Harlem Shake sweeps Athens

Thousands of teenagers flooded a park in central Athens on Saturday to take part in the first Greek version of the Harlem Shake, the latest viral video to hit the Internet.

The new dance craze appeared to have started with a posting by a vlogger and spread quickly, with more than 12,000 Harlem Shake videos posted and watched up to 44m times in the first two weeks of February, according to YouTube.

Local teenagers responded enthusiastically to the call put out on social media to create a massive Harlem Shake video in Athens and came armed with costumes, funny props and even smoke flares.

“I came here with all my friends to support the Greek Harlem Shake to have fun and laughs and whatever happens,” said 17-year-old Giorgos, who came dressed as an air hostess and clambered up onto the roof of the nearby train station and lit smoke flares with his friends.

Brothers Pavlos and Stefanos, who were dressed up as mustard and ketchup bottles, said they came to send a message to the world that the country is not just about strikes and protests.

“We want to send a message that here in Greece we’re not dead, and that the young people are here and present,” said 18-year-old Pavlos. “Yeah, we’re going to shake things up here today,” added 19-year-old Stefanos.

Young Greek comedian Jeremy who organized the event said that the aim was to create the Harlem Shake video with the most participants.

“We wanted it to be the biggest one yet, so we chose a very central location. We wanted it to have the Acropolis in the background, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible, but I think we managed to gather a lot of people,” said the 22-year-old Jeremy, who directed his fellow online comedian, Mikeius, in the video.

About 5000 people took part in the video which will be uploaded on Jeremy’s YouTube channel, according to organizers.

The Harlem Shake began as a dance in the 1980s but the latest version featured on the thousands of online videos is an electronic dance track by 23-year-old Brooklyn DJ Baauer who released the single last year.

The interest has also helped drive Baauer’s sales, with the single topping the iTunes America chart and coming in second in the iTunes UK and Australia lists last week. [Reuters]

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