Everyone’s crazy for the Harlem Shake

When a group of Australian teenagers filmed themselves dancing around in their pants in a bedroom they probably didn’t realise that people around the world would copy their actions.

But the Harlem Shake has become the biggest internet craze of the year so far, with millions creating their own versions.

The original video of the silly dance was published to YouTube earlier this month and now has more that 17 million hits on the video-sharing site.

It has rivalled last year’s UK number 1 Gangnam Style by South Korean artist Psy that saw hundreds of thousands of imitations videos uploaded to the web copying the novelty dance.

As a result of the craze Baauer’s track went to number in America and versions of ‘the shake’ were being uploaded to YouTube at a rate of 4,000 every hour.

The dance is to a piece by Brooklyn-based electro musician Baauer. Typically it starts off with a lone person being recorded, often masked or wearing a helmet, for approximately 15 seconds.

When the bass ‘drops’, it cuts to the same location but now with a crowd conducting crazy convulsive dance moves, often wearing bizarre costumes.

Typically the video lasts 30 seconds which is split by the conflicting scenes.

However the Harlem Shake has caused controversy. A New York ice hockey team had to forfeit a play-off place after their video filmed in the team’s locker room showed the squad half naked with one player wearing nothing but a sock.

The video was labelled ‘inappropriate’ and hockey bosses ticked-off the team about their conduct and at a cost they were forced to give up the first round match.

Celebrity fans include model Cara Delevingne, Ed Sheeran and Ryan Seacrest, Sports teams including Manchester City, the Georgia Swimming and Diving team and the Florida Gators.

And the Harlem Shake has now taken the West Midlands by storm as folk from across the area shoot their own interpretation of the dance.

Here, universities, sport clubs, dance venues and even a back garden in Dudley have formed the back drop as we all get in on the action.

One of the funniest offerings is by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue service, with their long-standing mascot Welephant getting in on the act.

It shows six fire fighters lined up alongside a rescue pump before they’re joined by the mascot who is in full march who then breaks into a dance. As the next scene unfolds around 15 members of the service create a hectic scene including one member in a sleeping bag and two in chemical spill uniforms. In the centre of these is one prankster pulling off Gangnam Style – another internet hit from last year.

It was filmed at the fire service’s headquarters in Stone.

Sarah Collis, media officer at the fire service said: “We recognised that the Harlem Shake videos were a continuing popular online trend so we decided to jump on the bandwagon to help promote our Push the Button campaign.

“Following the success of our last Push the Button video, which is close to 100,000 hits now, we hope this new video will give everyone a giggle but also serve as an important reminder to test their smoke alarms.”

The University of Wolverhampton got in on the act with their video gaining more than 2,000 views on YouTube. The video included a bangra theme, a planking stunt and a Liverpool fan dancing with a bucket on his head and his trousers around his ankles.

But it wasn’t just institutes having fun with the internet meme. In Dudley one family shot their own take of the shake in their back garden. Complete with an astronaut, two kids on a trampoline and some what bemused dog its a matter before Dudley’s answer to the dance has more than the 500 views it currently has.

Stafford isn’t immune from the craze either. Two youngsters took centre stage in the heart of the town’s shopping centre and were joined by around 20 fellow dancers - including one hitting herself over the head with a bag.

The highlight of the video, which has had more than 1,000 views on YoutTube, is one woman unwittingly walking into shot as mayhem surrounded her before realising she had been caught on camera.

The biggest collective effort was from clubbers in WS1 in Walsall where DJs got a whole dance floor to partake in the dance. The University of Birmingham’s video has been the most successful from our area with more than 50,000 hits on the YouTube video. There dance involved around 50 students and included two leprechauns, Buzz Lightyear in a fight and a penguin pouring a drink over its head.

Possibly the most creative was a 40 second video that showed West Bromwich Albion star striker Romelu Lukaku as FIFA 13 character emulating the dance. He is then joined by Argentine midfielder Claudio Yacob and seemingly enjoy the dance in rainy conditions. In Lichfield around five cheeky students pulled off the stunt in their school common room. It even included one prankster playing her friend like a double bass soon after a lone figure stood dancing with a green blanket over their head.

It’s unlikely to stop anytime soon, so grab your cameras, costumes and props – and get shaking.