Harlem Shake to take over SMC

The Harlem Shake is officially coming to Santa Monica College during the Club Awareness Day on Thursday. The event will begin with a gathering in front of the library at 11:45 a.m. where students are invited to dance for half an hour, starting at noon.

The Harlem Shake phenomenon started when YouTube user TheSunnyCoastSkate, composed by five teenagers from Queensland, Australia, uploaded their video last month. Soon after, thousands of videos have been uploaded to YouTube, replicating the original version.

The videos are 30 seconds long and feature a part of Baauer’s 2012 single "Harlem Shake." The first 15 seconds of the video starts with one person dancing alone, often wearing a helmet or a mask, while surrounded by other people not paying attention. Once the song's bass drops, the video cuts to a large group of individuals dancing convulsively for another 15 seconds, often wearing funny outfits, crazy costumes or dressed minimally. The video ends with a roar of a lion.

Alejandro Días de la Torre, SMC student and creator of the Facebook event page for SMC's Harlem Shake, allowed students
to plan and organize the event. But the event caught the attention of Alex Abramoff, future AS alumni club president, when it was shared on SMC's official Facebook page.

SMC's Harlem Shake was supposed to take place on March 5, but Días de la Torre postponed the event because it would have been shut down if he did not get an official approval from the AS office, he said.

"I chose a time when there were no classes. A time that would not disturb the normal functioning of school, but then I went to the Associated Students office, following a friend’s [Abramoff's] advice, and I was told that anything we do on campus should be made official, or we get in trouble," Días de la Torre said.

Angie Vo, AS director of student activities, heard about the event from Abramoff, liked the idea, and decided to sponsor the event. Vo wants to show SMC students' pride for their school, and will have a banner that reads "Proud to be SMC," while inviting cheerleaders, athletes and the mascot to participate in the event.

"Students have to understand and follow the college’s rules and regulations to keep things in order and to inform everyone on what is going on," said Denya Hearn, SMC's dean of student life and judicial affairs.

"My role is to support students in what they want to do as long as it is positive, that it is not going to interrupt the learning environment, and that we’re following policies," said Hearn.

Días de la Torre said he hopes that the Harlem Shake event will encourage student unity, and break students out of the habit of leaving class without talking to each other.

"It sounds like a good outlet to get some energy out," Hearn said.