‘Jerusalem’ Dance Challenge Comes to Ashland

ASHLAND – From Southern Africa to Austria, Germany, India and Spain, the viral dance challenge “Jerusalem” has been filmed around the world – and now in Ashland.

More than two dozen people gathered outside the Corner Spot on Saturday afternoon to film their take on the dance craze after practicing it for more than a month.

Last year, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, a catchy South African song and dance called “Jerusalema” by Master KG and Nomcebo became a viral sensation when an Angolan dance troupe called Fenómenos do Semba took to the skies. filmed dancing on it – with plates of food in hand.

Today, the official “Jerusalem” music video generated more than 383 million views after its premiere in December 2019; the video of Fenómenos do Semba dancing to the song has over 16 million views.

The lyrics are sung in Zulu, which is the most spoken language in South Africa, although you don’t need to understand the words to feel its message under the disco-house beat. The song, which was adapted from an old gospel hymn, describes returning to a better place and joining with others to go there – it’s a message many can relate to after more than a year. of grief and isolation, said Ashland resident Brenda Hedden, who led the charge in Ashland’s contribution to the challenge.

“I thought it would be a good way to bring everyone together again and do something that would be part of this global phenomenon,” said Hedden, circle leader and member of the Dream Factory Community, an empowerment organization. women. Most of the Saturday dancers at 6 Cherry St. were in the organization.

“We want to celebrate the fact that we survived last year and wanted to find something joyful to do,” Hedden said.

Carol Sereda, Founder and Director of Sereda DanceWorks at Natick, helped teach everyone the routine, said Nancy Cantor, founder of Dream Factory Community, who danced with her 4-year-old granddaughter, Reggie Cantor. A videographer also filmed the performance and will stitch all the footage into one video, which will include those dancing via Zoom who were unable to make it to Saturday’s in-person meeting.

Evie Wangler, 10, from Natick, was one of about 30 people attending a dance party organized by the Dream Factory community at the Corner Spot in Ashland on April 24, 2021. They were filming a dance to the South African song, "Jerusalema."

“I’m so thrilled that one of my members had this brilliant idea,” said Nancy Cantor. “This is a global initiative so it’s great that we’re here at Ashland’s Corner Spot, putting Ashland on the map. ”

Lauren Young writes about business and pop culture. Contact her at 774-804-1499 or lyoung@wickedlocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurenwhy__.