Forest Hills HS pulls plug on wild student video dance

TimesLedger File Photo
By Phil Corso

It was a real shake-up for one Forest Hills High School senior, who attempted to dance his class’ name onto the growing list of viral Harlem shakers taking over the Internet.

As part of the increasingly popular “Harlem Shake” phenomenon sweeping video websites such as YouTube, crowds have tried to outdo each other by posting their versions of the anything-goes dance craze to the artist Baauer’s song of the same name.

In Forest Hills, 17-year-old Arnis Mehmetaj tried organizing a shake of his own with help from his classmates, only to find himself on the wrong end of the groove. By the time word had spread throughout the school, Mehmetaj had actually tried to call off the dance, a school spokeswoman said.

But it was too late to stop the shake.

A large mass of high schoolers flooded the Forest Hills High School lobby around 9:30 a.m. Feb. 15 ready to roll, but school administrators pulled the plug on the party before the shake had begun, the school said.

The chaos led to Mehmetaj’s five-day suspension and arrest after school officials and police officers tried to disperse the crowd, the school and police said. According to the school, the high school senior initially received a serious shake of the administration’s finger when they stripped him of some student privileges.

The school has since rescinded the suspension, a spokeswoman said, but Mehmetaj will still have to appear in court to answer the desk ticket for disorderly conduct he received from the 112th Precinct.

One student at the school, who did not want to be named, said he was looking forward to getting into the video and did not believe Mehmetaj meant to offend anyone or put his classmates in danger.

“We have been seeing the video all over,” he said. “I thought it would be funny to make one of our own.”

Students in other city schools have already been successful in securing “Harlem Shake” fame. After a simple search, videos have already gone viral out of schools such as Stuyvesant High School, where students recorded their video on their indoor escalators. At the nearby Bronx Science High School, students also posted a video where they lost their collective minds amid the dance craze.

In each video, a seemingly stagnant and candid scene opens up the video before the song explodes into an electronic breakdown, sparking the eruption of a sporadic and insane flash mob of dance.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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