The Harlem Shake

 Posted by on February 15, 2013 at 3:42 pm  current event, off the wall, ridiculous, video
Feb 152013
 

I can’t get over a new dance meme. I can’t help but laugh every time I watch one.

What’s the Harlem Shake? This sucker has exploded on You-Tube within days!

Well, it took a lot of research into both music and dance to figure out where it all came from.

The original Harlem Shake was in 1981. It was inspired by a dance in Ethiopia:

The dance requires a lot of shoulder movement (and dancing as if you were a mummy):

Despite its recent surge in popularity, the Harlem Shake, characterized by lots o’ shoulder movement and shaking the upper torso around, is not a new dance craze. The dance was in fact invented over 30 years ago in 1981 by an alcoholic nicknamed β€œAl B.” The Shake was originally called the Albee after its inventor.

(I wish I could find a copy of the ’81 Albee but so far no luck, but I did find this…)

Later, in 2001 a group named ‘G Dep’ released a video that featured the Albee/Harlem Shake.

In the current era, the Harlem Shake has taken on it’s own meme status after:

1. Baauer (a DJ from New York), created a Trap Remix of the original song.

2. DizastaMusic made a crazy/silly video to the remix:

But the meme took another turn. It stayed with Baauer’s remix, but for only 30 seconds. The new format is this:

  • One person dancing in one spot, often in a helmet
  • Said dancer is in a room of other people involved in a perceived mundane life
  • When the bass drops and the lyrics announce “Do the Harlem Shake”, everything changes…
  • Everyone in the room has now changed costume and doing individually different wacky movements
  • Often there are more people involved in the transition portion
  • The song hits a moment that sounds like a growl and the video often goes into slo-motion then ends

Within days there have been many, many video remixes of the formula. Ready for a tour?

Perhaps the first video to follow the new format was this one:

A Norwegian Army version:

A Club version:

An office version:

Another office version:


A fire-fighter version:

A puppy version:

An underwater version:

A cartoon version:

A Star Wars version:

A finger/puppet version:

A Charlie Brown version:

And the Arrested Development version that your’s truly made:

However, there’s been some resistance:

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