danced with, such as The Haitian Relief Organization, an on the ground medical and emergency relief organization in Haiti, the Yaowawit School Kapong, an orphanage and school in Thailand which has a lodge that teaches hotel management and hospitality skills to the students, or the Axis Dance Company in Oakland, California a contemporary dance troupe that mixes performers with and without disabilities. A complete list of the charities can be seen on this link. I applaud his efforts, both in this novel way he supports himself and now his outreach towards helping others that are in need.
This is an interview by a reporter in Rome, Italy (in English) that gives more info about what Matt is doing now and the process of making the videos. There is also a good interview on this NY Times link.
Who would have thought that a few seconds of dancing would bring Matt fame and fortune and the opportunity to dance around the world? Matt has become sort of an ambassador of dance, and has helped bring a happy smile to many faces!
Do you like to dance? Wouldn't you love to dance around the world?