USF sends message against cyberbullying through dance

- Basketball and dance; both involve athletics and muscle stretching. There's frustration when dancers miss a move and a sense of victory when they succeed.

It's a dichotomy that's part of a new video about cyber bullying from the University Of South Florida.

"Dance isn't necessarily a thing to be seen as entertainment. It can also be used for social issues and to talk about things that are really present today," said USF dance student Brent Townend.

Cyber bullying is the social message. Townend is the dancer featured in the video.

In the video, a basketball player doesn't see similarities between himself and the dancer. Only the differences.

The ball player chooses to make fun of him, even though he doesn't know him, using a computer and social media as his weapons.

"You never want to judge somebody immediately. When you think of a dancer, especially a male dancer, there seems to be this stigma out there," said Townend.

Andrew Carroll, a USF associate professor of dance, is behind this video. This is his second video on bullying.

"I thought, 'What a great kind of thing that I could work into a video on bullying [and] cyberbullying.' [It would be better for people to] focus more on similarities as people versus differences," said Carroll.

Carroll points out that dance is effective at reaching an audience across U.S. borders.

"I began to see what a great vehicle this was to kind of spread information without using words. That people could just watch it and get kind of informative pieces of beneficial information," said Carroll.

He said he has seen a change of heart because of it.

"I had a young man who approached me at a seminar where I showed it to say, 'I need to tell you, in school I was a bully and every day I regret what I did and if I had seen your video in school I would have stopped,'" said Carroll.

In the cyberbully video, the bully does stop once he sees firsthand what he has in common with the dancer.

"Eventually he realizes his mistake in bullying in that we are really not that different at all and he pushes the delete button on the keyboard and removes the social media," said Townend.

"What I love is that the athlete became the hero actually by stopping cyberbullying when he realizes we have more similarities than differences which I think in today's world is such an important concept and idea," said Carroll.

To see the USF cyberbully video in its entirety visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44hTe75NsOM.

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