‘Harlem Shake’ video of Northwestern men’s swim team goes viral, removed

The Northwestern swim team released and later took down a video of several men’s swimmers dancing to the song “Harlem Shake.” The Harlem Shake dance has sparked several spin-offs.

Source: YouTube

The Northwestern swim team released and later took down a video of several men’s swimmers dancing to the song “Harlem Shake.” The Harlem Shake dance has sparked several spin-offs.

John Paschall, Reporter

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The Harlem Shake has found its way to Evanston — for a brief moment, at least.

The Northwestern men’s swimming and diving team released a video on Saturday of members of their team doing the Harlem Shake, a hip hop dance that involves shaking the torso and shoulders, that has recently gone viral across YouTube. The clip had more than 13,000 views before being taken down Monday evening.

“We just kind of threw it up online to pass around ourselves to just watch it and it started getting popular,” said swimmer Alex Ratajczyk, a Communication senior who helped make the video. “We did not expect it to become that viral.”

The website Swimswam.com, which covers high school, college and professional swimming, posted the video of the NU swimming and diving team dancing. Ratajczyk said he was told to remove the video because the athletic department was not happy with the way the swimmers in the video portrayed the program.

“We encourage our student-athletes to have fun and share their talents away from competition, like many will be doing Monday, Feb. 25, in Ryan Auditorium during the third annual Student-Athlete Talent Show to benefit (Dance Marathon’s primary beneficiary) the Danny Did Foundation, but there’s also a protocol for our teams to follow when making videos and we want to make sure that happens in this case,” said Doug Meffley, director of digital and social communications for University athletics.

Ratajczyk said he was watching some Harlem Shake videos with some teammates when they got the idea to try one themselves after practice. Before they knew it, they had thousands of hits.

The origins of the dance are unknown but the song used in all of the videos is Baauer’s “Harlem Shake.” Using this new genre of “trap” music, these 30-second videos usually consist of one masked person dancing around alone or with others with nobody noticing. Halfway through the video, a group of people joins the masked person in wild, outrageous dance moves. There have been numerous videos of the dance, ranging from people in an office to soldiers in the snow.

The Wildcats are not the only collegiate swim team to do a Harlem Shake dance video. University of Tennessee, Brandeis University and Pomona-Pitzer’s swimming teams are just a handful of collegiate squads who have posted a video of their athletes doing the dance. The emergence of swim teams doing the Harlem Shake has Swimswam.com started a Harlem Shake dance-off between schools, according to their official Twitter page.

NU is currently preparing for their final meet of the season at the Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, Ind., in a couple of weeks.

John Paschall 

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