The World Class Dancing Inmates of Cebu


What propelled Cebu as another hub for world class talent was when the inmates of our high security penitentiary went viral. The dancing inmates of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center zombie danced to the tune of Micheal Jackson’s Thriller. It got so popular on the video sharing site, Youtube, that as of February 2011, it has a total of 46 million views. That doesn’t even include the hits they get from other performances such as the ‘Y.M.C.A.’ and ‘In the Navy’ among several others. It featured 1,500 of male inmates dancing in unison based on the short of film of MJ. They got plastered in the pages and got featured in the news and publications around the world. They even made it as one of the Time Magazine’s 10 Most Popular Viral Videos.

The intricate choreographic performances of our brothers in the cell are part of rehabilitation program that will instill discipline as well as promote cultural and physical significance. It is one way of keeping them mentally sane than being depressed from the real dramas of life. These people are facing murder, rape, and drug dealing charges and this activity keeps them happy in some way. It is also makes them productive because they begin to receive generous funding and blessing from various people.

For Filipinos who take singing and dancing as part of our identity, it is just timely and proper that we give them the credit they deserve. Although, the beginnings of the idea never fascinated the inmates from the start says Patrick Rubio of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. It began as one of the hardest experiments to implement but after six long months of hard work it was definitely successful. First off, it was just an hour of morning exercise in the morning and Byron Garcia, CPDRC’s security advisor, saw it could become the start of something great so when he uploaded the first exercise vid, The Algorithm March, it was mostly ignored unlike its second video, The Thriller. With the help of the official choreographers, Vince Rosales and Gwen Laydor, their routines became international sensations one song at a time.

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