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U of O students join the YouTube phenomenon and bust it on Parliament Hill

Adam Feibel | Fulcrum Staff

Photo by Justin Labelle

THINGS MAY NOT have gone exactly as planned, but the University of Ottawa found its place in the vast archive of viral YouTube sensations as students joined in on the popular Harlem Shake on Parliament Hill.

About 50 people (and one blow-up doll) gathered March 2 to break out their most uninhibited dance moves as others looked on in amusement and confusion. The video begins with the quintessential lone thruster—in this case garbed in camo pants and a never-not-funny horse mask—then cuts to a mass of squirming, stomping, and spazzing students in superhero costumes, hockey sweaters, and other eccentric wardrobe choices. Many simply sported the requisite garnet and grey—though the revered Gee-Gee must have had a prior commitment.

Taylor Robinson, the third-year criminology student responsible for all the ruckus, said the shake was overall a considerable success, though he had bigger plans in mind. Although he planned the event a couple of weeks after the fad hit its peak and fewer people showed up than expected, he called it a “worthwhile experience” nonetheless.

“It wasn’t completely what I expected,” said Robinson. “But it was still not a bad turnout.”

Things also went a little awry with the on-and-off involvement of executive members of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO). Robinson and SFUO vp social Jozef Spiteri had planned to bring some professional multi-camera action to the scene, but the idea eventually fell through. There was also brief talk about hosting the shake at Father & Sons restaurant on Osgoode Street right near campus, but Robinson was determined to go for the big show.

“What made it different was that it was at Parliament,” he said. “No other schools have that.”

He ended up enlisting first-year students David Pilat and Sheldon Lavelle to shoot and edit the video. Though a university-wide shake on the grounds of the federal government offered up some significant dance-craze potential that went unfulfilled, Robinson said those who did show up had a fun time.

“Honestly, it was just a matter of numbers who showed up to make the video,” he said. “The more the merrier, obviously.”


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