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Dancing Stormtrooper (a.k.a StormHumper) is a short video clip starring a Star Wars fan dressed as Imperial Stormtrooper and dancing to an acapella rendition of Johann Strauss’ waltz composition The Blue Danube. Since its debut on YouTube in March 2007, the clip has been viewed over 26 million times and generated over 100 response videos.
The earliest known instance of Dancing Stormtrooper appeared on Cookie Thievery on June 28th, 2004. The site showed a man fully geared in Stormtrooper armor doing the pelvic thrust over and over in loop to the Imperial March. On October 10th, 2004, YTMND user Xenetic posted an animated GIF of the original clip titled Stormtrooper Victory Dance, set to the background track of Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best Around,” which was originally on the Karate Kid soundtrack. Over the next year or two, the GIF animation became a popular YTMND site and spawned a modest number of derivative sites. During this time, the footage also earned the nickname “Stormhumper.”
According to KYM researcher nmcandrew:
After seeing this meme from it’s original state, I can tell you where it came from (the thrusting trooper at least). Every year, an Airsoft Skirmish site in England (Combat South http://combatsouth.co.uk/) has a New Years game and has it as fancy dress. One of the participating skirmishers this year was a chap from WASP team (http://wasp-team.co.uk/forum/index.php Notice the patch on his shoulder armour). Unfortunately this was many years ago and I can’t place all the names any more. What I do know is that the camera man was Andy “Silvafox” and the guy in costume was “Dutch.”
Anyway, the event gallery is here. And here is Dutch in all his glory. Take note of the white Ford Escort in the picture. Another image of Dutch showing the patch on his shoulder and the strapping on his left leg.
On March 13th, 2007, YouTuber Lazermatt took the GIF file and uploaded it in video format. Titled “Try to watch this without laughing or grinning", the video turned out to be an easy sell to millions of people who couldn’t resist but laugh instantly. With +38 million views, +200,000 comments and +270 response videos, it currently stands as the 52nd most discussed video of all time on YouTube (as of May 2011).
The following video, uploaded by KYM researcher Silva633, in 2009 is a longer version showing bits of who the Stormtrooper is as well as details of the shoot location.
I filmed this one sunday back in 2003 at Combat South airsoft site in Portsmouth, UK. In the suit is Steve ’ Dutch’ McGarry, one of the founders of the airsoft team I used to play for back in the days. I can’t remember what the occasion was but for some reason it was a fancy dress day, probably for charity or some such. In between games fellow team mate Jay (leaning on my car) and I took the opportunity to bark random and mostly obscene orders at Steve because hey, how often do you get have a real live stormtrooper dicking around for your amusement?
The 501st Legion
Of course, Star Wars fans around the world have been building their own Stormtrooper armor suits since the dawn of first Star Wars convention in the 90s. Being one of the most staple characters throughout George Lucas’ space epic, there’s even an international fan group dedicated to building and congregating in “screen-accurate replicas” of Stormtrooper armors known as the 501st Legion. Considering the sheer volume of Dancing Stormstrooper videos available on YouTube today, it’s quite possible that members of the 501st legion played a significant role in propagation of the meme.
On June 30th, 2007, Danny Choo, a Star Wars fan and culture blogger based in Japan, uploaded a YouTube clip of himself dancing in the middle of busy intersections, subways and sidewalks in Tokyo.
Having already made himself known as the guy who wanders downtown Tokyo in his Stromtrooper costume, the dance videos only fueled his popularity and quickly went viral on YouTube. Danny’s Tokyo adventures were then picked up by popular hubsites and blogs, including the official StarWars.com Blog, where it became the most popular entry on the site.
- Tokyo Stormtrooper in Shibuya:
- Seoul Stormtroopers feat. “Nobody” by Wonder Girls:
- Dancing Trooper feat. Peanut Butter Jelly Time
- Stormtrooper feat. Numa Numa (*):