Harlem Shake + Ballet

Harlem Shake in Ballet Class ?

harlem shake

harlem shake

Northern Ballet’s class, to be precise (scroll down for the video).

The Harlem Shake, originally called the Albee in Harlem and originating from the Ethiopian dance called Eskista, is a dance that started in 1981 in New York. Originator Al B described the Harlem Shake as a drunken or alcoholic shake, a style of dance that the Egyptian Mummies might have adopted due to their constricted movement.

The song Harlem Shake is by an American producer called Baauer, also from New York. In May 2012 it was released as a free download. The song has a mechanical baseline and a samples of growling lions and other stand-out sounds, and samples Plastic Little’s 2001 Miller Time, specifically the vocal “then do the Harlem shake.”

harlem shake, ballet class

harlem shake

A year later; February 2013, and a video set to Harlem Shake is uploaded to YouTube. This internet meme has gone viral, with the concept that started in Queensland, Australia with 5 teenagers, being copied by people all over the world. Each short video usually starts with one (usually masked) person dancing alone to the Harlem Shake for 15 seconds, with everyone else around them going about their normal business and paying no attention. The bass line drops, and everyone in the crowd begins doing the Harlem Shake.

By mid-February 4000 Harlem Shake videos were being uploaded every day, rising to around 40,000 a couple of days later, with around 175 million views. The Norwegian Army have made a video, and it’s even reached China, where it’s known as Halin Yao in Mandarin.

harlem shake

harlem shake

As a result of this viral meme, Baauer’s single is doing well in the charts, reaching no 1 on the iTunes America chart and no 2 in the UK and Australia on 15th February 2013.

The Harlem Shake

Yesterday I put out a call for classical ballet dancers to make a Harlem Shake video. The quite fabulous Northern Ballet dancers didn’t let me down. See for yourself :


And if you want those purple Bloch warm-up boots, follow the link and they can be yours (they come in other colours too)!

Disclosure : Dance Direct advertise on Ballet News but the original feature linked above was written long before they started

2 Responses to Harlem Shake + Ballet

  1. Ballet News February 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Jamila Mendes commented : I was hoping a company would do it.

  2. Ballet News February 19, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    Andres Cactillo commented : it´s crazy , great