Shiggy, the man who started the viral movement, poses with Drake, the artist responsible for its now-ubiquitous soundtrack "In My Feelings." (Image via Complex)

Chances are you’ve witnessed the #ShiggyChallenge firsthand, even if you don’t recognize its calling card. Scrolling through your Instagram feed, you’ve likely come across video after video of people dancing outside of their cars, with Drake’s “In My Feelings” blaring in the background.

Maybe you’ve thought about trying to learn those seemingly effortless dance moves yourself, potentially to no avail once you realize that, damn, those dancers are talented. Or, maybe you’re about to delete your Instagram account to escape this viral dance craze that’s sweeping the internet.

The #ShiggyChallenge began when comedian Shiggy took to the streets to freestyle to hit single “In My Feelings” off of Drake’s new “Scorpion” album. Shiggy says he chose the song at random, acting out those catchy lyrics and tracing a heart on his chest when Drake asks, “Keke, do you love me?” After he posted the video on his Instagram account @theshiggyshow, everyone immediately wanted to #DoTheShiggy with him.

So, the #ShiggyChallenge took off. Seeing cars whiz by Shiggy as he danced soon inspired others to take the challenge to a new level, jumping out of their moving vehicles just in time to catch the beat drop – embodying the feeling of when that one song starts bumping and you just can’t resist moving along with it.

Since the challenge went viral on social media, videos have surfaced of dancers breaking it down everywhere from parking lots to the side of the highway. Even actor Will Smith gave the challenge a shot, taking it to new heights – literally – as he climbed to the top of an arch over a bridge in Budapest to find his groove. Illegal? Probably. Epic? Most definitely.

Many other celebrities, from music and dance mogul Ciara to football player Odell Beckham Jr. and jack-of-all-trades (except hip hop) Ryan Seacrest, have recorded their own unique style of dancing to “In My Feelings,” showing how deep the viral challenge has permeated all different sub-genres of pop culture and the arts.

Like many other past dance challenges, Shiggy’s viral video and its popular following built the foundations for Drake’s “In My Feelings” to soar. The number of plays on Spotify for the song skyrocketed after its social media exposure, and Drake only continues to increase his listens as more and more dancers attempt the challenge and more and more pop music junkies add the hit to their playlists.

Drake expressed great thanks toward Shiggy for inadvertently helping him market his new track, gushing, “Oh my goodness. Man got me a No. 1 record today. Oh my God!” as the rapper recorded Shiggy dancing at a Los Angeles party following the release of the video.

Other artists have experienced similar phenomena following these dance crazes, like hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd’s single, “Black Beatles,” after the hugely popular #MannequinChallenge. Complex Magazine detailed the rising fame of other artists resulting from our culture’s obsession with dance fads and social media sharing. The article showed that the #ShiggyChallenge is simply the newest on a long list of viral dance trends.

Although the #ShiggyChallenge has inspired a multitude of impressive dance videos, a handful also show dancers losing their balance and missing the mark, having their feet swept out from under them as they hop out of their moving car and face the harsh reality of momentum — and asphalt. Maybe the challenge should have circulated with a warning – “Do not try this at home,” or more like “Do not try this on the road.” C’mon, people.

In a similar way, many previous dance trends have accumulated their fair share of criticism, which has led to these videos developed a bad rep. Many consider them overdone or overshared and grow annoyed seeing video after video as they scroll through their Instagram feed of another social media climber doing one of the “Fortnite” dances.

Yet, unlike other dance trends, such as the “Harlem Shake” or the #RunningManChallenge, where the main goal was all about location, location, location and over-the-top extravagance, the #ShiggyChallenge spotlights talent and creative movement, as it should. Therefore, many professional dancers are choosing to ditch the danger of roadside dancing and stick to the studio to showcase their unique twist on a viral trend.

For example, renowned choreographer Matt Steffanina and dancer Megan Batoon of the modern hip-hop/jazz funk world created their own version of Shiggy’s classic moves to “In My Feelings” to be taught at a master class hosted by Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles.

MDC, known for its A-list guest choreographers and master class attendees, began gaining quite the following via Instagram and YouTube after posting videos from their hip-hop classes, which showcased a variety of dancers and their incredible talents. Each video usually spotlights five or six different groups performing a combination taught during class and their own unique freestyle to a current hit.

For their choreographers to be picking up on the #ShiggyChallenge trend speaks to the rewarding value of its viral popularity, which has inspired dancers to work with tangible material to play with their craft and create their own vision while incorporating their personal flair into the basic movements.

With professional dancers comes their well-deserved artistic liberty, lending to some pretty unique renditions of Shiggy’s original choreo, such as Aliya Janell’s jaw-dropping 14 counts of twerking on her chin to Drake’s beat. It’s insane. Janell, creator of Queens N Lettos dance troupe, took the challenge in a completely different direction, proving that women really can do anything in heels. Find yourself wondering “How in the hell does her body move that way?” when you see her choreography, here.

So, maybe the #ShiggyChallenge should be rebranded the #ShiggyMovement, as it’s responsible for allowing budding dancers to break out of their shell and showcase their moves alongside the pros – as well as the one and only Shiggy himself.

But, the real question will be whether the #ShiggyChallenge will stand the true test of time as other viral dance crazes will soon follow suit and permeate the social media-sphere.

Writer Profile

Natalie Sonier

Wake Forest University
English, Psychology

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