Less than two weeks after the deadliest mass shooting in American history took place in Orlando, a new organization called Keep Dancing Orlando has formed. It wishes to honor the 49 people who lost their lives on June 12, and demonstrate the Florida city's resilience. Keep Dancing Orlando aims to raise money through dance — an incredibly touching and fitting way to honor the victims of the shooting, which took place at Pulse, a gay dance club.
On Wednesday, Keep Dancing Orlando released a video of Orlandoans of all ages dancing around the city — in barbershops and parks, on soccer fields, in front of a brewery, at Disney World, and at a construction site. Whitney Houston's song "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" plays in the background, and many of the videos show dancers in front of "Orlando Strong" billboards and murals.
On their website, Keep Dancing Orlando shares their mission statement:
49 beautiful souls were taken at Pulse, but their spirit dances on in all of us. Let’s cherish their memory and celebrate their lives by dancing in their honor. Let’s show the world that love conquers all — that joy and happiness can’t be stopped. Now more than ever before, Orlando is The City Beautiful. We will recover. We will grow stronger. We will keep dancing.
Keep Dancing Orlando asks that people make videos of themselves dancing around Orlando and upload them to the site, as well as donate to the fund to help those affected by the June 12 mass shooting. The Keep Dancing Orlando video is circulating all over social media, and the organization even tweeted the video at Ellen DeGeneres, Miley Cyrus, and Jimmy Fallon — clearly hoping that celebrities, too, will upload videos of themselves dancing.
What may be surprising about the Keep Dancing Orlando video is that it's joyful. It's almost impossible not to smile while watching all the dancers. The video begins with a voiceover saying:
When I think about Orlando, I think of nothing but fun, and joy, and families. If anyone can do it, you can. Keep loving each other, keep respecting each other, and keep on dancing.
It's clear that Keep Dancing Orlando does not want Orlando to be defined by the hate crime which took place on June 12. Instead, they want to promote fun and joy, and respect for the city's LGBTQ community. Keep Dancing Orlando's video is undeniably uplifting — albeit bittersweet — and seems to be the perfect way to commemorate those who died in the mass shooting. The video proves that Orlando can still be defined by happiness and acceptance, not hate.