D is for Dance: #10YearsofYouTube

May 05, 2015

So you think you can dance? Apparently so do countless YouTube fans around the world who’ve uploaded more than 24 million dance-related clips in the last ten years. And while some might be a bit more graceful than others, these twerkers, shakers, flashmobbers, b-boys and ballerinas can have some serious, serious moves.

Since launching 10 years ago, YouTube has been the internet’s go-to place for dance fanatics and aficionados alike. For proof, look no further than the now classic 2006 video Evolution of Dance. The one time most-viewed video on YouTube has earned more than 291 million views to date, and is still being watched almost 1000 hours a day, on average, nearly 9 years later. And given the way dance has evolved on YouTube in the years since, it might be time for another sequel. Series like Where The Hell is Matt? -- which to date has been viewed more than 48 million times in more than 200 countries and territories -- have helped make the world feel like a much smaller place, while mesmerizing dancers like Marques Scott have propelled once niche dance communities into the forefront of our cultural zeitgeist.

Dancing on YouTube has even transformed the way some of us express love, with dramatic proposals and in-depth wedding dance routines making endless headlines while clocking in hundreds of years of watchtime. We’ve seen epic dance routines from the likes of Psy, Maddie Zeggler and Kiesza launch careers and witnessed a twerking phenomenon that nearly broke the internet.

And then of course, there’s the Harlem Shake, which at its peak brought in almost 40,000 videos a day to YouTube, nearly topped Google search trends in 2013 and pushed an artist with no previous chart history to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. All things told, the estimated 2.3 million Harlem Shake clips have driven more than 4.7 billion YouTube views. To put things in perspective, there was a two month span where “Harlem Shake” had more trending search interest on YouTube than the word “Dance.” Let that sink (or shake) in for a minute...

If history has taught us one thing, the next 10 years of YouTube are guaranteed to be filled with an endless evolution of new dance trends. Until then, here’s just a small taste of what we’ve seen so far.

-- Kevin Meenan