Every child needs a great teacher to bring out a student’s creativity, and that’s exactly what a Dallas Texas high school drama teacher who wanted to motivate his students did after their winter break. That creativity, plus some serious dance moves, has catapulted him and his nearly 200 students to viral video stars.
The teenagers, all students at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School in Dallas, are the stars of a 5-minute music video set to the hit song “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson that now has over 2 million views and counting on YouTube.
“I wanted to give them a project after the holidays that would get them excited and pumped out about learning,” Scot Pankey, the school’s theater arts teacher, told ABC News.
Pankey gave his roughly 200 theater students – about half the student body at the technology-focused high school – the choreography assignment when they returned from Christmas break earlier this month.
“I heard the song before Christmas and fell in love with it,” Pankey told FOX411. “I love Bruno Mars. We are a project-based school. I said for our next project I want the students to get ready, and we would need to dance.”
The classmates spent two weeks in rehearsal and then filmed the video at the school last Friday. Each different group in the video represents a different class of Pankey’s.
“It took about 45 minutes. We had one student filming it and two who were pulling him on a library cart. He had to get off and walk backwards on the stairs and then get back on and off. That was some of the most difficult part of the choreography because that timing had to be just right.”
Pankey describes A. Maceo Smith New Tech as a project-based high school where the students, “work in groups instead of lectures and have to come up with solutions to the problems that we instructors give them.” This project, according to Pankey, who dances right alongside his students in the video, stretched the students’ creatively.
“These students are not dancers. They’re technology students,” Pankey said. “They’re bright and they’re brilliant but I would guess about 90 percent have never danced in their life.” “They had a blast,” he said.
Pankey, who spends his summer breaks pursuing a Master’s degree in theater education at New York University, said the school’s administration supported the music video and are even seen dancing in the video’s finale.
“We are a tech school so to get them up dancing was a feat in itself,” he said. “I have the best students in the world. I was hoping we would post on YouTube on Sunday, so their parents and friends would see it, and we would maybe get 1,000 clicks and instead we have 400,000 in 48 hours.”
Pankey said of the video’s surprise popularity. “We are all overwhelmed.”
Up next for the students in Pankey’s classes is an assignment to make movie trailers based on plays they are reading.
“They are getting a little taste of what it takes to produce, direct, edit and star in a film,” he said.
See another video that has gone viral on You Tube of a high school student asking Selena Gomez to the prom, as reported by The Inquisitr.