Why Do Dance Videos Go Viral?

October 23, 2014

A video of two American priests battling it out on the dance floor—er, dinner table—went viral this week. The clip features the pair dancing at a dinner at North American College, a rectory not far from the Vatican. One priest does an upbeat tap dance, the other does an Irish jig. It’s playful and unexpected, garnering over 750,000 views (and counting) on YouTube. 

Dance videos go viral all the time: a Norwegian military unit 
doing the Harlem Shake
, Harvard Medical School students 
in a parody
 of “What Does The Fox Say”, an elderly man 
throwing down his cane
 and dancing, a mother and son breaking into a fabulously 
choreographed dance mashup
 at his wedding… The list could go on and on and on. 

Often what these viral videos share is not stellar technique or dazzlingly impressive feats, but elements of surprise and relatability. These are normal, everyday people, trying their hand at dance. To me, this celebrates the joyful, uninhibiting, inclusive nature of dance, where there is a place for anyone; all are welcome. To dance, all you need is yourself, and these videos remind us of that. I’ll never lose interest in watching Sofiane Sylve do 
picture perfect pirouettes
, but I’ll also always be up for a clip of an adorable small child and her father 
dancing to “Shake It Off”


, dancers everywhere!