dancing video guy

Yesterday when I stumbled across the dancing guy video (posted below), I was charmed and delighted. Of course I had to know more about the dude, so I immediately visited his website – www.wherethehellismatt.com. My main question was whothehellismatt and howthehell was he able to make this video? Here’s the deal.

Matt worked as a video game designer. At some point in his mid/late twenties, he realized what most of us know – working in an office makes you pale and fat, and sitting in front of a computer all day sucks. So, since he’d been working for a software company and had been making the dough for a while, he took his savings, quit his job and traveled around the world. While on that trip, I think they were in Vietnam, his buddy suggested he do his lunch dance in front of the little digital camera they’d brought along. Evidently when Matt was ready to go eat lunch back in the office days, he’d go up to this guy’s cube and do the shuffle featured in the video – it’s amazing the shit you’ll come up with at work to remind yourself that you do indeed have a soul and have so much more to offer than your mad typing skills.

Because the shuffle-dancing was funny, Matt did it for the rest of the round-the-world trip and compiled version one of this video (the 2005 version). His sister liked it and wanted to be able to share it with friends, so he uploaded a copy on his website. As often happens with the in-ter-nets, the video was passed around and was eventually posted on blogs all over the world. A gum company (Stride) contacted him to say that they liked what he’d done and wanted to fund another trip around the world. They were clear that their intentions were not to fuck with what worked and that he could decide where to go, where to shoot, etc. According to Matt, they did indeed leave him alone and basically just paid his travel bills.

He got back from his second trip around the world, this one lasting six months and taking him to all seven continents. He put the video together and posted it, and that’s that. The Stride logo appears very briefly in the middle of the video, but otherwise is very unobtrusive. Unusual. I’m surprised they didn’t make him wear a Stride tee-shirt or blow bubbles while he was dancing. Assuming he’s telling the whole story, the company sounds pretty cool to me. I will now buy their gum in small repayment.

I tell you all this because I find his story inspiring in multiple ways. I was initially touched by the absolute fucking joy evident in the video. The sense of a shared earth, the feeling of community, the reminder of how much beauty is in the world, the notion that just doing a simple little dance can express so much happiness, the complete lack of self-consciousness (even when doing a dorky dance in the middle of a crowded intersection). So fucking beautiful. As I got to know a bit about his story, I was even more inspired to note that this guy was not trying to be the next big thing. He did something to amuse himself and his family. Just for the love of it. And people responded, in a big way – 4.5 million hits on You Tube and counting – because he’s not hustling you. He’s not selling you something or getting ready to go on a reality show or sell his own line of dancing shoes. It’s a reminder to us all to just keep doing what you love (for me, that’s writing to you in this blog, via theatre and, to a lesser extent, the Houstonist column).

So keep doing what you love. Wonderful things will happen for you.