British Columbia

Ellen DeGeneres gives B.C. dance teacher $10K to start school

The 60-year-old landed a head spin and did the splits on the talk show but she got the surprise of a lifetime at the end of her performance.

60-year-old retiring teacher Shirley Clements is known for her hip hop moves

Shirley Clements appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to dance with a group of her students. The talk show host gave the retiring B.C. teacher a cheque at the end of her performance. (Ellentube)

She's done it again.

Retiring B.C. dance teacher Shirley Clements has blown audiences away with her hip hop moves — this time live on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. 

Clements, who taught at North Surrey Secondary, brought 12 of her most hard-working students to the talk show to get down to Bruno Mars's Uptown Funk.

The 60-year-old danced her heart out and capped off her performance with a signature head spin and then, the splits.

A video of her doing hip hop at a retirement celebration first caught the attention of DeGeneres's producers in June. Clements saw the viral hits on her video rack up, but said she was still stunned when she was asked to perform on the show.

Speaking from her home now on Vancouver Island, she said she found the television experience "surreal".

"I had 60-year-old butterflies that you wouldn't believe."

The biggest surprise though, was a $10,000 cheque from DeGeneres's show. It came with a plaque suggesting Clements should start her own dance school.

Ellen DeGeneres presented a plaque and cheque to Shirley Clements suggesting she should start her own dance studio after the teacher retires. (Ellentube)

It's something she plans on taking the talk show host up on.

After she retires in October, Clements hopes to start a non-profit dance school and performance space for kids in the village of San Francisco, Mexico where she owns a home with her husband.

"This has been my dream to do this. And this little bit of money is going to help bring this to fruition."

She sees the facility eventually becoming a "cultural sharing" space between local youth and students she'll invite from the rest of North America for field trips.

It will also be a place where Clements can share her passion: training kids in hip hop and break dancing.


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