Update at 9 a.m. January 28: It’s been two days since we posted this video, and it has now been watched 3,171,339 times — extraordinary. Count Bruno Mars among those viewers. His reaction, via Facebook: “I cried at the end. Im still a thug though. Thank you to everyone involved in making this video.”
Original post at 2:33 p.m. on January 26: Scot Pankey is the theater teacher at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School — and the co-star and director of the video you’ll find below, in which Pankey and his students dance ’round the Stag Road school to Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” If you haven’t seen it yet, you will: Posted to YouTube Saturday, it’s already hit 23,448 views, and it’s making the virtual rounds. Pankey says he posted it to Facebook yesterday, and it’s been seen more than 40,000 times there.
“I heard the song before Christmas and fell in love with it,” he says. “We are a project-based school — there are only two in the Metroplex — and that means you give the students a project, put them in teams, and they have to come up with solutions. They had three weeks to work on it, then present as a group what they learned.”
He decided to make this their first project of the new year. And he told his students — from six different theater classes — that he’d do it with them … if they’d let him.
“I told them, ‘I am not a dancer, but I’d love to do this and go on this journey with you, and we can all learn from it and have a good time,’” he says. “And they were all on board.”
The video was shot by Bryan Urraca (student council veep) and Johan Cruz (senior class president) and was edited by Jonathan Vega, and done in a single take. Which makes it that much more impressive. After all, just watching it exhausted at least one newsroom colleague who’s not even 40.
“We had a great time,” says Pankey. “I am overwhelmed by the response. I am honored. It’s all been very positive.”
Easily better than the last three seasons of Glee. So I’ve been told.