Everybody Do the Earthquake Dance!

By Debra Viadero — July 30, 2009 1 min read

It’s Thursday! Let’s dance!

No, I mean it about the dancing. That’s because I’ve got a great dance video clip for you today that was produced by the researchers at the Education Development Center in Newton, Mass. It features a song and dance developed to help Indonesian schoolchildren remember what to do when an earthquake hits. Check it out:

There’s an even better back story on this video clip: Following the Indian Ocean earthquake in 2004, many of the people who lived on the Indonesian island of Simeulue sought higher ground and survived the impending tsunami. They knew what to do when they saw the waters start to recede because their ancestors had passed down songs and stories about earthquake preparedness.

There were no such traditions, though, in the Indonesian province of Aceh, where 230,000 people lost their lives in the tsunami.

The dance featured here is only part of a DVD designed to teach earthquake preparedness to schoolchildren in 1st through 3rd grades. It employs a traditional Indonesian form of dance called Saman to get the message across.

The full-length DVD, developed with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, is now being distributed to 143 schools across Aceh, according to EDC.

UPDATE: We need to give credit where credit is due. EDC informs me that the song and dance itself was actually created, with the research group’s support, by a group of young people from Aceh province.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.

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