Nelson does the Harlem Shake

JAMES GREENLAND
Last updated 07:44 21/02/2013
Harlem Shake
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Adele Louise Tunnicliff and Sean MacLean were two of the people behind Nelson's Harlem Shake video.

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A small crowd stared in wonder, while a teen in a tiger suit danced his heart out to techno music, inspiring 60-odd onlookers to jump up and join him.

Actually, the other people had planned to be there and join in the Harlem Shake flashmob street dance at the Trafalgar St Church Steps yesterday afternoon.

The Harlem Shake is one of the latest viral video sensations sweeping the internet.

Harlem Shake inspired videos, some of which are being watched by thousands of people around the world, usually feature the song "Harlem Shake" by electronic musician Baauer and consist of just two takes.

In the first, a costumed individual does the shake while people around them carry on as if oblivious.

The second take cuts to the whole group doing the shake dance, busting out whatever moves they feel at the time.

Adele Tunnicliff, 18, who organised the flashmob said she was always doing crazy stuff like this, organising Nelson's attempt at instant internet stardom.

"I'm really into drama and theatre, and I love flash mobs, they're the best thing in the world. They make people happy, you dance, and everyone gets to smile."

She said she lives to inspire. That combined with a desire to one-day star on the silver screen made her think, "Hey, we could do this on a big scale, Nelson style on the Church Steps."

Inspired by a previous, much smaller Harlem Shake directed by friends Louisa Devine and Sean MacLean, Ms Tunnicliff pitched the idea to the public.

She set up a public Facebook event and then enlisted the help of her former Nayland College drama teacher Lotus Hattersley who was more than keen to get involved.

Then she called local radio stations and the Nelson Mail. "It ended up getting bigger and bigger," she said.

In the end about 60 people turned up to dance, though many more stopped and stared from the sidelines.

"A lot of people from Nayland are here, but not everyone. A lot of the colleges are involved which is cool."

Ms Tunnicliff and her helpers went straight to the studio after the dance to edit their footage. Within a couple of hours, their creation was being viewed around, well Nelson, on Youtube.

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Ms Tunnifcliff is having a "gap-year" after finishing year 13 last year, but hoped organising the Harlem Shake might help her land a job.

"I have always wanted to be an actress," she said. "Ever since I was the age of two, and never wanted to be anything else."

Onlookers ultimately were left confused and amused and some even a little disturbed by the sudden eruption of music, dance, and general chaos at the top of Trafalgar St.

The internet viral video trend had not infected all people with a desperate need to dance and smile, though.

"Just ignore it, it will go away soon..." Nelson man Ryan Fouhy said.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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