Move over, PSY. The “Gangnam Style” viral video is so yesterday. Now there’s a new meme in town, and it’s “Harlem Shake.” The dance craze is at the edge of going viral in a big way. CBS News reported on the trend on Feb. 7, following the viral rise of “Harlem Shake v3 (office edition)” on YouTube.
“Harlem Shake v3 (office edition)” is created by YouTube User Hi I’m Rawn. It uses Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” dance track and features the signature moves and elements that make up the dance video. It has received over 700,000 views to date following its Wednesday release.
CBS identifies the first video in the “Harlem Shake” video craze as “The Harlem Shake v2” by PHLOn Nan, using Baaer’s 2012 track and inspired by earlier work by The Sunny Coast Skate and Filthy Frank (DizastaMusic). Both these videos were posted in February 2013 and have received over 300,000 views as of this writing.
What is the “Harlem Shake"? Some more commonly used elements include a solo dancer with an obscured face, often by a motorcycle helmet or mask, who performs the moves alone while other people go about their regular activities. Following a jump cut, the video then shows the dancer joined in the dance by the others.
But that set-up doesn’t quite express the oddity of the dance moves themselves.
Know Your Meme, which added the dance parodies to its site Thursday, describes the “Harlem Shake” dance style as ‘pivoting the shoulder out while popping the other shoulder out at the same time.” “Harlem Shake” may also include other styles. As a whole the moves are loose-limbed and energetic, dancing that line between looking silly and looking like a whole lot of fun.
“Harlem Shake” is not so much a new dance craze as a rediscovered one, which Know Your Meme covers in more detail. According to the site, the dance style first appeared in 1981, “Harlem Shake” is attributed to a New York City resident named “Al Bm.” New York hip-hop artists later picked up the style and referenced it in their work.
In August 2012, Baauer released a “Harlem Shake” dance track that has inspired the parody videos and which use that music.
As further sign that the “Harlem Shake” is set to go internet-craze crazy, there are several other versions of the dance the addition to “Harlem Shake v3 (office edition).” CollegeHumor has released its own version, for instance, and, and there is a “Harlem Shake” with firefighters.
In addition, the dance has already reached the mash-up stage with YouTube user Jake Dylan Amour creating the “Harlem Shake (Peanuts Version).”