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Life Arts    H4'ed 7/23/09

The Accidental Dancer: Where the Hell is Matt?

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"I'm trying to incite curiosity in other people." he says, "I want to show people a tiny little snippet (of the world) and make them want to know more."

Matt's videos are at his site, and on YouTube. You'll laugh out loud unless you're a lifeless cynic, and then I'd prescribe watching all his videos nonstop until you can get your sorry priorities straightened out.

Before returning from his trip, the spark of another concept had begun to germinate for Matt - the even more radical idea of actually sharing the substantial joys of "dancing badly," by dancing badly with other people. So Stride gum sponsored his third trip. And to their credit, they didn't insist on mucking up Matt's artistic vision with a wad of gum in every take. They simply received a dignified credit at the end of the video.

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Melissa did the organizing, contacting the fans who had emailed him, to plan where and when to meet. Thousands of fans came to the party.

In Madrid, scores of dancers came from all over the country to dance badly with Matt. Turns out, via Internet communication, they had decided to generate the largest turnout of any country in the world. And it was here that Matt perfected his "run-in shot" with the group descending upon him from both sides after he had danced a few steps alone.

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The book offers the background stories of how Matt came to dance in a gorgeously costumed Bollywood dance scene in India, as well as in the more sedate setting of the North Korean Demilitarized Zone.

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And how he danced with Israelis, and with Palestinians. And with the Wigmen of Papua, New Guinea.

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The Chicago Tribune called the video, "spectacular, a cry of life and brotherhood and joy that will leave you grinning."

USA Today dubbed the internet sensation a "word-of-mouse phenomenon."

And the otherwise stodgy NY Times called it, "Almost the perfect piece of Internet art.... However you interpret it, you can't watch 'Dancing' for very long without feeling a little bit happier."

When asked about his favorite place in the world, Matt cites Bhutan, which is in the Himalayas, between China and India.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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