Harlem Shake in BHS Library

By Tyler Friedman

The Harlem Shake came to Briarcliff during fifth period in the BHS library on March 1. Led and organized by seniors Dan Levine and Jamie Parmelee, the library was filled to capacity for students to observe and take part in a video style that is sweeping the nation.

Based off the song, “Harlem Shake” by American DJ and producer Baauer, the first 15 seconds of the video contained Levine, who dresses as the school mascot for sports events, dancing on top of a table. While he was wearing the head of the bear, everyone surrounding him was reading or studying in the peaceful library. Midway through, the song chants: “And do the Harlem Shake.” At this point, all participants in the video are dressed up in wild costumes and are dancing chaotically yet methodically. Photo by Jack Fischer

Senior Jack Yurch prepares to shoot video of the dancePhoto by Jack Fischer
Senior Jack Yurch prepares to shoot video of the dance
Photo by Jack Fischer

Levine also noted how the approval of librarian Mrs. Johanson was essential to this event. Regarding the occasion, Mrs. Johanson said that this was asked as a harmless and fun senior prank. She made all participants promise to make it a clean version, in regards to costumes as well as dancing, and she was very pleased that they lived up to their words. Mrs. Johanson referenced the library scene as “controlled chaos” and was glad that the entire production was kept within the allotted time.

Dan Levine dances on a table in a quiet library for the first 15 seconds of the videoPhoto by Jack Fischer
Dan Levine dances on a table in a quiet library for the first 15 seconds of the video
Photo by Jack Fischer

Both Mrs. Johanson and senior Jack Yurch, the videographer, were surprised to see so many people in the library, especially due to the many spectators. Yurch also joked that despite the challenge of putting the event together, it was “better than [writing] three essays.” On a more serious note, he added how it was “nice to see every grade cooperating,” referring to the underclassmen who participated in addition to the seniors. Levine alluded to the seamless inter-class participation by saying: “It was cool to see everyone come together.” Parmelee agreed that it was “a great way to get everyone together.” Overall, they reflected on Briarcliff’s “Harlem Shake” as a success.

Mrs. Johanson agreed as well. “All in all,” she said, “it was a creative and non-destructive way to have a senior prank.” Nevertheless, it did halt the peacefulness and calmness usually associated with the library. Mrs. Johanson added, “They won’t be doing that again…” And then playfully, “at least until next year.”

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