Do the Harlem Shake: Dance meme craze comes to Piedmont in multiple departments



Staff Writer

Word traveled fast around Piedmont after students from all over campus came together in the field house to make Piedmont’s version of the popular YouTube video, The Harlem Shake. 

In just a short 30 minutes, junior Carl Allen made “Harlem Shake Piedmont Edition” with his iPad. It begins with senior Tim Nunez dancing in the field house with the lion mask that the baseball team keeps in their locker room while another student is pitching. The beat drops and immediately the room is filled with all types of students from Piedmont dancing while dressed in costumes. 

Cimberlee Leffler, a sophomore at Piedmont, said, “I decided to do it because it seemed like a lot of fun and another way to have a great memory with my friends.”

Nunez said the reason he was the first dancer was simply because he wanted to do it. Nunez said, “Just my personality type I guess.”

Their costumes ranged from suits made of duct tape or footie pajamas to nothing but a pair of boxers or a morph suit. They even had one student dressed as if he were walking around in a hand stand. 

Billy Beguhn, a freshman, said, “I dressed very ‘unique’ so that the crowd would just look crazy.”

According to freshman Allen Tokarz, Piedmont’s video was originally only going to be baseball players, but word spread and other students showed up. Students from a wide variety of sports on Piedmont’s campus showed up, like athletes who play baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and golf, according to Leffler. 

Students posted the video to YouTube, and it has been viewed approximately 8,000 times so far.

Tokarz said, “I believe the final product looks pretty good and is one of the better ones out there.”

Not too long after this video was posted, Piedmont College’s theatre department made their own version of the video. 

Kathy Blandin, a teaching fellow in the theatre department, suggested the idea to the department as a means of promoting their current show at the time, “She Stoops to Conquer.”

Assistant professor of theatre Henry Johnson starts off the dancing before the cast and crew of “She Stoops to Conquer,” along with their preview audience, joined together in the new creation. Their costumes ranged from the ones used in “She Stoops to Conquer” to a dragon and the Burger King’s head.  Props included several lightsabers, palm branches, and pieces of furniture.

Jacob McKee, a sophomore who appeared in both “She Stoops to Conquer” and in the theatre department’s video, said, “The Harlem Shake video is a popular trend, and everyone in the theatre department really wanted to be a part of that. It’s super fun and just really awesome in general, so we figured what better way to do it than to use our current show as a backdrop?”

Their version was posted on YouTube as well and received about 1,000 views.

But what really is the Harlem Shake? Originally, it was a dance with Ethiopian roots that began in Harlem, New York in 1981. 

Today, the Harlem Shake is a video with music from music producer Baauer, the stage name for Harry Rodrigues. The video begins with one person, usually wearing some sort of mask, dancing to the beat in a room where others are performing some sort of other task. The other people in the room act as if the person dancing is not there. When the beat drops, the video cuts to the same room filled with people dressed in foolish clothing dancing crazily. 

Not long after Baauer released “Harlem Shake” in May 2012, the internet flooded with videos of people across the country dancing to the hit. From the University of Georgia’s swim team to a few grandmas, it seems as everyone has created their own version of the video. 

The highest ranking Harlem Shakes include UGA’s swim team, the CollegeHumor office, and San Antonio SeaWorld, which features several seals and a walrus dancing with employees. 

Like most Internet sensations, the Harlem Shake has hit hard and fast. The question remains: how long will it last?

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