Retiring B.C. teacher Shirley Clements was surprised but pleased with all the attention a dance video posted online in June got her. But now, it’s led to the 60-year-old being a guest and showing off her dance moves on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Clements, who teaches P.E. and dance at North Surrey Secondary School, created the Outbreak Dance Competition 19 years ago to showcase hip-hop and breakdancing.
Speaking about teaching dance to high school kids, Clements said this job is the “perfect fit.”
“People think today that kids can afford to take dance classes outside of school, but in our economy many kids can’t take dance classes outside of school.”
Her students, past and present, are so close to her, they call her ‘Mama Clements’.
A video of her dancing with her students was uploaded in January and viral after it was uploaded to Ellentube.
It was viewed more than two million times on that site alone. “It’s surreal, it’s totally surreal,” said Clements. “You give something because you want to give a present to somebody and someone had said to me… that maybe you shouldn’t do the dance because people don’t know who you are. And I thought ‘well that’s it then. If I do this, they won’t forget’.”
Even though she is moving on, she hopes what she has built will not easily be forgotten.
“I think it’s really important that the legacy of Outbreak and that what’s it’s been created for these children of Surrey, which oftentimes gets kind of a hit, that it’s really important that people know that they should come out and support their kids,” she said. “That administration should come out and support their teachers. And that we should really build this up as a community.”
Make sure you watch the video to the 2:50 mark!