Oxford’s Harlem Shaken not stirred17th February 2013
Over the weekend, versions were made in Wadham, Pembroke, Keble, Hertford, St Hilda’s, Worcester, and Catz, as well as a whole University version filmed in front of the Radcliffe Camera.
The Oxford-wide version shot on Sunday had around 130 participants, who wore costumes ranging from full sub-fusc to morph suits and everything in between. This effort was organized by Freddie Millburn-Fryer, a student from Brookes, and has currently received 16,000 views.
Millburn-Fryer’s Facebook page issued a call to all students that the video was necessary because Oxford needs to “remind the world that whatever it is, Oxford does it best”.
He commented: “I’d seen the other videos online and they looked like a really good laugh. It just occurred to me that Oxford had potential to make a brilliant one.
“I wanted to choose a location instantly recognisable on a global scale, so outside of the Rad Cam was ideal in that sense. In terms of the result, I think I’ll let the video speak for itself. Oxford has a great energy and a sense of fun. I knew I could rely on the students to make the video great.”
The dance emulates the previous versions, starting with an individual person dancing in a helmet, in this case Millburn-Fryer sporting a Lego-man hat. After the ‘drop’, the video includes a mob of pulsating Oxford students dancing, throwing an inflatable sofa, and ‘milking’.
A version performed by members of St Catz has proved even more successful, receiving over 28,000 views since it was uploaded.
Leyla ‘the Lone Warrior’ Omar, who started the dance for the Catz version, commented: “Our modern architecture permitted a novel take on the ordinary crowd scenes, with the great surprise of huge crowds appearing above the lone warrior, aka yours truly.
“I think Catz’s Harlem Shake is entirely successful in its vivacity, lunacy, enthusiasm and brilliant coordination by Ali Adams!”
The song ‘Harlem Shake’ is by Baauer, a young DJ from New York, and was released in May 2012 and only found notoriety months later when an Australian YouTuber going by the name Filthy Frank made the original Harlem Shake video.
Since then the idea has been copied by thousands of other videos, including one by a unit of the Norwegian Army, one by the basketball players from the Dallas Mavericks and another by students of Cambridge University.
The dance has also been used as an advertising tool by Wadham College Ball, whose version filmed inside the Wadham hall has attracted over 4000 views in less than 24 hours.
Jeremy Stothart, the President of the Ball Committee, commented: “We wanted to show that Wadham students know how to get loose, and hoped that this would attract others to come to Wadham Ball; clearly, the shapes that we are throwing on those ancient tables are unrivalled”.
The meme has proved so popular, with 4,000 Harlem shake videos being uploaded per day in the last week that an entirely new website entitled Harlemshakeroulette.com has been set up, dedicated to providing “All the best Harlem Shakers in one place.”
It is this popularity that inspired some other students to participate. Holly Meehan, a Keble second year, explained that she participated “because I want internet fame pure and simple. Everyone knows it’s the best and most long-lasting type of fame so I want it.”