My ear isn't exactly to the YouTube grindstone. I had never heard of Matt Harding until I read Charles McGrath's New York Times article about Harding's strange, fascinating, and ultimately thrilling 4-minute video clip.
This guy traveled the world and did a weird dance everywhere he went. It sounds simple, and yet while I watched it I felt almost moved to tears. This video is somehow extraordinary.
Millions of people have watched as well, in just the past two weeks that the video has been up. See it for yourself:
In many ways "Dancing" is an almost perfect piece of Internet art: it's short, pleasingly weird and so minimal in its content that it's open to a multitude of interpretations. It could be a little commercial for one-world feel-goodism. It could be an allegory of American foreign policy: a bumptious foreigner turning up all over the world and answering just to his own inner music. Or it could be about nothing at all -- just a guy dancing.
However you interpret it, you can't watch "Dancing" for very long without feeling a little happier. The music (by Gary Schyman, a friend of Mr. Harding's, and set to a poem by Rabindranath Tagore, sung in Bengali by Palbasha Siddique, a 17-year-old native of Bangladesh now living in Minneapolis) is both catchy and haunting. The backgrounds are often quite beautiful. And there is something sweetly touching and uplifting about the spectacle of all these different nationalities, people of almost every age and color, dancing along with an uninhibited doofus.
For those who can't get enough, Harding's outtakes and other vids are now racking up hits in the millions as well. Share it and spread the international, kinesthetic love.
Dan Brown is the author of The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle.