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Something Borrowed: The Real Harlem Shake

Dance March 22 2013

I guess some would call it ‘the crazy convulsive shake’ but to be honest, that’s just the same as describing an ice-cream as a ‘coldish mass of something’. A person who would choose such cruel words is most likely utterly clueless of the pleasures an ice-cream can bring. Obviously.

On a serious note, the recent viral craze that kept appearing from all sides of the world has caused some to voice their disagreement. Mostly coming from Harlem’s street dancers and/or people who have seen the real deal, there is an opinion that the viral episodes of Harlem Shake impersonators are mocking the original. When there’s voice, there’s power, and quickly the public eye is allowed to reminiscence that the origin is to be found in Harlem, where a dance is born and experienced daily as a curiosum, and not just a fad that’s currently ‘so hot right now’.

Harlem Reacts to ‘Harlem Shake’ Videos. Shot & Edited By Chris McGuire

This clash of opinions is very similar to the public discussions on hipsters. The crux of the critique directed at hipsterism is that they (hipsters) are appropriating the marks of a particular culture without having the same experience of it. Some say stealing is wrong, and some just go on. And then, some would say: “Stealing!? You gotta be kidding me! Are you calling Andy Warhol a thief then?” With that said, a point is made, for Warhol is very much a part of the canon.

The Harlem Shake Army Edition Compilation US, British, Norwegian

The real Harlem Shake is a distinctly classified dance, which not everyone can decide to just do. A little bit of practice, or at least some dance experience is required. However we choose to look at it, every marketing enthusiast would attempt to produce viral positive content because the more people see and recognize the content in its relation to the product, or, the larger scope of exposure a product gets, the bigger the odds that the product will penetrate the mass conscientious and thus get sold easier and in larger quantities. When it comes to the real Harlem Shake dancers, it is hard to see how they can ever directly benefit a series of viral videos as they are currently seen. It is made obvious that the importance of documentation of such dances is imminent, if not for anything else, then for being able to reference and trace the shapes culture materializes in.

Whatever happened to the Chicken Noodle Dance?

VIDEO CREDIT: Harlems Shakers. Harlem Shake (not another Harlem Shake video… Smh!!!) Featuring: The original Harlem Shakers //Track produced by: Kid the Wiz and Tweek Tune

 

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