UGA embraces the 'Harlem Shake'

semerson@macon.comFebruary 14, 2013 

ATHENS - The 'Harlem Shake' dance craze may be a fad that quickly passes, but while it's hot the UGA athletics department is hitting it hard.

First came the men's swimming program, who performed a novel version in front of an underwater camera. The YouTube video quickly went out over the Twitterverse, and as of Thursday morning had 3.6 million views on YouTube.

The football team didn't wait long to follow up: The team filmed its own version on Wednesday afternoon and posted it that evening.

The 30-second video features:

- Strength coach Joe Tereshinski dancing in a mask for the first 15 seconds, while the team behind him does choreographed stop rolls behind him.

- Players in Winnie the Pooh and panda outfits.

- Star receiver Malcolm Mitchell dancing shirtless with an umbrella.

- At least one player with crutches.

- Tray Matthews an early enrollee, dancing shirtless.

It was filmed on the team's indoor practice facility. The lack of a 100-yard field may not help for actual football practice, but luckily it's good enough for videos.

The video received the blessing of head coach Mark Richt, who tweeted out a link to it. (Per NCAA rules, the on-field football coaches aren't supposed to have contact with players during this period between the season and spring practice.)

The student section at the Georgia men's basketball game did its own Harlem Shake on Tuesday night. It was well done, although it was immediately followed by Alabama making a big run in the game.

So what actually is the Harlem Shake? The dance itself originated in 1981, but it gained renewed popularity recently due to the release of the song, by Baauer, with the name "Harlem Shake." There's a wild dance in the video, which is what the UGA teams - and many others - are replicating. But none of it actually bears much resemblance to the original Harlem Shake.

That leaves an opening for the next viral video craze. Because, after all, we had only just finished with the "Gangham Style" dance craze - for which the UGA men's and women's basketball teams filmed their own video prior to the season.

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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