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Dance-off priest wants to perform for Pope

Fri 24 Oct 2014
By Joy Tibbs

A video of two American priests dancing has received hundreds of thousands of hits.

One of the two dancing priests who became an overnight internet sensation says he wants to perform for Pope.

Fr David Rider, 29, and the Fr John Gibson, 28, were filmed during a fundraiser in April at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where both men were training to become priests.

Fr Rider is seen dazzling the audience with his tap dancing before Fr Gibson wows the crowd with his Irish jig, with the dance culminating in the pair going head to head in a dance-off.

Fr Rider is now hoping to tap his way into the Vatican with a performance for Pope Francis.

Speaking to Premier, he said: "There has been discussion among people who really don't have any power to make that happen; a lot of people who are saying it would be really wonderful. On a personal level there is nothing I would love more than for the chance to dance for the Holy Father and to go speak to him about this, and if God wants it'll happen."

Fr Rider says he learned to tap dance as a child growing up in New York: "In New York City the greatest tap dancers of the world lived and worked, and I studied with all of them. A lot of old, great tap dancers, before they died they taught me and I spent 20 years doing that. I opened a dancing school at 15, I ran that for 10 years. I toured with a Broadway show called 42nd Street and then I felt the call of God to become a priest and left it all, or so I thought."

Irish dancer Fr Gibson from Milwaukee explained how the video found its way onto the web.

Speaking to Premier, he said: "It just so happened that someone was in the crowd that day who took video of the performance on their cellphone and posted it on YouTube and it just took off from there."

The majority of people who have viewed the the video on YouTube have left positive comments, although some have claimed it was 'disrespectful' to dance under a crucifix and a portrait of Pope Francis.

Have a watch for yourself:

Father David Rider:

Father John Gibson:

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