In June 2015, a retired teacher named Shirley Clements became an internet sensation after a video of her dancing to “Uptown Funk” alongside her students went viral. At 60 years old, she had been teaching dance to high school students for many years and had created the Outbreak Dance Competition to promote hip-hop and breakdancing.
Clements’ love for dance started at the age of four and had remained with her throughout her life. Her passion for the art form was infectious and her students fondly called her “Mama Clements” due to the nurturing and supportive environment she provided for them.
During a student performance of “Uptown Funk,” Clements couldn’t resist showcasing her own impressive hip-hop and breakdancing skills. She didn’t intend to steal the show, but that’s exactly what she did. Her dedication to promoting dance and providing a supportive environment for her students serves as an inspiration to anyone who may be hesitant to pursue their dreams, regardless of age.
Clements’ story is a reminder that age should not limit our ability to pursue our passions and showcase our skills. Her impact on her students and the dance community is a testament to her character and the importance of promoting inclusivity and support. Shirley Clements’ legacy lives on as an example of the power of pursuing one’s passions and providing a welcoming space for others to do the same.
Clements’ Outbreak Dance Competition is now in its 17th year and continues to provide a platform for young dancers to showcase their skills and passion for dance. She believed that everyone should have the opportunity to pursue their passions and her dedication to promoting dance and supporting her students is a shining example of this belief.
Shirley Clements’ story serves as a reminder that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and that you’re never too old to make a difference. Her infectious passion for dance and her commitment to promoting inclusivity and support will continue to inspire generations to come.