Philippines’ Prison Dance: Cebu Dancing Inmates

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Many artists and personalities put the Philippines in the map meaning they have given recognition to the Philippines. They are singers, actors, directors, modern heroes and other personalities but who have taught that people who are once a disgrace of the society can also give recognition to the Philippines.

CEBU DANCING INMATES

Cebu is popular with their Sinulog festival, Otap, Lechon Cebu, best guitars, Magellan’s Cross and other scenery and delicacies. Now, Cebu is also popular because of the people called The Cebu Dancing Inmates.

The Cebu Dancing Inmates came to fame last July 17, 2007, when a guy named Byron Garcia, the prison warden, uploaded a video of the Cebu inmates dancing to the tune of Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

THE STORY

It all started as a prison exercise attended by the inmates. It will start in a march with the beat of the drum then a transition to dance with a pop music. The inmates’ first dance is with the song “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd then to more masculine songs such as “In the Navy” and “YMCA”.

Byron Garcia, the prison warden, first uploaded the inmates’ video dancing in “Algorithm March” but only got 400 views then he uploaded their Thriller video which gives the Cebu Dancing Inmates their popularity.

After the worldwide phenomenon of the Cebu Dancing Inmates, the inmates’ participants increased from 967 inmates to 1,500 inmates per dance and they even had their own choreographer, Gwen Laydor and Vince Rosales.

GOING WORLDWIDE

YouTube can turn anyone into celebrity and that’s what happened to the Cebu Dancing Inmates. Their video wasn’t only recognized in the Philippines but also in other countries. They’ve been featured at CNN, BBC and other news channel in other countries they are even became a topic in Glee, a popular musical teen TV show.

Because of their international popularity Cebu Dancing Inmates became a tourist destination in Cebu. Tourists from different parts of the world go to Cebu and have a glimpsed on the wonderful performance of the Cebu Dancing Inmates.

When Michael Jackson died, Cebu Dancing Inmates became part of the “This is it” DVD, who shared their own tribute for the King of Pop with the help of Michael Jackson’s choreographer, Travis Payne. They danced Michael Jackson’s “They don’t really care about us” with an intro of “Bad” with Travis Payne and Jackson’s two dancers.

THE REASON BEHIND THE DANCE THERAPY

Byron Garcia, the prison warden came up with this idea to help the prisoner redeem themselves. He wants to help the prisoner to regain their dignity because they became disgrace to the society and been alienated. With the dance therapy they can overcome their depression and angst and through dancing, the prisoners can show that they can do better things other than being a disgrace to society. It is a way of giving the prisoner a second chance to proof themselves.

 

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