A new viral dance craze called the Harlem Shake has found its way to Richmond’s campus, and the ice hockey team and the Rowdies jumped at the chance to take part in it.
The Harlem Shake is a dance move performed to the song of the same name by the electronic musician Baauer, said junior Josh Grice, the vice president of marketing for the Richmond Rowdies. Viral videos of the dance usually show a single person dancing alone for 15 seconds, and as the beat of the song drops, the video suddenly cuts to a group of people dancing wildly. Some versions include nudity, others include crazy costumes, but each 30-second video has the same basic idea, Grice said.
Richmond ice hockey’s video has garnered the most attention, with more than 50,000 views on YouTube and a mention on Puck Daddy, a popular hockey blog run through Yahoo, which also featured the video on its front page earlier this week. “I usually read that kind of stuff,” said senior Matt Burns, captain of the ice hockey team, “and that’s a pretty prominent hockey blog in general. A bunch of people texted me and were like, ‘Why are you on the front page of Yahoo right now?’ That was definitely the coolest part.”
The hockey players had no idea the video would get so popular. “We just thought it was going to be us watching it like 20 times, and that’s it,” Burns said. The players sent it to their friends and Richmond hockey alumni, and eventually it gained more attention, he said.
Burns said his teammate, senior Finn McCarthy, had thought of the idea for the video. It was something the senior players wanted to do to boost the team’s morale, Burns said. The team had a rough season this year, and with this weekend being its last in regular season, it wanted to do something fun to get pumped, he said.
They threw together a list of things they wanted to include in the video and brought some weird props, and at the end of practice on Feb. 13, the team filmed its video, Burns said. The first 15 seconds shows a huddle around one of their coaches, while a lone player dances in the background, and then cuts to the team dancing around, many of the players nearly naked. “It was extremely cold,” Burns said.
Despite the video being a mostly spur-of-the-moment production, Burns does hope it helps out the team, he said. “It’d be nice if more people were aware of it [Richmond ice hockey],” he said. “It’s always nice to play in front of people you know. And hopefully high school kids will see it and want to come play here and see that it’s a good club to be a part of.”
The Richmond Rowdies also filmed versions of the Harlem Shake, one in the Robins Center and another in Boatwright Memorial Library, Grice said. Grice came up with the idea for the Rowdies to do their own versions and created an event on Facebook to make it happen, said senior Casey Glick, president of the Rowdies. With the help of all the Rowdies members, 1,200 people were invited, but only 30 people were able to make it to the actual video shoots. “I realized afterward that it was better to have a smaller number, so you could see exactly what people were doing,” Grice said, referencing the videos done by
bigger universities with thousands of participants. “It made it more personal.”
On Feb. 14, the group gathered at the Robins Center to film. The Rowdies provided two sumo wrestler costumes and the WebstUR mascot uniform, and participants brought the rest of the costumes seen in the videos, Grice said. They looped the song on the speakers in the Robins Center and danced for about 30 minutes to get the footage and then moved on to the group study section on the first floor of the library, he said.
The Rowdies are hoping to bring attention to the university with their videos. It’s good publicity for anyone who might be thinking of coming to Richmond, Glick said. “They can see that, even though we are a smaller student body, there are people who are really into sports,” he said. They also hope to promote school spirit at sporting events. “We want to increase the rowdiness of our student section so it’s not just about showing up to games,” Grice said. “That’s the next step for us.”
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