Rural school's Michael Jackson dance becomes Internet hit

13:18, April 18, 2011      

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A video appearing to show more than 700 primary school children dancing to Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" at a rural school in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality has taken the web by storm.

The eight-minute video appeared on China's popular video-sharing Web site youku.com last week and quickly spread to a widely used microblogging service run by Internet portal sina.com.

The video, presented by Wushan County's Duping Primary School in collaboration with the local press, shows boys and girls swarming onto a dirt playground, moonwalking and dancing to Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" in the same way as the late "King of Pop" did.

The school, located near the Yangtze River's Three Gorges Dam, is surrounded by mountains.

The video ends with a message from the school's faculty, reading "all our efforts are worthwhile as long as the children grow up happily."

"It's amazing to see children in such a remote place dance so well," said an Internet user with the screen name "Beyond the South" on Tianya.com, a popular online forum. "I guess one of their teachers, or their headmaster, is a Michael Jackson fan."

But one of the video's producers, Wang Zhonghua, said he was not really a fan. "We teach the children to dance every year. Last year, we danced to another hit, 'Nobody'," he said.

Wang, who teaches Chinese at Duping Primary School and has never studied modern dance, said the choice to use Jackson's song was a coincidence. "We just felt it was animated and the children seemed to enjoy the song," he said.

Wang and sports teacher Ran Jia watched Jackson's video and learned to perform the dance themselves before teaching their students.

"The children learned really fast and they could dance well in just a week," said Wang.

The students started learning the dance in March, just after the start of the spring semester, said school principal Su Ya.

Su said the children all enjoyed learning the dance. "Most of them are staying with relatives, as their parents have to work in faraway cities. Many of the children are very quiet and restrained for their age. But they seem happier and laugh louder when they dance to Jackson's music," Su said.

"I love dancing," said 12-year-old Ruan Xiaoyu, one of the most talented dancers at the school. "When I danced at home, my brother was fascinated and insisted I teach him, too," Ruan said.

Most Internet users praised the school's efforts as "pioneering" and "cool", saying that introducing the dance has added color to the lives of rural children.

Some, however, believe that the music and lyrics of "Dangerous" are not appropriate for children.

Local officials were apparently unprepared for the school's overnight fame. "Modern dancing is just part of the students' pastimes," said Luo Zhongbin, an official in charge of education in the village of Duping.

"The students can keep dancing as long as it proves to be good for their personal and physical development," Luo said.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
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