by: Jo Sarah Stanford
Monday, 12 November 2018 | Six hundred dancers filled Jerusalem’s First Station plaza Sunday night for the Worldwide Dance for Kindness event. People of all ages—from around 8 to 60—joined together in dance to bring a little joy and kindness into the world.
Now in its seventh year, Dance for Kindness was created by the nonprofit organization Life Vest Inside. Each year, people of all ages learn the same dance to the same song and perform together in public. The aim is to promote unity and bring joy to people’s day, encouraging them to be a little kinder to others.
The energy was tangible at the station as dancers dressed in the Life Vest Inside signature orange, unable to wait for the main event, were already breaking out the moves. Spectators—family, friends and strangers— gathered around to watch.
Founder and CEO of Life Vest Inside, Orly Wahba, opened the Jerusalem event with a passionate speech.
“What we’re about to do here tonight is not just happening here, it’s happening in over 120 cities, 50 countries,” she said. “People of every different race, religion, ethnicity, culture, background—joined together to do what people say is impossible.”
Wahba shared how she had recently moved to Jerusalem from the US and that Jerusalem held a special place in her heart—for the organization and personally.
“I would give it a year,” she said, explaining that she didn’t know whether her move would be permanent. “…What was I thinking? After 24 hours I knew Jerusalem was the place for me.”
Life Vest Inside gained worldwide recognition in 2011 when its short film “Kindness Boomerang” went viral—to date it has almost 30 million views on YouTube. The film was shown before the dance and everyone sang along to “One Day” by Matisyahu, which has become Life Vest’s official anthem.
It was inspiring to hear so many people—especially the younger generation—sing the lyrics at the top of their voices, “All my life I´ve been waiting for, I´ve been praying for, for the people to say: That we don´t want to fight no more, they´ll be no more wars, and our children will play.”
Finally, the 600-strong dance crew took its place. This year’s song—chosen through a competition for upcoming musicians—was “Unity” by the Solomon Brothers. The participants danced enthusiastically. Standing in the midst of the crowd, I couldn’t help but be swept into the excitement and passion. The song ended with a cheer and a sense of achievement from everyone involved.
Next, everyone was treated to a live performance by the Solomon Brothers themselves, followed by Israeli pop-rock singer Ishay Ribo.
Esther and Aviva, both 18, participated in the dance for the first time. They were part of the volunteer team and organized a group of dancers from their school. Aviva said she enjoyed teaching the dance to others, while Esther enjoyed dancing with people of all ages. Currently in Israel for study, they intend to participate in the dance next year back home in the US.
I spoke to Wahba after the dance, and she immediately gave me a hug and thanked me for coming—kindness in action. When I asked her about her goals for the future and the next step for the Dance for Kindness, she gave a big smile. She explained that she would like to see Life Vest branches and kindness ambassadors in every city because “kindness means something different in every city.”
Wahba said her goal is to unite people in a way like never before. “Empowering people to love who they are and what they believe in, so they can have the confidence to love others.”
Looking at the crowd, she spoke with joy at how many people had become part of the kindness movement and with hope for what it might become. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there is something bigger than this, bigger than myself.”
Posted on November 12, 2018
Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 12, 2018)
Photo Credit: Jo Sarah Stanford/Bridges for Peace
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