Hampster Dance

Hampster Dance

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Updated Feb 18, 2014 at 09:56PM EST by Brad.

Added Mar 15, 2009 at 01:12PM EDT by medusanyc.

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About

Hampster Dance is one of the earliest single-serving sites, featuring rows of dancing hamster GIFs set to a sped-up sample of the song “Whistle Stop” by Roger Miller. The site became popular in the late 90s through e-mail, blogs and bait & switch pranks.

Origin

The original Hampster Dance website was created by Canadian Deidre LaCarte, an art student at the time, during a competition between her best friend and sister to see who could generate the most web traffic.[20] Using the web hosting service GeoCities[19], LaCarte created an homage to her pet hamster, Hampton, featuring 392 animated hamster sprites doing different dances[1] in August 1998. She paired the GIFs with a 9-second WAV file that contained a sped-up sample from the song “Whistle Stop”[2] by Roger Miller, written for the 1973 Disney cartoon Robin Hood.[3] Though the original site is now gone, mirrors were put up by WebHamster[1] in February 1999 and educator Lee Sonko[19] in 2002.



Spread

The Hampster Dance site began spreading through e-mail and newsgroups, with little mention before 1999. That January, hamsterdance.com and hampsterdance.com were sold to NuttySites, a company unrelated to LaCarte. She proceeded to register hamsterdance2.com, notifying[22] viewers that the other domains were unrelated to her and the original page. In August 1999, webzine GettingIt[24] published one of the earliest articles about the site, where it was revealed Hampster Dance only saw 800 visits its in first seven months online. LaCarte told the webzine that over the course of 4 days in March 1999, the site acquired nearly 60,000 new hits. Three months later, it broke 17 million views.

In April 1999, the Hampster Dance song was sampled by the dance group The Cuban Boys for their song “Cognoscenti vs. Intelligentsia.” This brought even greater attention to the site after it was released as a single in December 1999, followed by feautures on the BBC[24], GettingIt[25] and the UK Independent.[26] The song hit #4 on the UK Radio Charts.[27]



In 2000, the site was featured in a commercial[23] for internet service provider EarthLink. In April of that year, the site was receiving 200,000 visits per day.[28] Over the next decade, Hampster Dance was featured on many internet culture blogs including Stuff That Was Cool[29], CNet[30] and Cracked.[31] In 2006, the first YTMND[14] homage to the site was created. The fad also spawned some other merchandise including clothes and toys, which are sold on the official site.[12] In 2002, LaCarte sold all of the Hampster Dance rights to Abatis, Inc.[34]

Music Charts

The song was released as a single in Canada, paired with trance music. Known as “The ‘Official’ Hampster Dance Song,” it peaked on #32 on the Canadian top 40 in 2000. The following year, another version was released in Australia, where it reached #5 on the national singles chart.[33]



Derivative Sites

Soon, many other internet users attempted to imitate the Hampster Dance. However, many of these websites were hosted on the now-defunct web hosting services GeoCities[4] and AngelFire[5]. However, a few still exist, including: “The Funky Pez Dance of Love”[6], “The Cool Dance !!!”[7], “The Pig Dance”[8], “The Matchstick Dance”[9], “The Jesus Dance”.[10] In 2000, LaCarte contacted several parody sites in effort to get them to remove parodies that put a negative spin on Hampster Dance, including the Satanic Hamster Dance[35] (shown below) and The Girlie Dance[36], a collection of dancing women dressed provocatively.



Additionally, videos using the song and sometimes animations similar to the dance moves from the original Hampster Dance have appeared on both YouTube[37] and Nico Nico Douga.[15][16]




Search Interest



External References

[1]The Hampster Dance: Internet Archive (no sound)/Mirror

[2]Wikipedia – Robin Hood (1973 film) # Soundtrack

[3]Wikipedia – Robin Hood (1973 film)

[4]Yahoo! GeoCities: Get a web site with easy-to-use site building tools.

[5]Angelfire: Welcome to Angelfire

[6]The Funky Pez Dance of Love

[7]The Cool Dance !!!

[8]The Pig Dance

[9]Match-Stick-Arena

[10]The Jesus Dance

[11]Wikipedia – Australian Recording Industry Association

[12]Hampsterdance.com – The Official Online Home of Hampton and the Hampsters!

[13]YouTube – Hampton the Hamster “The Hamsterdance Song” (Official)

[14]YTMNDHampster Dance ! / Posted on 2004-05-19

[15]Nico Nico Douga – 霊夢と魔理沙に着ぐるみ着せて行進させてみた / Posted on 01-20-2009 (Registration required)

[16]Nico Nico Douga – Search results for 着ぐるみ行進シリーズ

[17]Google Trends – Search results for hampster dance, hampsterdance

[18]Lee.org – Hampster Dance Mirror

[19]Wikipedia – GeoCities

[20]WIkipedia – Hampster Dance

[21]GettingIt – Hamsterdance Fever

[22]hamsterdance2.com – Hampster Tears (archive)

[23]YouTube – Hampton the Hamster “Hampsterdance Earthlink Promo”

[24]BBCSinging hamsters threaten Sir Cliff

[25]GettingIt – Hamster Dance Enhanced

[26]The Independent – Yodelling hamster tries to knock St Cliff off pedestal as Christmas No 1

[27]WIkipedia – Cognoscenti vs. Intelligentsia

[28]Salon – The HampsterDance comeback

[29]Stuff That Was Cool – Geocities finest: The Hampster Dance!

[30]CNet – Top Ten Web Fads

[31]Cracked – The 9 Most Obnoxious Memes to Ever Escape the Web

[32]Canada Collections – Hampster Dance at #32

[33]Wikipedia – Hampster Dance | Charts and Sales

[34]Business Insider – Deidre LaCarte Steenman

[35]Greymatter – Lawsuit

[36]The Girlie Dance

[37]YouTube – Search results for “hampster dance”

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