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The Boston Globe



‘Harlem shake’ videos highlight common humanity

For proof that people are the same everywhere, look no further than the “Harlem shake” YouTube craze. It started in Australia. A lone kid filmed himself performing the gyrating dance in a motorcycle helmet. His friends ignore him, until suddenly they too start gyrating wildly. That’s it. The clip is only 30 seconds long.

But it has been viewed more than 18 million times and sparked copycats globally: In Norway, a soldier in camouflage gyrates in military formation. In Iran, a man gyrates with a blue shirt over his face. The “Harlem Shake” has even been performed in flight: Colorado College’s ultimate Frisbee team staged the dance on a plane to San Diego. The effort sparked an FAA investigation, but clearly there’s no danger in what’s become a form of cross-cultural bonding.

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