A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 14, 2013
Harlem Shake (2001 dance)

The Harlem Shake, according to an 2003 interview by Inside Hoops by a man named “Al B” who developed his drunken shake in 1981 and performed it at the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic at Rucker Park. This version has not been confirmed by printed evidence.

The Harlem Shake was popularized in 2002, when it was performed in the videos “Let’s Get It” by G-Dep (choreographed by Laurieann Gibson) and “Who’s That Girl?” by Eve. The Harlem Shake’s dance moves were explained in 2004 in the Bboy.org Forum.

The Harlem Shake shouldn’t be confused with the Harlem Shuffle, a 1963 R&B song by Bob & Earl. The Harlem Shake is also different than tha Harlem Shake (2013 video versions).


Wikipedia: Halem shake (dance)
The Harlem shake, originally called the albee in Harlem, is a dance that started in 1981. The dance became mainstream in 2001 when G. Dep featured the Harlem shake in his music video Let’s Get It. It has its history from an Northeast African dance called “Eskista” and was allegedly started in Harlem by a man named Al B.

History
The Harlem Shake is a dance that originally began in Harlem, New York. Since its beginnings it has spread to other urban areas and became popular in music videos. The announcers at the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic at Rucker Park claim that the modern day Harlem Shake was started by a man by the name of “Al B” (nickname Sisqo or Cisco). Al B was an alcoholic who would perform the dance upon request. Because of its founder, the dance was originally called the “albee” in Rucker and Harlem, but then later became known as the Harlem Shake.

Al B is quoted saying that the dance is “a drunken shake anyway, it’s an alcoholic shake, but it’s fantastic, everybody appreciates it.” He said it comes from the Ancient Egyptians and describes it as what the mummies used to do. Because they were all wrapped up they couldn’t really move, all they could do was shake. Harlem Shake is based on an Ethiopian dance called the Eskista.

Google Books
July 2001, Vibe, pg. 58, col. 2:
Is the dance the Harlem Shake seen first in Eve’s video “Who’s That Girl” getting on our nerves?

MTV
Aug 20 2001 6:26 PM EDT 878
P. Diddy, D12 Tape Performances For Source Awards
Bad Boy Family, Eminem’s crew blow into Miami to film segments for Hip-Hop Music Awards.

By Shaheem Reid
(...)
After more than two hours, Diddy was ready to perform. He started with “Ride With Me,” featuring Eightball and MJG, then brought on the Bad Boy Family for “Bad Boy for Life,” complete with a little kid doing the Harlem Shake.

MTV
Oct 9 2001 7:53 AM EDT 1,392
G. Dep Delivers Harlem Shake In New Video
Puff Daddy protégé films ‘Special Delivery’ in Queens;
Child of the Ghetto hitting stores in November.
By Shaheem Reid
NEW YORK — In G. Dep’s “Special Delivery” video, which filmed here last weekend, Dep and his Bad Boy labelmates act as a delivery service not unlike Federal Express.
(...)
Although they’re too young to drink, three teenage boys are the shoot’s highlight. As in “Let’s Get It,” the video in which Dep made his debut, all eyes are on the Harlem Shake.

As a camera hovers overhead to capture their fluid movements, the boys are seemingly boneless as they shake it up, walking on heels and toes to dance a variation of the Twist.

Google Books
The Spirit of Harlem:
A Portrait of America’s Most Exciting Neighborhood

By Craig Marberry and Michael Cunningham
New York, NY: Doubleday, 2003
Pg. 156:
Suddenly, the music stopped and an amplified voice announced a Harlem Shake contest. Seemed to me that there were a lot of underaged kids in the club, but they were the ones who knew how to do the Harlem Shake.

Urban Dictionary
harlem shake
A shake introduced to harlem thanks to yoan in the 60s.
Did ya see her dance? That was the harlem shake! HEIL YOAN!
by Yoan Feb 1, 2003

Urban Dictionary
harlem shake
to get loose and shake the upper bodyusing more of the waist.
look at the kids in Eve and G-dep videos they do it they just put more action and role play into it to make it look good especially the freezes.
by Harl-em-sha-keh Apr 18, 2003

InsideHoops.com
Inventor of Harlem Shake Interview
By InsideHoops.com | Aug 13, 2003
The Harlem Shake is a dance that started in Harlem, New York, and spread to other urban areas, made it’s way into rap videos, and has spread around the world. As the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic at Rucker Park announcers will tell you, a man who goes by the name “Al B” and the nickname Sisqo began the modern day version of the Harlem Shake, yet while he gets his praise in Harlem, the rest of the world has no idea.

InsideHoops.com is giving the Harlem Shake man his due. What was originally called the “albee”—in Rucker and Harlem—came to be known as the Harlem Shake. InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner met with AL B for an exclusive interview. This is the Harlem Shake founder’s first interview ever with a national media source. Get ready for a wild ride.

Bboy.org Forum
PopLock&Rock
12-04-2004, 11:00 PM
(...)
Harlem shake guide

Practice this first
1. Put your left shoulder forward then bring it back
2. Put your right shoulder forward then bring it back
easy right??

Actully shake
1. Stand with your feet shoulder length apart
2. Let your arms hand loose in front of you(relaxed)
3. do the practice routine but when you do it cross that arm in front of you so it would be: left shoulder and left arm to right hip and vise versa
4. the catchy part is between each arm extension you have to the shoulders bythemselfs.

Finish Product

Left shoulder
right shoulder
left shoulder and arm
right shoulder and arm
repeat

Urban Dictionary
harlem shake
An eccentric upper body dance move that involves the shaking of the upper torso and shoulders. The Harlem Shake originated on 125th and Lexington where gang bangers would shoot unsuspecting cripples with crutches. The staggering fall of these cripples created a signature move, adapted by gang-affiliates and introduced at local parties. Upon witnessing the newly created “Harlem Shake,” a corporate thug under the Bad Boy Entertainment payroll reenacted and sold this dance to famous choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson who introduced this dance with the video premier “Let’s Get It” by P. Diddy featuring G-Dep and Black Rob. The phenomenon sweeping white neighborhoods and Italian nightclubs across the country was born… the Harlem Shake.
(...)
by The Geet Mar 10, 2008

Rap Basement
The Harlem Shake
Posted: April 8, 2008
(...)
HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF THE HARLEM SHAKE
The Harlem shake’s modern background goes back to the year 2001, with dancers called shakers, such as Dirty Kirk and M5. The shake has nothing to do with the chicken noodle soup, and although they both come from Harlem, one did not evolve from another.

The dance has similarities to an Ethiopian (Abyssinian) dance called Eskista. The political, cultural and religious link between Harlem and Abyssinia go back over 200 years, that included the formation of the Abyssinian Baptist Church – one of the oldest African American churches.

YouTube
G Dep-Let’s Get It
Dezerin3
Uploaded on Mar 3, 2009
The Saga Continues....

YouTube
Eve - Who’s That Girl?
EveVEVO
Uploaded on Jun 16, 2009
Music video by Eve performing Who’s That Girl?. (C) 2001 Ruff Ryders/Interscope Records

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theater • Thursday, February 14, 2013 • Permalink