Penguin dance: David Attenborough adopts a nice survival tip in Finland

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Sir David Attenborough discovers the plants that breathe life into our world. Video / BBC Earth

From life in the freezer to murder on the dance floor – naturalist Sir David Attenborough has learned some surprising skills in his 95 years on our planet. Yet few people knew that the BBC’s nature man had moves like this.

The veteran broadcaster was pictured performing the “penguin dance” with the crew of upcoming doco The Green Planet. On location in northern Finland, where temperatures regularly drop to -45C, they were instructed to stay warm while waiting for the cameras to roll.

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Hands wide apart, shoulders lifted and knees bouncing – it’s a weird move, but an effective way to raise core body temperature.

In the freezing Borealis Forest, the team didn’t mind looking ridiculous.

What is the penguin dance?

The broadcaster is well known for his work in the 1990s visiting penguin colonies in Antarctica. However, dance comes from opposite poles.

Producer Mike Gunton told the Mirror the idea came from the team’s soundman, who had spent time in Lapland with the Sami deer herders.

“One of our sound guys had spent some time in that part of the world, working with the local natives, who have a special way of warming up.”

Green Planet: Filming in temperatures of -18 degrees was a challenge for the team and the equipment.  Picture/BBC
Green Planet: Filming in temperatures of -18 degrees was a challenge for the team and the equipment. Picture/BBC

“They do a thing called a penguin dance,” although that’s not the real name, Gunton says. “This is not the right place for penguins!”

“What it does is it pumps blood in a particular way around your body and helps send it to your extremities to keep your fingers and toes warm. It really works .”

Filmed in February 2020 in the depths of the Nordic winter before the pandemic, David Attenborough braved the cold in the series exploring the extreme places on Earth.

Attenborough, 95, has more than 100 credits for nature documentaries.  Photo/BBC, Supplied
Attenborough, 95, has more than 100 credits for nature documentaries. Photo/BBC, Supplied

Freezing conditions were taking their toll with filming, series producer Rosie Thomas said. Turning at -18°C, the batteries of the cameras were discharging in the cold and their drone almost fell from the sky.

The plant documentary required a lot of patience and waiting to film in harsh environments. However, Attenborough said it was the biggest trip he can remember for a show since the pandemic:

“The series itself grows slowly, like plants. We started [filming] a long time ago, before Covid. And so I was rushing to interesting places, California and so on, in a way that hasn’t been possible in the last two years,” he said.

The use of time-lapse photography has been instrumental in showing the secret life of plants, he says.

“That’s what brings the thing to life, and should make people say, ‘God, these amazing organisms are just like us,'” he said of the plants that fight and live and die in the world. slow motion.

“They do them so slowly, we’ve never seen it before. And it has a hypnotic appeal, in my opinion.”

It’s almost as fascinating as the weird Sami dance moves.

The Green Planet airs on TVNZ on February 14

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