PAYSON, Utah — Actor Kevin Bacon on Saturday returned to the Utah high school where the cult classic movie “Footloose” was filmed more than 40 years.

Bacon danced his way to a stage on a Payson High School athletic field Saturday to greet students before what likely was the final prom held at the school, which is set to be torn down next spring.

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

Bacon starred in “Footloose” as a Chicago teen who moved to a small town and fought its ban on dancing. Payson High School students ended Saturday with a “Footloose”-themed prom, just as the movie ended.

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

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

What started as lighthearted appeals on social media turned 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 visit.

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

On Saturday, Bacon helped fill the bags alongside what Sorenson estimated was about 700 students and 300 community members.

Sorenson, who graduated from Payson High School in 1995, said DJs always play the song “Footloose” at proms, and students recreate the film's iconic dance. Older residents tell stories of being an extra in the film and delight in pointing out spots in Payson shown in the movie, he said.

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

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