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Flash mob performs Harlem Shake on Public Square in Hagerstown

February 13, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Flash mob participants do the Harlem Shake on Public Square in downtown Hagerstown Wednesday afternoon.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

If you found yourself scratching your head Wednesday afternoon wondering why dozens of people were flailing about in Public Square, don’t feel so bad.

Hagerstown resident Brandon Shirley, who was responsible for the act, said he had only found out about the Harlem Shake dance craze 48 hours earlier.

Harlem Shake, a dance that is performed to a song by the same name, is characterized by one person who starts dancing while others remain still.

Then everyone begins to dance, thrusting their hips, doing backward flips, wiggling around on top of furniture - seemingly doing what ever comes natural.

The dances are usually videotaped and are posted on the Internet.

A USA Today story online Wednesday quoted YouTube trends manager Kevin Allocca, who said 12,000 Harlem Shake videos have been posted this month and they have been watched close to 44 million times.

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Shirley, who is a waiter at Barefoot Bernie’s on Dual Highway, said he decided to do a Harlem Shake on Public Square on Wednesday afternoon. “Why not? What else is there to do around here?”

Shirley created a Facebook page to announce the dance, not knowing how many people might show up.

More than 50 people showed up in Public Square at 4 p.m., which took Shirley by surprise. Many of the dancers were from the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.

The crowd was told to divide into two groups and to then casually walk into the square.

Everyone walked around for a while to the song, which Shirley played on a portable stereo, then they started dancing.

The person that starts the dance is sometimes masked, and some people in Public Square were dressed up, including one person a bunny costume and another who was wearing a helmet and using the Maryland state flag as a cape.

Shirley said he planned to have a videotaped recording of the dance posted on the Internet later Wednesday.

Teresa Roberts, lead teacher for visual arts at Barbara Ingram, said the school’s students were encourage to participate.

“We want our kids to be on the cutting edge of things when they get to college,” Roberts said.

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