We featured the Where the Hell is Matt? 2008 update – part of a continuing series of short films about a funny dance – as a Video Spotlight toward the end of 2012. It was, in fact, the original inspiration for our Video Spotlights as a continuing feature here at The Travel Word.
That’s why we were delighted to see that Matt Harding, the man behind the dance that must now have been performed by thousands of people around the globe, released his latest compilation this week.
It’s another classic, with all of the elements that made us love his previous work: great locations, enthusiastic participants and a surprisingly wide variety of dances on show.
However, it’s hard not to notice that the dancers who accompany Matt in Damascus, Syria, have had their faces blurred in the final footage. The segment was filmed in 2010, before the events of the Arab Spring. Since then, the situation in Syria has changed dramatically, and tragically.
In a recent interview, Matt explained “At the time, the dancers were fine with appearing in the video. When things turned bad, I was unsure whether contacting them would put them in jeopardy, and I couldn’t find any other way to reach out to them… I made the decision not to cut the footage out, because it spoke so directly to what the video is about for me.”
It’s sad to see the influence of such an awful event making its way into something that’s supposed to be a celebration of joy and simple pleasures. But we agree with Matt – it was right to keep the clip in the film. It’s our sincere hope that the people involved remain safe and that, perhaps, they have the opportunity to dance together again in the future.