A viral video of teens dancing back-to-back at a ‘prom’ was used to criticize coronavirus restrictions, but it was really just a joke from a Czech dance school

  • A viral video showing students dancing back-to-back with one another has turned into an internet flashpoint about coronavirus safety measures.
  • The video shows teens dressed in formal attire slow-dancing with masks on, but turned to face away from each other. 
  • One user who posted the video said it showed a prom dance in the age of COVID-19, but Insider has learned that the video was actually shot at a dance school in the Czech Republic as part of a gag.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A viral video showing a large group of teens dancing in a ballroom back-to-back with masks on has been circulating online over the last week and has become a popular piece of media used in critiques of coronavirus restrictions.

In a tweet accompanying the video, which has been viewed over 3 million times, user @YellowCube7 claimed that it showed "a Prom dance in the age of the global COVID scam."

But Insider has learned that the video was actually filmed at a Czech dance school as a joke.  The 28-second-long video shows dozens of young people dressed in suits and gowns slow-dancing, but each pair is facing away from each other while interlocking their arms together behind them.

After @YellowCube7 posted the video on Twitter, not citing where the video came from and saying "Society has entered self-destruction mode," it was picked up and shared by numerous YouTube channels, celebrities, and publications.

Barstool Sports shared the video on Twitter, writing, "Covid High School dances seem fun" before publishing a blog post on it, and TMZ quipped in a post that "they're turning spacing rules for young couples on their head for COVID."

Numerous Twitter users used the video as a reason to critique COVID-19 safety measures, with one user calling the video "dystopian" and another saying the scene resembled "a brainwashing exercise." 

In reality, though, the video isn't showing a new high school safety measure. It was just a gag a Czech dance school used for kids enrolled in courses that are typically taken ahead of formals.

Eighteen-year-old Lukáš Pelc told Insider that he witnessed the joke at the FIS dance school in Mladá Boleslav, a city in the Czech Republic, on October 3.

He said during the dance, the instructor joked about Dr. Roman Prymula, who has served as a Dr. Fauci-like figure in the Czech Republic, before the group moved on to traditional postures and dances.

Facebook photos uploaded to the dance school's page on October 14 confirm that the backward dancing occurred along with other types of dancing, including front-facing dancing and a conga line.

When reached for comment, a representative for the school said the dance was supposed to be a funny "exaggeration" of COVID-19 safety measures, noting "it was just a dance game."

The Czech Republic has the highest coronavirus infection rate in Europe, according to Voice of America. The country has nearly 171,500 confirmed cases, citing data from a case tracker by Johns Hopkins University.

The country recently imposed restrictions that include the closure of restaurants, bars, and schools. On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlicek said the country's government would wait for two weeks before deciding whether or not to impose a deeper lockdown.

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