DC at Night

DC at Night

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Harlem Shake, DC Style

Here's a quick quiz for all you wanna-be hipsters. What is the current video dance craze? If you answered Gangnam Style, you are so yesterday. The correct answer is the Harlem Shake, which went viral on YouTube earlier this month and this week made history when it became the 1st video ever to make it to the top of Billboard's Top 100 Pop Chart.

In an article in this week's Time magazine, it is reported that the craze began on Feb. 2 when a fan posted a self-made video of the 2011 techno track created by a producer-DJ named Baauer on YouTube. In the past 3 weeks, hundreds and hundreds of copy-cat videos have flooded the internet. Although there are countless creative differences, the videos all contain the song, flailing dance moves, and use of jump-cuts.

It seems everyone wants to show off their moves. And, of course, DC isn't exempt. There is the Harlem Shake at the White House (without President Obama). There is the Harlem Shake: Democracy Edition (recorded outside the Capitol). There is the Harlem Shake Washington DC Bar Edition (from the Hamilton). There is even a web site rating the best and worst Harlem Shake videos from DC-area college campuses.

Dunbar students rehearse their shake moves
Today, the senior class at Dunbar High School, where I serve as a consultant, filmed their own version of the video. The project was under the direction of staff members James Barnes and Charles Young. The main reason for the taping was a chance for a fun bonding activity for Dunbar students who are spending their final days at the high school. But Barnes said he could envision using the video as a friendly challenge to other DC schools to determine who are DC's best high school Harlem Shakers.

Now, the craze may seem frivolous and even nonsensical to some. But before you get too critical, check out a few of the videos. There's a good chance that you might enjoy yourself. And, if nothing else, it gets students who are often criticized for being inactive, shaking to better health.

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
For those of you pining for the good old days, here is a video of Chinese activist artist Ai Weiwei with his take on the Gangnam style dance of yore, which in internet meme parlance, can mean last month. Ai Weiwei's major exhibition closed this weekend after a succesful run at the Hirshhorn.

Blog Archive

Popular Posts