1,400 UBC students do the ‘Harlem Shake’
Jeff Lawrence, CTV British Columbia
Published Sunday, February 17, 2013 4:43PM PST
Last Updated Sunday, February 17, 2013 6:21PM PST
The University of British Columbia has entered the ring for the title of best “Harlem Shake” video on the internet.
The video, titled “UBC Harlem Shake #tbirdshake” has attracted nearly 70,000 views on YouTube in two days.
But the organizers responsible for jamming more than 1,400 wild students into Koerner Library Plaza say they didn’t create the video for it to go viral -- they want to promote fun on campus.
The Harlem Shake is an internet meme that went viral earlier this month. While videos vary, they usually begin with one unusually dressed person dancing to the song “Harlem Shake” by electronic artist Baauer.
When the song’s pounding bass kicks in, the video suddenly changes to a shot of a massive crowd thrashing wildly in even more ridiculous costumes – or sometimes, no clothes at all.
Kaveh Sarhangpour, who helped produce the video with his production company Hollis Mason, said a freshman created a Facebook page that invited students to show up ready to “get weird.”
For a school that’s considered more academic than party-laden, he was surprised by the turnout.
“At 4:25 p.m. there were about 50 people there,” said Sarhangpour, a political science student. “At 4:30 hundreds of people started showing up. It sounds corny, but it sort of sent chills down my spine.”
By the end of filming, some 1,400 costumed dancers were showing their stuff. In the video, grown men dressed as Teletubbies thrust their arms in the air, while one man dances around in a sniper suit covered in leaves.
But not everyone was onboard with the coordinated craziness.
“We got a few dirty looks from people who were still studying at the library at 5 p.m.,” Sarhangpour said. “But tons of people were smiling, taking photos. It was just great to see that many people out.”
Organizers also heard from students who felt the meme is past its prime and needs to be put down.
“I think a lot of people at UBC, they kind of felt it was testing the patience of the trend,” Sarhangpour said. “These things have a two-to-three week life span, and it’s pretty much at the tail end.”
While it hasn’t attracted the 3.5-million views that Guelph Unversity’s Harlem Shake video has, the project still accomplished what the students set out to do.
“In terms of filmmaking, we really wanted to showcase UBC’s campus. Ours is one of the only ones that are outdoors,” he said. “What I hope this does it raises awareness to get involved on campus, and inspires people to go out and have fun.”
According to the website YouTube Trends, as of Feb. 11 Harlem Shake videos had been viewed nearly 44-million times worldwide, with more than 4,000 movies being uploaded per day.