Sia is known for her envelope-pushing music videos with powerful messages. And her latest project is no different.
In a moving video for “The Greatest,” released on Monday, the 40-year-old singer once again teamed up with Dance Moms (and PEOPLE Ones to Watch) alum Maddie Ziegler, who has starred in the Aussie pop star’s clips for “Chandelier,” “Elastic Heart,” “Big Girls Cry” and most recently “Cheap Thrills.” But this time, Ziegler wasn’t alone.
The chilling video for the Kendrick Lamar-assisted track finds Ziegler roaming the halls of a run-down building, tears streaming down her rainbow-painted cheeks before leading a group of 48 other children in a dance routine.
“I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive / I’m free to be the greatest here tonight / The greatest, the greatest / The greatest alive, the greatest, the greatest alive,” Sia sings.
Then, in one of the final scenes of the clip, Ziegler and the young troupe are dancing joyfully in a club-like room with rainbow disco lights before all the young performers fall to the ground at once, exposing what appear to be bullet holes in the wall behind them.
The imagery seems to honor the victims of the Orlando shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse, which claimed the lives of 49 people in June.
Although Sia has not revealed the meaning of the video, one boy who claimed to be a dancer In the video uploaded an Instagram video, writing that he is “humbled to be a part” of the project.
“Thank you [Sia] 49 beautiful lives lost,” he wrote. “This is for you #WeAreYourChildren.”
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Ziegler’s mother, Melissa Gisoni, uploaded a shot from the video to Instagram, writing, “49 kids and @maddieziegler #weareyourchildren.”
To pen the track, Sia collaborated with longtime pal, producer-songwriter Greg Kurstin, and called two other frequent collaborators – choreographer Ryan Heffington and director Daniel Askill – to make its haunting accompanying video.