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Meet 'Outta Puff Daddys,' a group of middle-aged dads dancing to raise mental healh awareness

'One of the things about dancing is that when you’re doing the same thing at the same time, there’s a connection where you kind of sync up as humans,' one dad said.

Meet 'Outta Puff Daddys,' a group of middle-aged dads dancing to raise mental healh awareness
Cover Image Source: Instagram/ @outta_puff_daddys

The dancing dads are middle-aged men who want to break the stigma around mental health through their dance. And they have been quite successful in doing that, thanks to their huge following on social media. The dads started dancing for a different reason altogether in 2012. Seven dads who are friends decided to do a surprise performance at their children's dance recital. “We got together and rehearsed in secret. Our partners knew but the children didn’t. My kids knew I was going dancing but didn’t know why,” Paul Jukes, 48, told Wales Online.


 
 
 
 
 
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One dad told TODAY that it was to make their kids proud. "That was the ultimate goal." The kids loved the performance and that's how the Outta Puff Daddys dance group was formed. The group has grown to 50 men in these years, and they all have regular day jobs, from tech workers to chefs to teachers and firemen.


 
 
 
 
 
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When the pandemic hit, it was one of the dad's daughters who suggested they start posting their dance routines on TikTok, and that worked for them. "It just blew up," the dad said. Now, the group has about 200,000 followers on TikTok alone and about 389,000 on Instagram. In one of the viral videos, the dads' crew can be seen dancing to the popular BTS song, "Dynamite." It starts with one dad grooving to the music and then later others joining in. Their moves are in sync and match the beats of the song. It is just amusing to watch them enjoy the dance and show off their talent. Most of the videos on the channel are practice sessions along with some dance performances. 

The fathers said that their routines have helped to improve their physical and mental health. "One of the things about dancing is that when you’re doing the same thing at the same time, there’s a connection where you kind of sync up as humans," one dad said. "It gives you something really special." Moreover, a dad shared that they have created a culture in the group where they verbalize their struggles and he said that "it's very very beautiful."


 
 
 
 
 
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Mainly, the group wants to raise mental health awareness and that's what they do at various events. "Ultimately, our message is about trying to break the stigma surrounding mental health — in particular, men talking," one dad said. "(And) helping others and encouraging others to put a support network around them so that when a crisis point happens, they have the support group there to help them."

One of the dads said that their kids were probably embarrassed by his dance moves in the beginning but now it has been 10 years and they've passed any sort of embarrassment. 


 
 
 
 
 
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The dads who are between 42 to 60 years, are not stopping anytime soon. Their fan following has been growing and they even got appreciated for their moves from none other than Hugh Jackman. “We all have crew names and one of our members is called Wolverine, and recently received a comment from Hugh Jackman giving him a massive thumbs up,” Jukes said. “He’s a huge Marvel fan so for him to have Hugh Jackman personally contact him was just phenomenal,” as reported by Goalcast.

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