The Harlem Shake: More to it than just dancing


The “Harlem Shake” dance is prancing its way past PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” the recent Internet phenomenon.

Originally from Harlem, New York, the dance seems to have been resurrected by five Australian teenage boys according to Aussie teens inspire Harlem Shake dance craze, an article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Since it’s upload on Feb. 2 , thousands of other Harlem Shake versions have infiltrated YouTube, the video sharing website.

University of California (UC) and California State Universities (CSU’s) have jumped on the bandwagon, reenacting the dance as well as the Norwegian army in it’s video titled Harlem Shake (original army edition).

One of the latest published videos is “Harlem Shake Official El Camino College Edition,” posted by user MrDatChick on Feb. 23.

Looking at the content of the video- people jumping up and down, laughing, tossing their hands in the air, wearing costumes- fun is what comes to mind.

Although the content of the video seems harmless, unlike “Gangnam Style,” the Harlem Shake dance is currently under scrutiny. The video Harlem reacts to ‘Harlem Shake’ Videos, also on YouTube, captures the shocked and confused reaction of the residence of Harlem who say that although the videos they are shown are interesting they are not what they say they are (the Harlem Shake dance).

The people interviewed on the Harlem reacts video shared the opinion that the new dance fad was ‘disrespectful, foolish and a misinformed.’

In addition to the reaction of people of Harlem, published a blog by Hayes Brown, expressing his disapproval of not the name of the video but of the dance portrayed in it.

“My problem was with the dancing itself. No unity, no precision, no sense that anything was going on other than pure chaos hiding under the label of a dance that’s existed for years,” wrote Brown.

Whether it be the name of the dance or the dance itself, it is important to understand and to be aware of the emotional response “The Harlem Shake Dance” is having on particular cultures in New York, music and dance.

Before the next craze, have second thoughts about jumping on the bandwagon. If you plan to record your own version the Harlem Shake, contemplate titling it: ‘NOT the Harlem Shake dance.’