What is Harlem Shake

You may come across 200,000 results on YouTube while searching about what is Harlem Shake. They may include a group of sky divers falling from the clouds and pumping their fists along with thrusting their pelvises in a wild dance like move or camouflaged Norwegian army officers or team of swimmers and divers from University of Georgia in their trunks moving their pelvises and fists in the same manner like set in an electronic channel.

They call it Harlem Shake dance being inspired by a song produced by Baauer, a renowned producer, that has recently been placed on top position of Billboard hot 100 for the second consecutive week. Videos of puppy edition, stripper edition and grandma edition of Harlem shake have made it popular all over the world through internet, after they have become viral. But are these contaminating dances real Harlem Shake?


How Harlem evolved

No, in fact real Harlem Shake is technically more raw, frenetic and fluid dance which evolved about 30 years ago in New York City. During halftime of streetball games held in Rucker Park a skinny man from Harlem known as Al. B. among his neighbors started entertaining the crowd by dancing in his own style. This dance popularized Al. B. or Albert Boyce around Harlem as The Al. B. till his death in 2006 at the age of 43 years.

His 69 years old mother told that Al. B. had spent most of his life in dancing in his own style. According to her he danced and twisted his shoulders on any type of beat and rhythm of any song in his own brand moves. He danced in the park to popularize his style and soon The Al. B. became a synonym to Harlem Shake.

How Harlem Shake became popular

Crazy Boyz, a dance group of four persons, is also accredited by some people for the popularity of the dance form evolved by Al. B. among the general public. Whereas some residents of Harlem are of the view that the viral publication of their videos on YouTube has given popularity and stardom to the dancing crew of four people as well as this dance form.

Maurice Strayhorne, one of the crew of Crazy Boyz popularly known as Motion, commented on the claim of the Harlem people that they are disrespecting this dancing style completely by claiming the their viral videos had given it popularity. According to other members of this group they observed the moves and style of Al. B. and combined some of their chest and arms moves with it to develop it as Harlem Shake. The music videos of this crew ultimately took this dance form to the world of hip hop music but its popularity faded there. It was because people did not accept the imitation of the real Harlem Shake.

Harlem Shake as an Internet meme

Harlem Shake became a popular internet meme after a video of a group of performing people in a comic manner on a song popularly known as Harlem Shake. Many people used the same concept and replicated the video as a meme which in February 2013 rapidly became viral on internet. It encouraged thousands of people to make various types of videos on Harlem Shake and uploading them on YouTube which gave this dance style enormous popularity.

A video of five teenagers from Queensland, Australia named as The Sunny Coast Skate was uploaded on YouTube on 2nd February and established this dance form as a popular internet meme. They followed the comic video named as Filthy Frank uploaded on YouTube, in which several costumed people danced on the popular song of Baauer, the Harlem Shake, to make their video. It set a viral trend of making their own Harlem Shake videos and uploading them on YouTube.

Millions of people around the world saw the original video of Harlem Shake along with a number of other videos uploaded by thousands of people in their own style on YouTube since then. In this internet made this new dancing style popular all over the world.

This crazy dance form which was based on a stupid but happy song Harlem Shake written by Baauer, a renowned American electronic musician and DJ, can not be described easily. The song was described by Wikipedia as a song with high tempo which produces a mechanical bassline to encourage people dance with the growling sound of lion. The variety of strange sounds included in the song by Baauer has made it outstanding.

A large number of videos including its original upto the thousands of other videos uploaded on YouTube since its very start included thousands of people to perform on this song. They included persons in a room in various helmets, masks and costumes jerking their bodies and arms awkwardly in a happy environment.

These videos became viral on internet and made Harlem Shake an internet meme. Internet meme can be described as a photo or video that is viewed by large number of visitors, replicated enormously and uploaded on internet along with other photos and videos.

Some of the popular Harlem Shake versions uploaded on YouTube

Norwegian army officers Sky divers dancing in the mid air while falling from the clouds Grandmothers Puppies The English National Ballet dancing in tutus The swim-and-dive team of University of Georgia dancing underwater The Simpsons, an animated television show

The Harlem Shake done by some Frisbee players of the college on an airplane is being investigated by an organization that regulates airline flight in the United States. This investigation is to ensure that no laws were violated by the people while getting out of their seats and dancing and jumping around the plane while on flight.

According to the students they started dancing only after asking the pilot of the plane, crew member and other passengers whether they have any objection in their dancing. They started dancing after their approval and some of the passenger later on joined them and enjoyed.

Thus Harlem Shake is a unique dance form which has no particular dance style as the participants jerk and thrust their body and arms in a haphazard manner.

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