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Date [ 2013-03-11, 11:55 ]

Will anything replace Gangnum style?

 
(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) By Benjamin KimRamani R=  No? Then take a look at what is sweeping through the world right now.
  For those in the dark, the Harlem Shake is an Internet meme in which a masked individual dances to Baauer's "Harlem Shake" while surrounded by people who appear to be oblivious to that lone dancer..That is until the base drops, and suddenly everyone in the room is dancing. Problem is they are dancing everything but the actual Harlem Shakedance.

 

A lot of times the dancers are
wearing weird costumes and holding anything from a broom to a paddle. They either use these themselves, from playing an imaginary guitar to hitting the dancer nearest to them, right in their crotch. Oh Yeah! stripping to one's underwear is encouraged.


The location can be anywhere. Your own living room, the dormitory, a gymnasium, classroom or out in the streets!

 It has taken You Tube by storm and the dancers cut across a wide spectrum of society.The University of Georgia men's swim and dive team did it underwater in Speedos. The Norwegian army did it in the snow. Justin Timberlake did his version called the ‘Tofu Harlem Shake’ when he hosted Saturday Nite Life. Psy, in announcing his next new single on You Tube, did his own rendition of the ‘Harlem Shake’ — ‘Gangnam Style,’ of course. Even the very austere NASA did a spoof on it.

It all started when YouTube comedian Filthy Frank took "Harlem Shake" by Brooklyn-based Latino producer Bauer and played off the wild dub step drop 15 seconds into the song. This then is the cue for everyone else to go wild.

But is this the real thing? Filmmaker Chris McGuire took the video to where else, but the streets of Harlem, to get some answers. Harlem residents were quick to give their comments which can be summed up as -. "That's not the Harlem Shake at all. That's humpin.’

The original dance has been around for decades. Most people trace it back to a street dancer named Al B. “He used to entertain the crowd at the Rucker tournament, which is a legendary basketball league in Harlem," informed Jay Smooth, a Harlemite and host of the hip-hop video blog Ill Doctrine. "It was brought into the mainstream by one of my Harlem neighbours, Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs, who brought the dance into a couple of videos he made with one of his artists, G Dep."

In time the dance faded away but it stayed true to its original form in Harlem. Then when it re-appeared on YouTube, it was a very far cry from what Al B used to dance..

"You'd shimmy really quickly and swing your arms back and forth, then freeze and start up again," Smooth explained. "Al B had a really elaborate story, placing the origin of the dance right  back to mummies in Africa. Perhaps the steps depicted the mummies who couldn't fully use their bodies as they were wrapped up in swathes.  

 

The biggest gathering of 'shake' at tel aviv

One of the biggest mass dance events took place in Estonia recently.
Called ‘Freedom Shake’ and based on the "Harlem Shake" it was held to celebrate  the 22nd. Anniversary of Estonian independence on February 24, 2013.  After the official ceremonies were over and the President had gone home, in the evening at Tallinn Freedom Square,  a 60-second video was created of a large crowd of young people doing free-form dancing. They wore out-of-this-world costumes and waved Estonian flags. It was hoped to be biggest Harlem Shake gathering ever, but it was not to be.

That distinction goes to Tel Aviv where 70,000 gathered in the central square, in front of its museum,  to dance  as someone said,”…like lunatics.” A day or two later, in Jerusalem,  the Western Wall plaza became the stage for a few dozen Birthright students.

If the holy patriarchs did not do anything to those who turned Judaism’s holiest site into a mass dance stage, the Israel army certainly did. When two soldiers took a video of an artillery corps unit doing the Shake, they were punished. The soldier who produced the video was sentenced to 14 days in prison; his commanding officer who gave his  approval, was jailed for 21 days and stripped of his command.

The Israelis and Arabs may be at each other’s throat but they seem to agree on one thing – the Harlem Shake is not for them! It is now causing problems in Egypt and Tunisia, where the  newly elected conservative political  parties are against the dance.

 In Cairo, four university students were arrested for indecent exposure while filming a Harlem Shake video in their underwear..In Tunisia, a video made at a high school has drawn an investigationby the Minister of Education. He admonished that, ”Proper permission was not granted for the video and what happened is an insult to the educational system and whoever contributed will be held responsible."

 But there has been a backlash!.Students at the Tunisian high school refused to attend classes and hackers tore into the Education Ministry's website with another meme-- a grinning face with the caption, "Problem Officer.” The students in both Tunisia and Egypt went on to organize protests: The Egyptians gathered outside the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters in Cairo  while the Tunisians met at the Ministry of Education in Tunis and guess what they did – yes, it was the Harlem Shake in full swing. As one student said, "Don’t you think in addition to books and more books, we also have the right to party."   

Particularly the "Harlem Shake!

abc@koreanpress.net

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