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Life Arts    H4'ed 7/23/09

The Accidental Dancer: Where the Hell is Matt?

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Where the Hell IS Matt?

He's not hard to find. The unpretentious, self-described, "32-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut," currently resides right smack at the top four google results for "Matt."

Matt Harding's quirky "dance heard 'round the world" has been viewed nearly 75 million times online. He's no Barishnikov, yet his geeky dance moves have netted him personal appearances on Good Morning America, American Morning, and The Early Show. His video clips have been seen on a long list of daytime shows, topped by Oprah and Ellen.

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Time magazine called Where the Hell is Matt 2008 the best viral video of the year, neatly positioning it a full three places ahead of the seminal blockbuster, Hamster on a Piano (Eating Popcorn).

And now Matt's quirky new book offers more insights into his media miracle, inspiring lots of laughter and a few tears, as it sits happily on appreciative coffee tables.

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Did he plan all this success? Nope. It all sort of just happened while he was busy "following his bliss," to quote the venerable Joseph Campbell.

A video game designer, Matt had responded sarcastically to their high levels of violence by quipping to his boss that the next game should be called, "Destroy All Humans." They took him seriously. That game is now a hit. But Matt realized right away that he had sabotaged himself by inspiring a project that he had absolutely no desire to participate in.

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So he traded his increasingly unsatisfying job for footloose adventure. In 2003 he traveled around the globe for the duration of his savings.

He and his friend Brad were hangin' in Hanoi, when Brad said the deceptively innocent words, "hey, stand over there and do that silly dance you do, and I'll record it on your camera."

It was an animated souvenir, akin to the familiar traveling gnome prank: featured in the 2001 movie, Amalie, a garden gnome is kidnapped, taken on a trip, and photographed at famous landmarks before being returned.

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So, Matt collected dancing clips as personal mementos for the remainder of the trip.

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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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