Dancing Badly All Over the World
Matt Harding, a native of Connecticut, was working as a video-game designer in Australia. In his early 20’s, he found his work “insulating.” So he decided to quit his job and travel the world with a couple of friends. On a whim, his friends took videos of him dancing in front of one famous landmark after another. Matt is not a dancer. One observer described Matt’s kind of dance as “an awkward limb-flailing dance of joy.”
Matt uploaded these short clips of him dancing to his website for his family and friends. A few videos later, Matt’s dancing went viral. But he soon got bored dancing alone, so he sought other people to dance with him. He now has produced several videos with him dancing with people all over the globe. This is how Matt describes what he does: “I travel all over the world dancing badly with people.” He now has a few corporate sponsors who help pay for his travel and video production. In 2010, Time included one of his videos among the top 50 videos to watch. And two years later, the New York Times called his 2012 video “a masterpiece.”
In the 2012 video (which I have included below) Matt dances in 71 locations, in 55 countries, and 11 U.S. states. (Yes, Clevelanders, he even came to our fair city and dances in front of the Free Stamp! Watch for it!) Matt sometimes dances in the style of the country he’s in. Other times he teaches the group or large crowd a few movements of dances he knows. The end of this video shows him simply dancing in his own backyard in Seattle with his wife and small son.
Matt has danced all over the world—even underwater and in zero-gravity. Sometimes he says he has to speed up or slow down the film of the dance to fit the beat of the music. When he danced with a few women in Syria, he decided to blur their faces. Men and women don’t dance together in some cultures so he was just “playing it safe.”
Someone asked him what places he’d like to go to or revisit. He named a few lesser known countries, adding, “The places I know the least about I find the most interesting and exciting.” Lately his traveling has tapered off a bit because he now has two young sons. But he’s not finished with his dancing yet. He says, “Soon my boys will be old enough to travel.”
I came upon Matt Harding’s videos by chance and I really enjoyed them. They show people all over the world united in one common endeavor: dance! The dancing brought a smile to my face. Even though I, like Matt, dance badly (except for the polka!), I still love to dance and I enjoy watching others dance—whether they dance badly or beautifully!
Here’s Matt Harding’s 2012 video. The song is “Trip the Light.” The music was composed by Garry Schyman and the lyrics were written by Alicia Lemke and Matt Harding. The song is sung by Lemke. The second video is just the song with the lyrics.
Here is the song with the lyrics:
What do you think of Matt’s video? Any responses to the song? We’d love to hear from you!
PS: Last Saturday I gave a morning of reflection to 80 church ministers at St. John Neumann Parish in Strongsville, OH. I really enjoyed meeting and interacting with these generous volunteers! My next talk will be on Monday, December 5, at St. Paschal Parish in Highland Heights, OH. I will speak from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM on “Unwrapping the Gifts of Advent: Courage, Love, and Hope.”
That was fun! (And good to see Cambridge, MA!) Thank you, Sr Melannie! Thank you, Matt Harding!
Dear Sister Melannie,
We really needed this! The whole country should watch it! That video was not only joyously beautiful but also so, so timely. I plan on starting each class with it. Thank you.
Dear Sr. Melannie,
This post is perfect in its timeliness. Matt is a wonderful ambassador of love, peace, and unity. I want everyone I know to see the video! Thank you!
such joy! Thank you.
Thank you Sister. I’d not seen that video before, and it echoed what a friend recently posted, ‘There is still dancing”.
I watched this video with tears in my eyes–so joyous, so touching. Bless you for sharing it.
Dear Sister Melannie,
Thank you for sharing this video. Everyone should see this. So uplifting.
Just joyful to watch and love the lyrics. One of your best finds to share. Thanks
What joy! Put a smile on my face & a tear in my eye
For such happiness! Thank you!
What a fantastic video! I know I will be sharing this with lots of groups. I agree with Ellie that this video is “one of your best finds to share.” Thank you.
Hi Sister Melannie
Thank You what a joyous and happy chance for you to find this video.
I will share it with my friends …. as you have done.
That was fun!
What a great way to spend some times your life…..dance has so many meaning…..obviously Matt’s is to spread unity, peace, joy .
the lyrics of the song are so biblical in meaning…wonderful
try dancing for keeping trim and a sense of freedom….dance with or without a partnere.
How cool was that and how timely? And just what we all needed to experience at the start of a new week.
Dear Responders, It looks as if you enjoyed this song and video as much as I did! I confess, I had this reflection scheduled for December. But when I contemplated the headlines in the news–especially those that reflected the divisions in my own country–I decided to post it today!I needed something positive and upbeat. I thought many of you might too! Sr. Melannie
We needed this! I could just see God looking down at this and smiling! THIS is how we are meant to be with each other – simply joyful!
I love it! He was brave (especially with fire batons) and humble (with the graceful Asian people and the tiny ballerinas) to do that, but it also looked like a lot of fun!! Thanks so much for sharing it.
Hi, Sr. Marilyn T. Sabatino!
So happy you read these reflections and also enjoy them.
Sending peace and joy your way.
Thank you for sharing moments of sheer delight … the video and the song will be noted in my prayer journal this evening as today’s special blessings. The idea of dancing one’s way around the world is awesome! A gift of joy to innumerable others!
Hi Sister Melanie,
What a heartwarming video. Matt is truly an ambassador of good will.
Thank you for sharing such a JOYFUL video. Everyone around the world was dancing with joy. It made my heart sing.
LOVE your blogs, Sr. Melannie! This video was so full of joy! Just what the USA needs today!
Oh…a moment of peace and joy during a dark time. Thank you.
Dear Sr. Melannie,
We all enjoyed the video by Matt Harding. We swayed and sang with the song. We liked being with everyone around the world. Let’s do it again.
Loved it!! I wanted to join in from Mentor, Ohio!!
Oh how I wish I would have chosen to dance poorly instead of not dancing at all.
I was fascinated how people of all ages and from diverse cultures and circumstances can all find good reasons to dance.
Thanks for sharing Matt’s video. It was very heart warming and joyous. It’s a video I’ll be watching more than once for sure.
If only we could stop fighting and just dance and sing
together….oh, wait, no…that will be in Heaven!
Absolutely loved this. Just what we needed at this time.
Spirit Lifter! Thanks!
Amazing. It is being circulated now at a time when people need to know that we are the light. All brothers and sisters, one dance, one heart.
November 20, 2016
Thank you again & again for the joy you’ve given our family as I share this dance with our teens. Blessings!