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Dance meme alert: The Harlem Shake blows up, and so does Baauer

February 13, 2013|By Randall Roberts
  • Dancers grinding to the track "Harlem Shake" by Baauer.
Dancers grinding to the track "Harlem Shake" by Baauer. (YouTube screen shot )

If you're like us, chances are you've been itching for a new dance craze, and maybe even woke up Wednesday morning looking to try out a few new maneuvers.

Good news: In the last couple of weeks a classic has been revived for a new decade: the Harlem Shake. Born in the 1980s, the move has evolved into a few different forms since then, but reappeared when a video appeared of some young men going crazy for a song called "Harlem Shake" by Baauer. 

It's a fun, funky dance track, somewhere between a house jam and an instrumental hip hop record, synthetic, freaky and featuring the roar of a lion. And for some magical reason, the dance has exploded online, where hundreds of videos have appeared.

Most follow the same action: In a room of people, one person, often wearing a motorcycle helmet, starts a groin-grind in rhythm to the opening synth noises. This one dancer does so as the rest of the people ignore him. Then, when Baauer's track digs into the rhythm, the whole room erupts -- usually with an edit to the same people donning ridiculous costumes and dancing.

It's less magical written down, though. Watch for yourself, first courtesy of this version by Makers Studio.

The track "Harlem Shake" was released in the summer (you can listen to the entire version here), and has been simmering since then, gradually rolling up views and listens until early February, when all hell broke loose. Since then, it's become an unstoppable musical meme. The good news is the song they're dancing to is way, way better than "Gangnam Style" -- it's a weird and infectious instrumental put out by Diplo's label Mad Decent -- and the dance, arguably, more ridiculous.

Check out more videos over at Mad Decent's site.

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Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit

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