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Beyoncé’s doing it…

May 14th, 2011 - By Therese Madden

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…so is Michelle Obama — moving their bodies that is. Beyoncé’s recently released video “Move Your Body” is entertainment, but it’s also encouragement for kids to get moving. Watch students from Philadelphia’s Abigail Vare Elementary and Parkway Center City High School get in step.


Photos and Video by Matt Campbell


Watch the students from Abigail Vare Elementary and Parkway Center City High School move their bodies to Beyoncé’s new dance. Be sure to tell us in the comments below who you think has the better moves? Abigail Vare or Parkway?

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Have you seen the new Beyoncé video? It takes place in a school cafeteria and the pop star gets all the kids up and dancing. Here’s the thing, this is not just a music video fantasy world, Beyoncé really is getting kids dancing.

Two of the student-dancers from Parkway Center City High School

At Abigail Vare Elementary School in Philadelphia, the kids here, like students at schools all over the country have learned the Beyoncé “Let’s Move” Dance. According to 8th grader, Brianna, it’s quite a work out, “when I was doing it, I was really sweating and exercising and it’s a really motivating song and get up and dance not like one of those boring exercise songs.” The dance is a little over 4 minutes long and it is action packed, it gets them running, doing cool dance moves, there’s even a little salsa. “What we are seeing here is a responsible use of celebrity,” says Renee Hobbs, a professor of communications at Temple University. She says the video has already made an impact, “one of the reasons it’s so effective is that it is a terrifically catchy song with a wonderful set of support materials to help kids learn the dance moves associated with the song.”

This is a fully thought out campaign. Beyoncé teamed up with the National Association of Broadcasters, they provided schools with materials, such as a “how to” video taught by her long time choreographer Frank Gatson Jr. There’s also an introduction from the Pop diva herself, “hello everyone, it’s Beyoncé and I’m very honored to be a part of the NAB and our First Lady Michelle Obamas’ ‘Let’s Move Initiatiative,’ it’s all about promoting the benefits of healthy eating and exercise, but what we want to do is make it fun by doing something we all love to do and that’s dance…”

At Parkway Center City High School in Philadelphia, the teens are proving her right. It’s only 10 in the morning, but the energy level in this gymnasium is high as the kids warm up to do the dance. Gym teacher Sally McGovern stands in the front of the room with a proud grin, she only wishes she would have thought of this sooner. “It bought out more exercise in these kids then I’ve been able to produce, cause of the music. The music, the dance, I wish more popular artists would come up with stuff like this cause the kids love it.”

Whether or not the dance and the message will have long lasting effects is yet to be determined. I asked Temple professor Renee Hobbs if she remembers another example of celebrity influencing adolescent behavior in a positive way. She went back a ways… remember “Happy Days?” Well, “in one episode when the Fonz went to the public library and took out a library card within the next month the American Library Association reported that there was something like a 3000% increase in the number of library cards issued, so Beyoncé is the new Fonz.”



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