This Dancing Farmer Will Lift Your Spirits
If this month has had you feeling like you need to restore faith in the world, look no further than Jay Lavery, the dancing farmer whose smooth moves to Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” are a cheerful reminder that there is still some good out there.
A permaculture farmer in upstate New York, Lavery posted the video of himself dancing in his barn at the end of 2016 as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move challenge; in the intervening weeks, the four-minute clip has gone viral with seven million views and almost 70,000 shares. Part of that success has been Lavery’s story, which is just as earnest and heartfelt as his choreography: 15 years ago Lavery sustained a major back injury and has used yoga and meditation as a road to recovery (in lieu of pain meds). As Joseph Erbentraut at The Huffington Post writes:
[Lavery] hoped the video would “inspire anyone to move in spite of pain and I hope this puts a smile on your face for the New Year.”
It's that time of the year for the Lets Move Challenge. Dancing is how I stay warm in the barn and I never know when I'm going to break out into a dance. But what most people don't know is that 15 years ago I had a traumatic back injury that caused me to have several back surgeries including a discectomy and a spinal fusion and never ending back pain. Dancing along with yoga and meditation are my only alternatives to pain medication. So I hope this can inspire anyone to move in spite of pain and I hope this puts a smile on your face for the New Year.
Posted by Jay Lavery on Friday, December 30, 2016
The video is clearly accomplishing just that, bringing together a unique plurality of fans — “people who love goats, people who have back issues, people who are getting older and… people who just love hay,” Lavery said, noting that he’s received many comments asking where he got the hay he uses in his barn.
“It’s just regular hay from my own hay field!” he quipped.
The video is also noteworthy in how it offers a glimpse into a life unfamiliar to the vast majority of Americans who do not farm. It wasn’t that long ago that the farming life was unknown to Lavery, too.
Though the 50-year-old grew up in upstate New York, he didn’t have much experience with agriculture until very recently. He previously lived in New York City for 26 years and worked as a flight attendant, a translator and a standup comedian before getting a degree in clinical psychology.
Read the rest of the story on The Huffington Post.