There is an actual dance called the Harlem Shake, but the viral video craze that bears its name is something else altogether.
The meme is, admittedly, hard to explain without seeing it. It was inspired by a video of teens from Queensland, Australia dancing to a techno song called “Harlem Shake” by Baauer. In a Harlem Shake video, one person dances by themselves against an ordinary, everyday scene, but when the song’s beat drops the video jump cuts to the same scene with many people dancing: wearing costumes, props and all sorts of other oddities.
It’s a user-generated trend that has escalated quickly, in no small part because the videos are short (30 seconds) and simple to film and edit. The first Harlem Shake was uploaded to YouTube on February 2, and by this past Friday there had been an estimated 40,000 others added to it.
Sam Vlessing, a third-year Dal student, wanted to make a Harlem Shake for Dal students.
“After seeing the Harlem Shake trend explode online, I thought it was time our institution got involved,” he says.
“I thought if I could put Dal back on the national stage, bring school spirit into the picture, and use this viral trend to do it, then why not? Also, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a huge dance party in -2 degree weather.”
Several hundred students showed up Friday afternoon to film their part of the video, attracted to the Studley quad via a Facebook event. The video was posted Friday night, and it has already racked up more than 143,000 views on YouTube.
When asked who helped make the video possible, Vlessing thanks his fellow students Dillon Poberezhsky and Adam Stone. “Without these two gentlemen, none of this would have been possible!” he says. “I also want to thank Dr. [Bonnie] Neuman for her unwavering trust in me.”
Watch: Dal students' "Harlem Shake"
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