Dancing For Human Rights
Where the heck are Grosvenor School’s Grade 6 students?
Inspired by a viral YouTube star, a group of Grade 6 students from Winnipeg’s Grosvenor School decided to create their own dance video last week outside the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Teacher Sid Williamson said her students were fascinated with the online videos, “Where the Hell is Matt?”, an American who records himself doing a “stupid dance” all over the world -- first in front of iconic landmarks, then with groups of smiling and laughing people (after enticing Rwandan village children to join along). He has become so famous online that Visa hired him to do a series of ads and he now raises money for various global human-rights projects.
“We created our own inspiring dance, based on the whole notion that human rights don’t end here and we’ve got this beautiful building to remind us of the journey that we need to be on,” Williamson said, adding one of the kids is editing the video with the help of a school technology support person.
“It’s such an incredible building and it makes you think, every time you go by – like a reminder of our need to promote and support human rights everywhere.”
The class even connected with Matt Harding himself on Facebook, and choreographed their dance to the same song used in his 2012 video – “Trip the Light” – gaining permission from his co-writers Garry Schyma, and Alicia Lemke. The lyrics are perfect for the Museum setting, given its own use of darkness and light symbolism.
“We’re going to trip the light.
We’re going to break the night.
And we’ll see with new eyes.
When we trip the light.”
Williamson said her class loves the idea expressed by the song of moving outside “safe boxes” and opening yourself up to the differences of the world. The video is the students’ gift to themselves, a souvenir of their years at Grosvenor School, which has a strong focus on human rights. They move on to a new school next year – for some, their first experience outside their own safe boxes.
As for Matt, he writes on his Website that he thinks travel is extremely important.
“It helps us learn what we’re capable of, that the path laid in front of us isn’t the only one we can choose, and that we don’t need to be so afraid of each other all the time.”