The Jerusalema dance has taken the world by storm and now the viral dance challenge has made its way to Gananoque.
"When I first saw some of the videos on my YouTube, I was just captivated," said Dennis O’Connor, president of the Gananoque Art Network and a town councillor.
"I just thought they were all so happy and joyful. I thought we need to that here; we need to do that in Gananoque. We've had a difficult time with the pandemic. People get tired, they get exhausted and I thought this was a great way to pick up people's spirits, just the joy of music and dance."
Jerusalema started as a South African gospel-influenced song by producer Master KG, and it features vocals by singer-songwriter Nomcebo. After Jerusalema rose to fame following its music video release in 2019, it quickly became a viral dance challenge all over the world, which challenges people everywhere to post a video of them dancing to the song on social media.
The Gananoque Art Network introduced the idea to have community members participate in the challenge back in April. Despite the changing rules and regulations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, O'Connor believes they had a good outcome and wanted to showcase the town.
"If you think about what we've been living through, like the problems of racism, the pandemic and all of these things together and these people from all around the world are being joined together by one song, one dance. How beautiful is that?" said O’Connor, who added he is very proud of the video and everyone who was involved.
"It gave us a chance to showcase our lovely little town, and showing some of the best parts of it," he added. "The video wasn't only a chance to show off how friendly and lovely we are, but how beautiful the area we live in is."
There were 12 different groups around town who danced in the final video, including the Gananoque Fire Department, the visitors' centre, and the horticulture society.
Town hall staff, including the town crier, also participated in the dance, as well as both the Lions and Rotary club members, families who live in town and a local nursing home.
The Gananoque Art Network painters and dance groups called Dancin’ Dreamers and the Juliettes also participated in the challenge.
It took roughly two weeks to finish all the filming of the final video and it is now available to watch on YouTube. Tanya Trombetta at the Creative Nest filmed and edited the video of the dance challenge.
The art network hired Debra Donaldson to provide free dance choreography lessons on how to do the Jerusalema dance. She offered lessons once a week for anybody who wanted to learn and had a YouTube video tutorial for people who wanted to follow along at home.
"We just had so much fun and laughter, and smiles and those are all the things Dennis wanted, we accomplished," said Donaldson.
She added people needed something in their lives that wasn't just the same thing as usual.
"Hopefully it's going to go viral like all the other dances that have been done," said O'Connor.
"To show the world exactly who we are, what we are and where we are, and come on down and be a part of the great art community," he added.
As of Monday, the video that was published on Donaldson's YouTube has 2,355 views.
Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times