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Kevin Bacon dances back to high school ‘Footloose’

PAYSON, Utah (AP) — Actor Kevin Bacon returned Saturday to the high school in Utah where the cult classic “Footloose” was filmed for more than 40 years.

Bacon danced toward a stage on a Payson High School athletic field Saturday to greet students for what would likely be the last prom held at the school, which will be demolished next spring.

“You talked me into it,” Bacon said, according to the video posted by ABC 4 of Salt Lake City. “It’s great to see that kind of dedication to anything. I also think it’s great to see the power this film has had. bringing people together.”

Bacon starred in ‘Footloose’ as a Chicago teenager who moves to a small town and fights against the ban on dancing. Payson High School students wrapped up Saturday with a “Footloose”-themed prom just as the movie ended.

About 21,000 people live in Payson, about 60 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Principal Jesse Sorenson said students have tried for years to persuade Bacon to visit.

What started as light-hearted appeals on social media grew into a community-wide campaign to partner with Bacon’s charity, Sorenson said. Students agreed to help put together 5,000 care packages for the charity SixDegrees, to convince Bacon to come.

Students spent weeks writing messages of hope for the eventual owners of each of the care packages and worked with the Utah Film Commission and SixDegrees to raise money and donations for toiletries, clothing and other items to put in the backpacks, Sorenson said.

On Saturday, Bacon helped fill the bags, along with an estimated 700 students and 300 community members, Sorenson estimates.

Sorenson, who graduated from Payson High School in 1995, said DJs always play the song “Footloose” at prom, and students mimic the iconic dance from the movie. Older residents tell stories about being an extra in the movie and enjoy pointing out places in Payson that are featured in the movie, he said.

“It’s something they can be proud of, and it’s fun for them,” the director said.