Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Why we love the Harlem Shake

Last Sunday, some members of the iReport team found themselves dancing like fools on a MARTA train. My husband's sketch comedy group was behind the madness, and it was all to be part of the Harlem Shake -- the latest viral meme that's sweeping the Internet.

 

 

In case you're wondering, that's me in the crazy scuba diver helmet, Nicole rocking out with the lemur, and Germain showing off some sweet umbrella dance moves. You can watch the video here, as long as you promise not to judge us too harshly!

 

For the uninitiated, the Harlem Shake is a hip-hop dance and the title of a 2012 instrumental track produced by Baauer. In the past week, though, the song spawned a series of 30-second dance videos that start with a masked individual doing the Harlem Shake solo in a group before cutting to a wild dance party featuring everyone on screen.

 

At this point, it's nearly impossible to keep track of how many Shake videos there are in the world. People have taken the meme into offices, underwater, at a concert arena, and inside a fire truck. And while all of the videos are different, they're all ridiculous and hilarious and fun.

 

So, why exactly did the Harlem Shake take off? Because it's simple, fun to participate in, and, most importantly, structured. We've long observed that crowd-sourced projects that have clear boundaries allow people to be super creative within those limitations, and the Harlem Shake is a fantastic example of that. The videos all use the same song and start with one person dancing, then erupt into craziness once the beat drops.

 

At its basic core, the videos are simple. The dorm room one that really kicked off the trend likely took a few minutes to execute. But because of the simplicity and set rules of the meme, people have been endlessly creative and ambitious when it comes too pulling them off. And the popularity of the videos is no surprise, either -- viewers know that watching is only a 30-second investment of time with a great payoff towards the end.

 

Plus, there's wild dancing and crazy costumes in unexpected places. What's not to love? We only wish that we kicked off the trend first!

9 Comments
February 13, 2013
Click to view mgswag2002's profile

pretty funny the most when they came out of nowhere

February 18, 2013
Click to view MelanieCar's profile

The Harlem Shake demonstrates that just under the veneer of polite society there is a crazy dance party waiting to happen!!!

February 18, 2013
Click to view LaurenHaupt's profile

It looks like a Jax Panik music video

February 20, 2013
Click to view enduran's profile

Wow

February 25, 2013
Click to view kittyv7's profile

lol? -~-

February 28, 2013
Click to view tiarocks's profile

if i had to pick ganganstyle or harlam dance it would be harlam dance i think if you hear it once you  are happy and want to dance to it but when you hear it agin no i dont like gangan stlye

February 28, 2013
Click to view tiarocks's profile

and love harlam dance

 

March 17, 2013
Click to view stein0726's profile

Why did I not see this till now?! This is the amazing. @nsaidi @katie @elchueco: I already knew you guys were awesome, but I just gained so much more respect for you.

May 3, 2014
Click to view kikimalone13's profile

Love it! Awesome.  If this was back New York where I use to live, if you ever went on the subway and saw what it looked like, this would not be strange at all.  LOL

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