Temple High School students are taking a national phenomenon and turning it into a school-wide competition. The Harlem Shake, an Internet sensation involving groups of people doing a unique dance, is the centerpiece of the contest, which will pit various student clubs against each other.
And the first entry in the contest happened in no place else but the media center.
“My mom works at Heard County Middle School and she told me her principal wanted the teachers to do it, so we decided to do one here and put it on the morning announcements,” said Sabrina Thompson, Temple High’s media specialist. “Normally the media center is supposed to be quiet, so I thought that would make our version funny and be a good place to start the fad here.”
Harlem Shake videos last just 30 seconds. In the first 15 seconds, one person dances while a group behind him or her sits quietly, apparently not noticing. In the last 15 seconds, the camera cuts to the entire group dancing wildly, usually with props.
It’s become a national phenomenon because of its short running time and the easy way the films are made. Often a new version can be recorded and posted in a span of five minutes. The Internet is awash with thousands of takes on the dance. An underwater Harlem Shake featuring the University of Georgia swimming and diving team has been watched nearly 30 million times.
At Temple, students in various groups, such as the Beta Club or the baseball team, will all make versions, with the winner being chosen in a few weeks.
For the schools’ first official version, sophomore Chuck George got the honor of dancing alone while the other students feigned studying behind him.
“I guess I’m the crazy one,” he said. “They chose me because of my moves.”
Directed by Kyhle Wilcher and Shaye McIntyre and filmed by Clayton Price, the rest of the students then joined in the Temple media center Harlem Shake.
Price filmed the video on his iPhone, utilizing Carroll County Schools’ bring your own technology initiative. A smart phone application edits the film and adds the background music automatically, and the students watched their finished creation before returning to class.
“Under the national common core curriculum you’re supposed to incorporate more technology, things like producing and creating videos,” said Thompson. “So the kids need to be able to do things like this. I think it’s great.”
Thompson admits the videos are a fad, but said it’s a fun fad.
For the students, it’s a way to compete with each other and make memories. A version featuring the entire senior class is in the works.
“Directing the videos is challenging, but fun,” said Wilcher. “It’s tough getting everyone to calm down, but fun to see all my friends act like goof balls.”