Dance Craze Cray

There is nothing that makes you feel more old when a kid references something that you don’t understand. You know, when you think the person had a stroke in saying something to you, but instead, you take note and look it up on Urban Dictionary later only to find out it’s something either extremely sexual or not at all what you thought.

I was watching the BET Hip Hop Awards earlier this week, when a rapper named IHeartMemphis (apparently he’s just going by Memphis now), performed his hit song Hit The Quan which comes complete with a funky dance. Legit the only other time I had heard of it was when Hayes Grier (look him up, grandma) mentioned it on Dancing With The Stars (haters to the left) and I was like… is that English? Not only is it English, but it’s becoming the new hit that will be overplayed in approx 4 weeks and soon we’ll be seeing people who shouldn’t be doing the Quan doing it anyways.

But of course, this isn’t the first time a novelty dance has swept the nation/world. It’s become a pop culture milestone once a song reaches a certain level of popularity, and here are just some of the most memorable ones throughout the years.

Whip/Nae Nae

If you’re just catching on to the Whip/Nae Nae now, just be aware it will be over in a few weeks before the Quan takes over. The Whip/Nae Nae, to Silento’s Watch Me, actually is one of the few songs on this list that includes other famous dance moves from novelty songs, such as the superman, stanky leg, and bop. That doesn’t make it any less stupid.

Macarena

The year is 1996. A song called Macarena by Los Del Rio hits the radio and a young Traci in Western New York, who thinks it’s cool to be able to buy cassette tapes and CDs, purchases the cassette single of Macarena to… practice the dance? The Macarena became a hit in my house and all over the world, and a number one track on multiple music charts. It was played at school dances, weddings, sports arenas, basically anywhere you could listen to music. Not knowing the moves was considered sacrilege, like a betrayal to the human race. But since it was in Spanish, most people never really knew what the song was really about, and it’s kind of disturbing.

It was inspired by a flamenco teacher, and in the song they sing, “Dale a tu cuerpo alegría, Ma’dalena, que tu cuerpo e’ pa’ darle alegría y cosa’ buena'” (“Give your body some joy, Magdalene, ’cause your body is for giving joy and good things too”). In Andalusian culture, naming a woman “Magdalena” is associating her with Mary Magdalene and her sordid (prostitute) past, suggesting the woman is sassy or sensuous.

Teach Me How To Dougie

Cali Swag District actually wants to teach you how to dougie. So much so that they put the instructions into the lyrics of the song. 1) You need a “beat that’s super bumping”. 2) Back it up and dump it. 3) Put your arms out from and lean side to side 4) They gon’ be on you when they see you hit that dougie right. 5) All the bitches will love you.

Tootsee Roll

This song is my youth. MY YOUTH, I SAY! I was 9 years old when the 69 Boyz released this jam (hahahaha everything about that) and I remember it being a popular song with me and my friends and we’d constantly reference it. I certainly wasn’t aware of what I was singing and dancing along to, all I knew was that I liked it, and damnit, I still like it. This music video tho.

Superman

As previously mentioned, the Whip/Nae Nae mentions the Superman aka Crank That (Soulja Boy) by Soulja Boy, which for some reason I can’t believe was released 8 years ago. Anyways, Soulja Boy was just 17 when the song reached number one and became an international hit. So why has it taken me so long to find out “Crank That” is also a euphemism for masturbation???? This, from Genius.com, so obviously accurate.

Gangnam Style

Who knew that a K-Pop star could take the world by storm with a song that’s not in English and a music video that barely makes any sense? With over 2.43 billion views on YouTube, this is the most watched vid on the site, but really, my favorite Gangnam Style vid has to go to SNL’s sketch featuring Bobby Moynihan as Psy and Hader as the weird dude in the elevator. Comedy gold.

Harlem Shake

So we know the actual Harlem Shake dance is actually nothing like these “meme” that went viral a few years ago, but I was still confused when this first came out. I was expecting this but instead got a bunch of idiots making their own version of the madness that is the Harlem Shake. But this one, featuring the cast of Happy Endings (RIP) is one of the best.

 

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The Harlem Shake is Making Me Reflect on Life

If you haven’t heard or seen of the Harlem Shake meme that is sweeping the internets, get out of your cave and read on. First of all, contrary to popular belief, it’s not the popular dance craze that hit the streets circa 2006. It’s a video that features the song Harlem Shake by some EDM artist called Baauer. The video, which is usually about 30 seconds long, starts off with a group of people who are seemingly unaware that there is a video being made and/or completely uninterested in what’s going on. One person, usually wearing a mask or helmet of some sort, is the only one who dances to the music for the first 15 seconds. Once the bass line drops, the last 15 seconds are filled with the rest of the group wearing insane costumes and dancing like crazy.

It’s stupid.

But recently I came across this Harlem Shake by the teachers at the high school Molly and I attended.

Watching this makes me feel a lot of feels. First of all, I can’t believe the teachers would agree to do something like this. Maybe it’s because I still feel like I’m 16, and adults of high authority shouldn’t be doing anything besides teaching or giving out detentions (or, as our school called it ‘Justice Under God’, or ‘JUGs’) but it also has to do with the fact that we went to a private Catholic high school. I mean not like there were nuns and priests lurking the halls with rulers, but in the sense that I just assumed a lot of them would be against it? (That’s what happens when you assume, folks.)

Second, I only recognize like maybe 10 of the people in the video, which makes sense because it’s been nine years since I’ve been in high school. !!! NINE YEARS?! Where did my youth go? Funnily enough, some of those teachers look exactly the same way I remember, so good for them. But also, it’s weird to see your old theology teacher dancing for an internet meme.

Third, I haven’t been back to that school since… probably 2005, and a lot has changed since then. There is a whole new wing, which includes a black box theater that I still am upset that we never got to use (long story short, there was a hold up and instead of it being finished our senior year, it finished after we graduated). Anyways, the large oval shapes on the walls in the back of the video used to be windows, but now they’re all covered up. I’m assuming it’s because of the new buildings, but I feel bad for all the kids who have to eat lunch in the cafeteria with no sense of the outside world. Thinking about the cafeteria also made me reminisce about the cliques during lunchtime. It was totally Mean Girls-esque. Well, maybe not as intense and segregated, but to the point where I sat at the theater table with the theater and band kids, and sometimes I would wander over to the black table, but never over to the cheerleaders, or jocks, or complete nerds. And now the cafeteria has become a closed off studio for the teachers to awkwardly dance.

So, thanks, AQ teachers for making me feel old. I aprpeciate it!

And if you are intrigued by this internet sensation, here are a few of my favorites. Luckily, they’re not that long, so you can go back to hating how old you’ve become.

The cast of Happy Endings (really, the only one that matters)

Ryan Seacrest, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, and the KISS morning show staff (Seacrest dancing is the best)

Cleveland Indians (Terry Francona, former manager of the Boston Red Sox, is probably my all-time favorite Red Sox ‘player’. And he shakes his butt in this.)