Most internet challenges start as simple trends to get views on social media. What starts off as a dare becomes the next big thing that can get anyone Facebook famous. The latest viral dance sensation has everyone getting out of their seats and firing up their live feeds.
Dance crazes from the 1980s were all the rage. One of the easiest and most notable dances was the running man. People were sliding their feet front to back while switching leg positions, and pumping their arms in front of them as if they were lifting weights giving the illusion that you’re running. That old school move is back with a twist as the running man challenge is the internet’s latest buzz.
Ending last summers trend “Whip and Nae Nae,” more teens are joining the bandwagon of doing the dance. Quintell Redmond, a senior at North Grand High School, said he found out about the craze from his Facebook account. Even though he didn’t go viral himself, he says it’s something fun to do.
“Trends like these are fun because they make people look funny. I personally like to do it for fun, but like other things it won’t be around that long,” Redmond said.
He said what makes the dance funny is that it happens during random parts during their school day. Other students including freshman Diamani Woods, 14, said she likes to dance. The running man along with past trends add to her list of dance skills.
“I like the running man, but I love doing the D-Low shuffle because these dances keep you active. It amazes me how it catches on so fast though,” Woods said.
Although the craze is all over the internet, adults make the argument that this is not the running man they’re familiar with. Dance teacher at North Grand Jenna Avers, 27, said it sparked a lot of interest in her students, but it is totally different from what she remembers.
“The old school version was an actual step that was created around the evolution of hip-hop dancing. The newer one is much simpler, and I believe they made it easier for people to promote the trend that way,” Avers said.
She said that she keeps up with the trends thanks to her classes because they bring freshness to their routines. Other adults say yes it is catchy, but it’s something that bugs them because it isn’t true to the original.
“As far as the running man challenge, it is fun to watch but it drives me crazy simply because they’re doing it wrong, but this thing can last from two months to two years,” said Sherise McDaniel, 36.
The dance, performed to the 1996 song “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJ’s, was created by Kevin Vincent and Jerry Hall from Hillside, New Jersey, but became viral by University of Maryland basketball players Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley. The twist consists of people holding their fist by their chest doing a shaking motion with your one leg behind the other while bouncing from one foot to the next. The craze has been performed by hundreds of people and celebrities including Stephen Curry, Chris Brown, and Drake.
Vincent and Hall recently appeared on the Ellen Show to explain how the trend started, and like most teen trends, it started in the classroom. Even with the hype surrounding the dance, some teens didn’t know it was the latest thing. Cesar Nevarez, 19, said that it’s still new to him, but he feels left behind because he’s still doing older versions.
“I think it is something some athletes do when they score, but I don’t know what it is. I am still doing the dab, because a football player started it, so unless I see them doing it I don’t know about it,” Nevarez said.
The teens who started the challenge mentioned in a vine video that they want credit for making the dance popular. The real credit however goes to its original creator Paula Abdul, who later introduced it to Janet Jackson, and was lastly used by MC Hammer.
The running man challenge and other dance trends like it help make the summer fun. This dance also help resurrect past crazes as some vine stars mixed it with other dances like the dab and footworking.
Thanks to the trend the single “My Boo,” now 20 years old, has made its way back to the Billboard top 100 charts at number 26, surpassing its 1996 position at 31. The song also received 35,000 downloads and a No. 8 position on the R&B charts. It makes sense why the running man challenge will be a summer dance craze seeing “My Boo” was the No. 2 anthem for the summer of 1996. According to MTV, the Ghost Town DJs didn’t know their track was featured in the dance, but in less than 24 hours it flooded their social media.
These dances seem to serve as time machines that puts today’s teens in their parents footsteps. There is still argument between millennials and adults on what the running man is and how it should be done. Some can argue that today’s generation is lazy enough to take a simple move and water it down even more, but it also help bridge the gap between the two generations. The last time an old dance was resurrected was in 2001 when the Harlem shake, originally created in 1981, was used in music videos, and later made another comeback with a twist in 2012.
Until the next trend arrives, when you hear “At night, I think of you…” you won’t have a choice but to get up off your seat and let people know that “the game is on and your love is strong.”
“This trend and more like them help promote positivity and bring people together. Something different than the ordinary stuff we see every time,” Avers said.