News / USA

Harlem Shake Craze Draws Fans Worldwide

Harlem Shake Craze Draws Fans Worldwidei
X
February 20, 2013 1:34 AM
A YouTube dance phenomenon called the Harlem Shake is drawing a huge Internet audience in the United States and abroad. In the past two weeks, thousands of people have posted short videos of themselves and their friends doing moves to a previously little-known electronic track by a New York DJ. Most of the videos follow a basic formula that has been easy to replicate for fans around the world, including in Washington, as VOA's Michael Lipin found out.
Harlem Shake Craze Draws Fans Worldwide
A YouTube dance phenomenon called the Harlem Shake is drawing a huge Internet audience in the United States and abroad.

In the past two weeks, thousands of people have posted short videos of themselves and their friends doing moves to a previously little-known electronic track by a New York DJ.

Most of the videos follow a basic formula that has been easy to replicate for fans around the world, including in Washington.

Jordin's Paradise, a local dance and fitness studio, organized a Harlem Shake flash mob in Dupont Circle Park this week, using Facebook to spread the word.

As a speaker blared the first 30 seconds of the song by New York-based DJ Baauer, two people dressed as penguins started to dance, with a studio cameraman filming them from a distance. At first, the park visitors near the penguins appeared to be oblivious to what was going on. But when the beat started, dozens of them jumped into the camera shot, transforming the once normal scene into dance-filled chaos.

Rita, a teenage participant, said she was excited about appearing in a Harlem Shake video. "I think the song is really catchy, and since Gangnam Style was a difficult [dance] for everyone to get [used to], this is really simple. So, even if you can't really dance, just do whatever, and it's awesome," said Rita.

Australian initiative

In early February, five Australian teenagers from the state of Queensland were among the first to post a Harlem Shake dance on YouTube.

The Sunny Coast Skate Crew created a video style that many others later immitated, starting with a masked dancer who is ignored by those around him, until a vocal sample says 'Then do the Harlem Shake,' and everyone else in the scene suddenly appears to be joining in.

YouTube says tens of thousands of versions of the dance have been uploaded this month, generating more than 175 million views.

Top-ranked videos

The most popular iterations feature a U.S. swim and diving team at the University of Georgia, a group of Norwegian army officers, U.S. media company Maker Studios and an American comedian named Filthy Frank.

DJ Baauer, who released Harlem Shake last year to little fanfare, has seen sales of the song skyrocket on iTunes since it became the music of choice for the viral videos. His record company also gets a share of the revenue from YouTube ads shown before the video clips.

American indie rock duo Matt & Kim produced a version that attracted seven million views in a week. While on tour in New York state, they chose a concert hall as their venue and easily persuaded more than 5,000 fans to be their back-up dancers.

Vocalist Matt Johnson told VOA via Skype that the energy of the dancers is what appear to be drawing the viewers.

"As far as I know, nobody has really done it with as many people as we have. There's just a certain energy that you get from watching the 30 seconds of this. I think people really have found that enjoyable and sent it all around."

Dance overkill?

Cynics say the flood of immitation videos that have appeared online eventually will make people tire of the Harlem Shake and lead to its demise.

Johnson said he is surprised the craze has lasted this long.

"That's the nature of these Internet memes [concepts], that they can be so large so quickly," he said. "It's not like it can be maintained.  Everything is about doing it right then and moving forward. And there's something fun and very 2013 about that."

Jordin's Paradise director Rania Jaziri hopes the fad will endure.  

"People need to be able to dance and not care about any choreography and just have fun and come together, instead of being stuck behind a computer," she said.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid