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  Most inmates dancing-Philippines prisoners

[July 28]CEBU, Philippines--1588 inmates from Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) in Cebu, Philippines set a a world record for most inmates dancing simultaneously in same place. They also set the new world record for the most number of individuals dancing to “Thriller” at the same time and in the same location.

Prisoners at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center perform a synchronized dance as part of their exercise routine in Cebu, central Philippines in this June 18, 2007 handout photo. Clips of the prisoners grooving in harmony to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" have created a stir on the internet with over a million views since it was posted on Youtube. (Donald Moga/Cebu Provincial Information Office/Reuters)-click here to enlarge photo

   Hundreds of inmates at the prison in Cebu, Philippines, have taken to performing large-scale dance numbers to such classics as Michael Jackson's "Thriller," Queen's "Radio Gaga", "Jumbo Hotdog" by "The Maskulados" and several songs from the "Sister Act" films to help pass the time while serving sentences or awaiting trial.

   The most popular of the nine videos is the prison's reenactment of Michael Jackson's classic video "Thriller", which has already been visited by a whopping 1.3 million users since it was uploaded in April.

    "There's a time to dance and a time to sing," said chief administrator Patrick Rubio of the Directorate of Operations within the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in the Philippines. "If they say laughter is the best medicine, how much more for dancing?" Rubio said.

    A clip of hundreds of prisoners in orange uniforms dancing to Michael Jackson's song Thriller has been watched more than 1.3 million times. The routine is the brainchild of Byron Garcia, a security consultant for the Cebu provincial government.

     He said it had helped "drastically" improve inmate behaviour. And two former inmates have since become dancers.

   "Using music, you can involve the body and the mind. The inmates have to count, memorise steps and follow the music," Mr Garcia told the BBC news website. "Inmates say to me: 'You have put my mind off revenge, foolishness, or thinking how to escape from jail, or joining a gang'," he said.

   "While the goal is to keep the body fit in order to keep the mind fit, such may not happen if it is done in a manner deemed unpleasurable," Garcia told Filipino's Sun Star publication. "Music, being the language of the soul, is added to that regimen."

   Mr Garcia has been taken back by the worldwide popularity of the clips, which he originally posted in order to share his work with other members of the penal community. "I wanted to show them that I am doing something here that has been a success, to show discipline in action," he said.

    The productions are huge -- more than 1500 inmates are involved in the routines -- and though a small group of dancers makes up the core of the routine, every prisoner has a part and each one seems completely absorbed in the performance.

    Rubio, who was a warden at various facilities for more than six years before his transfer to the Directorate of Operations, believes the prisoners' participation is completely voluntary. "It would be different if they are being forced to dance," Rubio told "I've never known any prisoners being forced to dance. It's normal to dance."

   But the videos have now become a source of great pride for the prisoners. "The inmates are very happy at the interest, they are always talking about it, and they ask how many people have watched it on YouTube," Mr Garcia. And fans of his work can look forward to another three routines in the pipeline, including one set to the Vanilla Ice classic, Ice Ice Baby.

   Rosales said it was difficult to teach the dance at first, “especially the stubborn inmates.” But eventually, almost every inmate liked the idea, he said.

    Inmate Francis Cardenas, 21, said the dance routine has been a good diversion and allows him to exercise and sweat. Cardenas, who is awaiting trial for drug charges, is one of the lead dancers for “Thriller.” He said he was touched with the “overwhelming appreciation of the viewers.” “I feel so happy. Everyone of us is proud,” he said.

     What peope say about this?
    "Does it seem fair that these prisoners in the Phillipines are having a much better time than most American office workers? "- Mo Rocca , a famous blogger who has appeared on 'The Daily Show', 'I Love the 80s,' 'Larry King Live,' 'Iron Chef America,' 'Amor Descarado' (Telemundo), 'Video Babes: Secrets Revealed (CMT),' and 'The Today Show.'

   "Most inmates spend their days churning out license plates, but not the lucky prisoners at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines. They’re far too busy perfecting elaborate dance routines." -says Lauren Katulka for WebTVHUb

   "I have a strange feeling that given the chance, the Philippines can rule the world by holding the most song-and-dance pageants." -says 'artistmonk' on her Live Journal.

   TV report "Behind the Philippine 'Thriller' "


Video: Jumbo Hotdog by "The Maskulados":

Philippine inmates dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”
      Video: Radio Gaga with Prisoners

    Video: I will follow him - Sister Act with Prisoners


    Video:Sister Act - Hail holy queen with prisoners
    Video:Algorithm March with Prisoners