In an effort to boost the spirits of both community members and staff at the Creston Valley Hospital, the hospital’s chief of staff organized a “Jerusalema Challenge” video that features more than 90 hospital staff members doing their own version of the global dance trend.
“Morale has been pretty low everywhere. We can’t do Christmas parties. We’re not even allowed to share food at the hospital, so I wanted to do something for everybody,” said Dr. Nerine Kleinhans, the hospital’s chief of staff. “This is something good to show. I really wanted people to be part of something.”
The Jerusalema dance challenge has been the source of hope and cheer for healthcare workers and dancers around the globe this past year. Each video features participants following the same, simple dance routine to the 2019 song Jerusalema by South African DJ Master KG and vocalist Nomcebo.
“The dance was created in a pandemic to bring people together. It was something to share, and the song is so contagious,” said Kleinhans, who is originally from South Africa. “When you hear it, it’s very hard not to dance.”
Kleinhans said that she got the idea after seeing friends in South Africa doing the dance on social media. Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa, encouraged residents of the country to participate in the challenge in September.
“We really felt like it brought people together. All colour, all genders shared this dance,” said Kleinhans.
Creston Valley Hospital’s version of the trend was filmed in the first week of December, and features staff from all departments engaging in the dance routine. The video was released earlier this week and can be watched here.
“I really wanted to do this because nobody smiles or laughs anymore. With a mask, you don’t even have to smile. It just changed so much compared to the hospital that we’re used to,” she said.
Staff followed COVID-19 health measures, and each department filmed their segments in their own respective bubbles.
“We have a shot of physicians holding up signs saying ‘we’re here for you, please stay safe for us.’ I think that’s the message we’re trying to send,” said Kleinhans. “From the beginning, my hope was to be transparent with the community and to keep them updated as much as possible.”
She added that she hopes that the challenge brought a sense of kinship and belonging to staff members, to remind them that “they are part of a great team.”
“I’m so proud of everybody that I’ve worked with, and also for the community. But I think it’s just the feeling of hope and reassurance that we’ve got their backs,” she said.
The video was edited by Laurie Case of Case Communications in Vernon. It was filmed by Andy Chappell, Ivan Gonzalez and Jeff Banman.
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