To mark its 10th anniversary, YouTube has released a playlist of some of the site's most popular dance videos from the past decade.
Are you ready for an archeological dig of your meanderings among Gangnam-stylers, dubsteppers, flashmobbers and assorted ordinary dudes with a soundtrack? One of the latter helped propel the success of dance on YouTube: Judson Laipply, whose "Evolution of Dance" was once the most-watched video on the site. Strikingly simple and low-tech-just Judson in his jeans, with six minutes of song excerpts-it's still being watched almost 1,000 hours a day, according to YouTube.
That's nothing compared with the 40,000 videos a day reportedly uploaded to the site during the peak of the Harlem Shake craze in 2013. That resulted in an estimated 2.3 million clips of bouncy, half-minute routines to the hypnotic beat. In total, YouTube reports, viewers have uploaded more than 24 million dance-related clips over the past 10 years.
In the case of the Harlem Shake, dance was a spectacular engine of success, if you define that by ranking on music charts. The song by Brooklyn producer Baauer that accompanied the wildly popular dance videos hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
But I find it difficult to watch one of the clips of that craze today with anything close to my original interest. I'd sooner forget them. Dubstepper Marquese Scott is another matter. He remains one of my favorites, a man who all on his own can seem to warp your visual field, stop time, command physics. No jump cuts here; he's simply skilled, inventive and surprisingly graceful with his easy nonchalance.
Another favorite is the JK Wedding Entrance Dance, which still makes me tap my toes and tear up a little. It just gets to me, seeing those beefy Minnesotan ushers in their suits, knees like pistons and hips like Beyonce's, doing the Dougie down the aisle. (Queen Bey's "Single Ladies" is also on the list, naturally.) Perhaps some of the other videos somewhere in the vast YouTube archives of dance do something similar for you. That's the remarkable thing about the best of these dance clips. They connect us with what we experience all too seldom: the joy of living.
Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post