4,500 “Annies”, yes, that red-haired singing orphan, will take to Ebrington Barracks to smash a Guinness World Record
Did you know the Guinness World Records began after an argument between Guinness brewery employees? They disagreed on the identity of the fastest game bird in Europe.
Fifty-five years later, the ideas for world records are getting bigger and crazier. And this year, on 2 March 2013, Derry-Londonderry city will attempt to hold the largest coordinated song and dance routine ever.
Sandra Biddell from the Foyle School of Speech and Drama came up with the idea for this particular record: “We currently need more than four thousand ‘Annies’ to take part in this world record attempt – 4,501 to be precise” – singing and dancing to ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’ from the musical Annie. Biddell and her students have devised the routine to be performed on the day.
All funds raised on the day will go to Foyle Hospice. Michelle McGinn, the hospice’s Community Fundraiser, is quite involved in the project: “There are no rehearsals planned, as such. A tutorial video [above] has been put up on YouTube, and all of the different groups, including families, schools and community groups, will learn the very simple dance routine shown online.”
But, hang on: can those of us in possession of two-left-feet manage this? The city’s mayor, Councillor Kevin Campbell, assures us it’s no big deal. “You don’t need to be a professional dancer or singer, all you need is an enthusiasm, the ability to have fun and together we can dance our way into the Guinness book of Records right here in the city.”
Each participant will receive a T-shirt to wear on the day. Red wigs are optional, but will add a touch of authenticity. Should the dance last longer than three minutes and 14 seconds, the performance flies straight into the record books.
It’s a record breaker
But what, or who, are the dancers up against?
Well, the current record was achieved at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India on 1 May 2011 – they had 4,500 participants. Michelle is “very hopeful that we will smash this record, as we have fantastic support and our community is great at coming out to participate in our events”.
That isn’t just talk. When Derry-Londonderry says everyone gets involved, they’re not kidding. To kick off the city’s dancing shoes earlier in 2013, over 900 senior citizens relived their dancing days at The Mayor’s Tea Dance at The Venue. These locals claim to have started the city’s dancing culture decades ago, and they have the moves to prove it.
The dancing doesn’t stop there, though: The Royal Ballet, Hofesh Shechter Political Mother Shortcuts and The Echo Echo Dance Festival are just some of the performances you should catch during the walled city’s year of culture.
For now though, it’s time to get practicing: “It’s a hard knock life, for us…”