KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — After four failed attempts to walk into the Guinness World Records, Vincentian Earl “Ole George” Daniel is once again pursing his dream and this time, he is planning to dance his way in.
Daniel, a social worker, is planning to dance for six days – from March 27 to April 2 – in Canada, where he is now based.
He told I-Witness News last night that the purpose of the dance is two-fold: he is hoping to bring awareness about the high suicide rate in the north of Canada and at the same time pursue his dream to enter his name in the Guinness Book of Records.
“So, while I am dancing, there will be a special committee that is already in place that will be organising activities for the entire week related to suicide prevention,” Daniel said.
“So, for that whole week, the emphasis will be on how to enjoy living and keys to stay alive. We are going to put the discussion on the table again, to sensitize people to bring some hope to those persons who are taking their lives on a regular basis.”
The dance will take place in Nunavik in a village called Inukjuak where suicide is a problem because people feel that they have no hope, are depressed and have suppressed their feelings from very young, Daniel said.
He said there are many social problems such as rape, incest and alcoholism. “And the people here do not talk much. They are a very closed culture. So they keep things inside for years – from childhood until they get to adulthood and their coping level is very low. So they think that the best way to exit from all the problems is to take their lives,” Daniel told I-Witness News.
This had been a pattern in the community, where people see it as the norm, according to Daniel. “So I am just trying this strategy to see if I can inject some motivation into the people. Such an event will be wonderful, make them feel proud of themselves, because the north will be showcased on the world stage.”
The other purpose of the event would be to break the world record for the longest individual dance. The longest dance marathon by an individual was 123 hours and 15 minutes – just over five days – and was achieved by Kalamandalam Hemaletha of India at the Kerala Sangeetha Nadaka Academy in Thrissur, Kerala, India from 20 to 26 Sept. 2010, according to Guinness World Records.
“I intend to dance for six days to break that. I have already contacted Guinness World Records; I have spoken to them a couple of times. So they are informed.”
Daniel said that Guinness World Records has already sent him the rules and regulations of the event and he is putting committees in place to officiate and administrate.
He plans to dance to a variety of music including Inuit as well as conventional genre. “I am going to mix it up because there is enough to go around for six days. So, everybody will get their share,” said Daniel, who is also a comedian.
He, however, said that the music would not include anything “too drastic”.
“I have to carefully select the rhythm because the different pace, the different rhythm will allow me to rest and prevent me from falling asleep while dancing.”
He said that spectators who might want to dance cannot do so close to where he is. “Because the whole idea is not for me to be helped or assisted so it must be concretely individual but it must be at a public place where people can enter freely and see what’s happening. That is one of the criteria.”
Daniel is doing a lot of cardiovascular and other exercises in his “non-conventional” gym, which includes bottles of water as dumbbells.
His diet includes drinking a lot of water and during the dance he will consume mostly liquid with some fruits and carbohydrates.
According to the Guinness World Records’ rules, Daniel can rest for 30 seconds between each song, none of which can be shorter than 2.5 minutes. He also has the option of dancing for one hour consecutively, thereby accumulating about five-minutes for rest.
“I am going to go with Option B – dancing for two or three hours straight so I can accumulate 10 or 15 minutes to use the bathroom in that time. Because it would be another record in itself to use the bathroom in 30 seconds,” Daniel said.
However, regardless of how much rest time, Daniel accumulates, sleeping during the six days would void his attempt to be entered into the record.
Daniel and his walking mate Joel Butcher captured the attention of the Vincentian population and the world when they walked non-stop for six days and 23 minutes in St. Vincent in March 2005.
“I really felt cheated but I did break the record in 2005 and the excuse the Guinness Records gave me was that the person who broke the record walked around a park. I walked on the road. … I walked more miles than the person and I walked more hours than the individual.”
So in 2006, Daniel walked around Emancipation Park in Jamaica for seven days. Butcher was also part of that attempt but injured his ankle the first night and had to discontinue.
After Daniel completed the walk, Guinness World Records, said that that record was no longer in circulation and Daniel would have to create a new record.
“And of course, they found reasons to suggest that the documentation was not acceptable…” Daniel said of that failed attempt to make the Records.
In 2007, both men walked around St. Vincent for seven days and one hour and in 2008, they walked around Prospect Park in New York for eight days.
“I should get a record for the number of attempts that I made,” Daniel said, adding that his basic problem during the past attempts was that he did not have adequate representation to Guinness World Records.
He noted the challenges of not having the necessary support systems before, during, and after the walk.
“There needs to be another committee of people who are doing that and who knows how these things work. So, basically, we were on our own and that was just that,” he said.
Older but stronger
Daniel has taken care of those shortcomings and the 48-year-old is ready to boogie.
“I will be 49 this July and the older I get the stronger I feel. If you notice all my walks, I am always one year older and working longer.”
While Daniel will be attempting the dance record solo, he is hoping that Butcher can join him next year in an attempt to walk around Canada.
“That might be the last walk I do. I have to accomplish that. … This dance is part of my training as well as to get in the Book so I can confirm to Guinness that I am still around. I can’t walk in but I am dancing in then I start walking again.
“The whole idea is to try different strategies. I don’t believe in quitting at all … because my goal is to get into the Guinness Book of Records and I am not going to let go that goal regardless to what,” said Daniel who noted the promotion that this country gained from their efforts.
“In promotional dollars, it is a lot of money,” he said noting the number of interviews and coverage of his efforts.