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Trinis shaking for new internet craze (with CNC3 video)
Last year it was South Korean rapper Psy’s Gangnam Style that swept the globe with over one billion YouTube hits.
This year it’s the Harlem Shake that has gone viral. A slew of YouTube videos show people and groups around the globe doing their own renditions of the popular “dance.”
On Monday the T&T Guardian visited the UWI St Augustine campus, where scores of students gathered to watch the filming of a version of the Harlem Shake, done by a group of students from different faculties.
The video is already available on YouTube.
The dancers dressed in various costumes and took to tabletops, chanting and jumping up and down, “wilding out” to the official Harlem Shake song, a dance track by Brooklyn-based DJ Baauer.
The organiser of Monday’s “shakedown,” Denith McNicolls, said he and a friend decided they should cash in on the action while it was still hot, plus it would be fun to do a presentation of the popular dance.
“We created a group last Friday on Facebook and by Sunday morning we had about 500 people saying that they will take part in today’s shoot,” said McNicolls.
“The more spontaneous…random, the better.”
Describing himself as a performer who loves the stage, McNicolls said he felt the shoot was the perfect opportunity to bring the campus together.
“Campus is usually so divided, so I feel today was a great opportunity for all students to get more acquainted with each other and to have fun being a part of the same activity,” he explained.
There are also other Trini versions of the Harlem Shake on YouTube, like the Gulf City Toilet Harlem Shake (yes, it’s filmed in a toilet), the Synergy TV Harlem Shake and the most popular, the Queen’s Park Savannah Harlem Shake, directed by photographer Damian Luk Pat.
The Queen’s Park Savannah version, which has a decidedly Trini flavour, and involves a coconut vendor, received more than 26,000 hits on the day it was posted on YouTube.
Speaking to the T&T Guardian, Luk Pat said the idea was to make it more local than the universal versions.
“We used pieces of costumes from Carnival, and a typical scene of people buying coconut water around the Savannah to produce our version of the Harlem Shake.
Near the end of the video you will also hear SuperBlue’s Fantastic Friday—again, we wanted to make it more local,” said Luk Pat.
He said they even got a Red Bull truck to supply the power for the music played in the video.
Will the Harlem Shake make the one-billion mark or even break Gangnam Style’s record? It possibly could. Maybe a new Harlem Shake video is being uploaded to the internet as you read this.
WHAT IS THE HARLEM SHAKE?
Wikipedia says the Harlem Shake, originally called the albee, was started in Harlem in 1981 by a man named Al B. It was based on an Ethiopian dance called the Eskista and involved mainly shrugging the shoulders. It was resurrected and went mainstream in 2001 when rapper G Dep featured the dance in his music video Let’s Get It. More recently it was brought to life a third time when four Australian men posted a video of themselves in a bedroom doing their versions of the Harlem Shake.
And this video is what started the craze that’s now gone viral. All it has in common with the original Harlem Shake is the name. The 30-second videos feature an excerpt from the Harlem Shake by electronic musician Baauer. They begin with one person—often wearing a mask— dancing alone for 15 seconds, surrounded by other people who are working or going about normal activities while ignoring or oblivious to the dancer. After 15 seconds, when the bass drops, the entire crowd is seen doing a crazy dance while wearing silly costumes and brandishing outlandish props.
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