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Dancing with the Homeless

If you were following my blog in December, you know that I got hit with a case of the “single for the first time in a decade” blues. I was having such a hard time feeling any sort of holiday spirit. I was in the dumps, and though I tried to keep a stiff upper lip, the weight of everything seemed to hit me at once.

Long story short, I realized that the only way I could pull my head out of my butt was to get some perspective and focus on others. So, Christmas afternoon some friends and I headed down to the homeless district in downtown Salt Lake City for a day of dancing. We somewhat cautiously and hesitantly climbed out of my truck and started talking to whatever homeless people we could find.

I didn’t know what to expect, really. I didn’t know if dancing (especially on Christmas) was something any of them would want to do, especially with a camera in their face. But, that hesitancy quickly melted away. Not only did people start dancing, others came to join them. In fact, there was almost nobody we talked to who wasn’t willing to dance with us.

After they each danced, we asked them what they were thankful for. I couldn’t believe that every single one of them was able to immediately recite an entire list. Here I was, feeling down in the dumps, even though I was surrounded with all the luxuries of life, good friends, good family, and everything I ever needed, while these people with almost nothing had no problem declaring their gratitude for so much.

They were good people, truly thankful for the breath in their lungs and the shoes on their feet. All I have to say is, a couple hours talking to them, hearing their stories, and dancing with them took away any blues I had been feeling. It put life into perspective again. And, it made us all really happy.

I made this video of it, enjoy. Bookmark it and any time you’re feeling like life is too tough, watch it and remember that no matter how hard life gets, you can always dance.

If you missed our first dancing video, you can watch it here.

And… NO MORE EXCUSES! Come dance with us! Take a 5-20 second video of yourself dancing (no matter how silly you think you look!) and send it to me via email to [email protected] If the file is too big, use a free service like transferbigfiles.com and send it to me that way. I know you all have a camcorder on your digital camera or even your cell phone!

Life’s too awesome to not make other people happy with your dancing. Remember, at Single Dad Laughing there is no such thing as bad dancers.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS, if you’re new here, find a way to follow us! We have a lot of fun around here. And if this made you feel happy, share that happiness by sharing this.

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215 comments
Yepppp
Yepppp

This seriously brought tears to my eyes. It was beyond amazing! Especially because I felt like I was experiencing it as well thanks to you and your friends. :) 

I really love posts like this one. They truly put things into perspective and make clear the things important to me. I look forward to doing something like this in the near future. Thank you, Dan! I wouldn't be making these plans without your example. 


Also, giving a couple hundred is a big deal even if you feel like it isn't much. I gave a homeless man $20 today on my way home from school. As an 18 year old and a college student, parting with money is difficult. I was really proud of myself for giving more than usual and I know I did the right thing. The man was unbelievably grateful and kept repeating, "God bless you" to me. You did good. I'm pretty sure you having fun with them meant just as much to them as the gift cards anyway. Two in one!

modernmom23
modernmom23

That is utterly amazing.  You are a good person Dan, and it is heartwarming to see people who are not afraid of homeless people.  They are not bad, they are just having extremely tough times. 

JessParizek
JessParizek

I stumbled upon your blog, and have started from the begining; like reading a book. This truly brought me to tears at how awesome this is, that you do this. It's inspired me to do something like that.

MiriamJane
MiriamJane

that was fun! every one loves to dance! even if its only in the shower!!!!

Amy Shepherd
Amy Shepherd

I beleive this in the best post you've ever written/lived.

Linda Konner
Linda Konner

this is great! there is something so universal about music and dancing... truely a way of connecting with other human beings. Thanks for reposting this one.

Denise Murphy
Denise Murphy

Gonna dance...that's my promise! Thank you for the inspiration and hope. Reminds me, somehow, crazily, of "Shawshank Redemption". My heart is fuller, b/c of you...

Di Anna Lawhead
Di Anna Lawhead

Kevin ... shush. Treating people as humans, is the right thing to do. i have been homeless.

Olivia Moore Brower
Olivia Moore Brower

Seriously, Kevin? Maybe you should turn your rage towards someone a little more deserving...like a boyscout helping a grandmother crossing the road.... Sheesh, someone's got issues!

Kevin Harris
Kevin Harris

WTF is wrong with you? I hope you're giving ten percent back to those homeless in royalties. Did they consent to be in your self-serving video? You know, some people do this kind of stuff without recording it. And go ahead, block me....DB!

Tess Vivian
Tess Vivian

Posted this cause I really do think everyone involved in this is wonderful. U made them smile and forget for a bit and gave them their soul back!!!

Stacey Robertson
Stacey Robertson

I used to work at a homeless shelter and I am sure those people were just happy to be recognized as human beings. I would have long talks with our clients and they would say that within the shelter was where they felt most comfortable, accepted and loved but as soon as they left and went out into the public they felt invisible and ignored because most people don't want to see them. Christmas can be an especially tough time for someone that has a home and a family, for someone homeless it can be devastatingly lonely. I am sure you brightened their day and made them feel like someone cares and that is an amazing thing.

Anna Rees Ferrell
Anna Rees Ferrell

This was great!! You never disappoint!! Thank you! I needed this today for sure!!

Valerie Arave
Valerie Arave

I didn't see this in Dec....but being a single mom in a new state with no family or friends made these holidays extra difficult. Even more so when it was not my turn to have the kids on a holiday. I try really hard not to get down. I know that even though I never in a million years pictured myself in this place, it was out of my control, and I know there are so many people out there that have it worse than me. We have started a new tradition here that helps keep things in check. Every holiday we make 75-100 little gift bags with treats and encouraging sayings. Then we dress up. Hop on the MAX (city train) and wander around chatting with people and handing out our little gifts of love. The kids were hesitant at first but now they start talking about the next outing on the drive home from the current one

Reuben McPeak
Reuben McPeak

Thats such a beautiful thing! Great sound track to mix with it as well.

AndreaLillesCrane
AndreaLillesCrane

That was Awesome the smiles you brought to their  faces brought a tear to my eye. 

Mike
Mike

First response, Wow that seems somewhat cruel.

After watching, Amazed. Why shouldn't they be allowed to dance? Amen to you and your friends for sharing your light.

Rose
Rose

Absolutely beautiful video. Brought me to tears of joy, sadness, laughter, thankfulness...all rolled into one. You are inspiring!
My recent post This Girls Got Game

Morgana
Morgana

I wish I could see your video...but living in Germany....it says you have music that is not available here. I'll be in Texas soon...I'll have to see it then. :)

Michelle Fox
Michelle Fox

You rock Dan! Way to step out of your self-pity & a great reminder to just dance!! It's the quickest way to reach our higher spirits & our JOY!

Jola
Jola

I just needed this.Today they are going to hook of ( I don't know how to say it different in English) my sweet Dad from the ' breathingmachine'.WE are so gratefull he never knew en felt in what situation he came in.We only had a couple a days to get used to it. Well, you never get used to something like that.But this video gave me a little smile. Thank you!
My recent post Spannend

Amy
Amy

Hey. This video really helped me last night. My son is 4 years old and broke his arm this weekend. We spent the night in the hospital and he had to have surgery on it the next morning. It has been a very stressful few days, a frustrated child in pain, asking me why his arm hurts and my doesn't is just allot to take. Anyway I got online last night and in a few clicks ended up at this video. Self pity gone now. Nothing but gratitude. Thanks.

Rebecca Reineccius Vicchrilli
Rebecca Reineccius Vicchrilli

Thank You for doing this... and sharing it with us!
I miss working with people who are living on the streets (now that I am raising my little men.) There is such an awesome awakening that comes from the realization that the difference between where they are at and where you are at is ONLY ONE OR TWO CHOICES. Spirit is Spirit... and in that aspect, we are all the same!!! Once you have this realization, you see people... no matter what their circumstances... in a different (and beautiful) way! Love and Light!!!

Katie
Katie

Usually I like your blog, Dan, but I have to agree with the naysayers. I feel like you are exploiting these people. Sure, make yourself feel better by helping these people acquire their basic needs. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, make a shoe box full of necessities.. I don't mind if you get some satisfaction from truly helping these people, but this project has an awful feeling of, "dance, monkey, dance." Don't USE these people to make yourself feel good, HELP them.

Ankur
Ankur

I haven't read your blog for a few months and recently I have been very sad about a few things...one of them being the fact that everyone in my life is pregnant and I am not....and won't be. This video made me realize that I need to stay in the day and be joyful, regardless of what I have or don't have. Thank you so much for everything that you do, and I will be reading your blog every day now :)

Sherry
Sherry

Much thanks. I was feeling quite blue and your video reminded me of the good there is and how much I have to be thankful for.. Now to wipe away the tears and pay it forward.

Shelby Williams
Shelby Williams

Hey...so I was feeling down today - not really for any particular reason. Not sure why it happened. However, another blogger reminded me that it is Friday and we should be dancing :) And it made me remember this post. Thank you so much for another smile!

Jenn
Jenn

In an effort to make my kiddos a little bit more grateful for the privileges they have, every year for their birthdays they give toys away equaling the age they're turning. So ZigZag will be 5 soon and he'll give 5 toys away. E-man will be 7 and will give 7 toys away. Etc. This year we're adding in a "day of service" because I realized at Christmas that just giving their toys away meant nothing to them but they had room for new toys. Not quite the image I wanted them to have. So, I plan on making it a little more real to them by letting them spend their time helping at a children's home or feeding the homeless - something of that nature.
My recent post Updates

Jenn
Jenn

We were out Christmas morning in Seattle, with bags of food and blankets. We met some very nice people who were already thankful, also. It's amazing how having less can sometimes be having more. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." --Jim Eliot, martyr in Ecuador, 1956

Samantha
Samantha

Did you take them coffee, hot food, or blankets and coats too?

Cherri
Cherri

Dan, thank you for this. I'm keeping a thankful attitude!

kim marimon
kim marimon

INCREDIBLE, absolutely incredible! Again, you inspire me!

Jessica
Jessica

Smiles- how can you not smile with them... Christmas Day and homeless yet still smiling and DANCING, you are a very talented writer and entertainer!

Kirstie
Kirstie

What an amazing post, thank you so much for sharing! :]

Caryn
Caryn

Just watched this...wow...VERY cool

cindi
cindi

I too, had the first time, without my kiddo, holiday blues. And while I didn't dance witht eh homeless. I did have a lovely evening evening with two other girlfriends, also single moms sans their kiddos that night and we eat, drank and danced....a lot. Of dancing, that is :) Indeed, gets you out of your poor me, and into "man, I have much to be thankful for" mindset! Thanks!

Lorraine
Lorraine

I saw this and could not stop crying like a big old baby, mind u it was a happy cry..What joy u brought to these people and what it did for u is awesume..I do hope it become's contaigious..Your a fantastic person Dan and ur friends also..THanx!!!!! For being who u r...

Samantha
Samantha

This just might be by far my favorite post to date! I loved the video, what a great way to spend part of your Christmas day!

saffronrose
saffronrose

Emma Goldman said: A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having.

Some words from he Saftey Dance by Men wihtout Hats:
We can dance, we can dance
Everything's out of control
We can dance, we can dance
We're doing it from pole to pole

We can dance, we can dance
Everybody look at your hands
We can dance, we can dance
Everybody's taking the chance

its a Safety dance
Oh well its safe to dance
Yes it safe to dance

We can dance if we want to
We've got all your life and mine
As long as we abuse it, never going to lose it
Everything will work out right

I say, We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
'Cause your friends don't dance, and if they don't dance
Well they're no friends of mine,,,,

and this is a pagan version (a bit of it, anyway) of The Lord of the Dance by Sydney Carter. Words from a variety of sources!
She danced on the water, and the wind was Her horn
The Lady laughed, and everything was born
And when She lit the sun and its' light gave Him birth
The Lord of the Dance first appeared on the Earth

(Chorus): Dance, dance, where ever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, you see!
I live in you, and you live in Me
And I lead you all in the Dance, said He!

I danced in the morning when the World was begun
I danced in the Moon and the Stars and the Sun
I was called from the Darkness by the Song of the Earth
I joined in the Song, and She gave Me the Birth!

ydietzel
ydietzel

This video contains content from Sony Music Entertainment, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.... :(
I usually have no problem watching your videos... Nice article though :)

Mouse
Mouse

Having been homeless for a good portion of my life, I have to say your protectiveness is somewhat misplaced. Most people I knew during those times would have loved to have someone stop, talk to them, dance with them. There is such stigma many people refuse to even acknowledge your existence. Of those who do, the most common responses are hatred & pity. It is *extremely* rare to find someone from the general population that will interact with you on a human level. That is much more helpful (& even empowering) than someone giving you things.

redtalk
redtalk

Love it, love it, love it! Thanks for reminding me of some great songs.