College Harlem Shake is “Shaking” a Large Following

College Harlem Shake is “Shaking” a Large Following
Bernadine Racoma

Gangnam Style is out. College Harlem Shake is in. That’s the new buzzword that started an Internet meme.

Harlem Shake is an energetic freestyle dance that could be performed by almost anyone, especially with college students living in dorms. It could be said that it has become a college Harlem dance craze. It does not have too many moves. All one needs to know is how to shake or flail the arms from the shoulders in time to the pumping beat.

This is not a new dance style by the way. It’s been around since 1981 and is just revived, after a video of the dance went viral this month.

The dance actually started in Harlem in 1981, where it was originally called “albee.” Allegedly the dance was started by a man that goes by the name of Al B that is why the dance was initially called that way, particularly in Harlem and in Rucker. In 2001, G. Dep had the dance Harlem shake featured in a music video for his song “Let’s Get It” and from there the dance became a mainstream dance.

The original Harlem shake is a dance that had its roots from “Eskista,” an Ethiopian dance, whose ancient form is still performed to this day. It was seen in EBC (Entertainers Baseball Classic) and got noticed by more people.

The Dance
Harlem Shake became a phenomenon on the Internet when Filthy Frank, a comedy vlogger on YouTube uploaded his video on February 2013. The video caught on and became viral, with people trying to imitate the dance and creating their own video versions.

Although the new 2013 version of the Harlem Shake dance should not be confused with the original Harlem Shake of 1981, both forms could be danced using the electronic music of Baauer, entitled, you guessed it, “Harlem Shake.”

The current version, which is the latest craze, starts with one person wearing a mask or a helmet doing a several hip thrusts in time to the booming music. As soon as the bass beat goes down, there will be several people, wearing costumes, holding props or minimally dressed dancing the main person, flailing their arms around, like people trying to remove the stiffness from their shoulders. You’d think they are doing some form of aerobic or stretching exercises. Nevertheless, the dance is fun, fast and could help you burn some calories. Give it a try. Media people, firemen, swimming teams, office workers and a lot more have joined the bandwagon; why not create a version of your own.

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