Have you heard of the Harlem Shake? It’s a dance that originated in Harlem in the 80s. It is also a track by DJ Baauer released in 2012. It is also the latest dance craze to have gone viral, and not just a little viral — in one week, the video went from an unknown meme to having 12,000 spin-offs uploaded with over 44 million views on YouTube.
YouTube Trends has even created a graph to show how astonishingly quick this phenomenon has spread:
The Harlem Shake, in its modern 2013 iteration, is a strange combination of thrusting, gyrating and writhing. It seems to have originated with the first video below, but the characteristics of the meme (one masked person dancing alone, jump cut to several people Harlem-shaking all over the place) was developed later.
It has now spawned a phenomenon that involves not only men in their twenties, but office-workers, bananas and cats….even the staff of the Today show have caught on. Unlike Gangnam Style which was centered around an actual pop star, who was somewhat sincere in his dance moves, this is a dance by the people, for the people, all getting down and getting silly.
If you haven’t witnessed the Harlem Shake yet, take some time to see it in its various forms: