Mass dance means more than world record

Young Cambodians dance the Madison in Phnom Penh Young Cambodians dance the Madison in Phnom Penh

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It's official. A line dance performed by young Cambodians for a BBC television series has earned its place in the Guinness Book of Records.

BBC Media Action - the BBC's international development charity - received official confirmation this week that the mass synchronised 'Madison' dance it staged in Phnom Penh in April broke the world record.

Nine hundred and twenty nine fans of Loy9 - Media Action's tv, radio and online programmes for a young Cambodian audience - took part in the dance for five minutes. This was judged to be twice as many dancers as for the previous record.

Young dancers take part in line dance Young dancers take part in Loy9 series finale

But it was about more than frivolous fun and a spot in the record books: it was indicative of Loy9's success in engaging the hard to reach Cambodian youth.

'This is about much more than beating a dance record,' said project director Colin Spurway. 'Young people in Cambodia have very little presence in public life and Loy9 encourages them to talk about their rights, engage with local government, challenge negative stereotypes and raise their voice outside school and the home. The shows and the live events that make up Loy9 are often young Cambodians' first experience of getting meaningfully involved in civic life.'

Loy9 hosts weekly tv and radio phone-in shows, online discussions, blogs and live events around issues like conflict resolution, using art for self expression and the role of young women and girls in decision making.

The Madison was featured at the end of the first television series of Loy9. A second series is currently being made and will be broadcast nationwide in early 2013.

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