Students from Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary staged a dancewalk Friday afternoon, boogying their way down Fifth Street in Courtenay as shoppers and merchants looked on and, in some cases, joined in and busted a move or two.
The normally quiet, serene music piped over a set of speakers in downtown Courtenay was cranked up and the dial was switched to a pop station before about 400 students, many of them in their Pink Shirt Day antibullying T-shirts, danced their way down the sidewalks.
The concept is called dance walking, and it’s a way to get young people out in the sunshine to enjoy some music and the freedom to move their bodies.
“Friday afternoon before a long weekend – let’s get the kids outside, have some fun and wear our pink shirts,” said organizer Nick Moore, a teacher at Puntledge Park and a daily physical activity lead teacher for the district. The idea took shape after Moore was sent a Youtube video of people dance walking in New York.
“We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat if we did this downtown?’ and it took off from there,” he said.
Soon the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association was on board, agreeing to play the kids’ music.
Parent volunteers stood along the route to ensure the kids crossed the street safely while younger kids were paired up with older ones.
The students, along with teachers, parents and some enthusiastic shoppers and merchants, clearly enjoyed themselves. A few parents pushing strollers joined in and showed off their dance moves while younger students impressed with some classic throwbacks including “The Sprinkler” and “The Shopping Cart.”
The students danced from Fitzgerald Avenue down to Cliffe Avenue before turning and heading back up Fourth and Sixth streets and returning to school.
Moore said he wouldn’t hesitate to hold a dance walk again.
“Four hundred students outside being active in the sunshine – to me that’s a success,” he said.
To view the video that inspired Moore, go to www.ecolepuntledge.ca and click on “Dance Walk Link.”