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Viral sensation

A Christmas video created by Marshall native and a friend hits YouTube in a big way

December 24, 2011
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

It started off innocently enough, just a funny Christmas video for family and friends.

Then it turned into a YouTube phenomenon, getting notice from around the world.

Zac Hammer, who was a student at Southwest School of Dance several years ago, and fellow dancer Alex Karigan have become a YouTube sensation of sorts with a one-take dance video they made to Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" as a holiday greeting to their families and friends. The video has almost 480,000 views.

Hammer and Karigan met at Southwest Methodist University in Dallas, Texas several years ago, where they were both dance students. The two have remained friends and live in New York City.

Hammer said he and Karigan usually create a video to a Christmas song they'd post on Facebook in lieu of a Christmas card for friends and family. This year they decided to put the video on YouTube.

"It just kind of blew up," Hammer said.

The video was actually a fifth installment of Christmas videos Hammer and Karigan have done. In the past, the two have performed routines to "Snow" from the movie "White Christmas," to "Silver Bells."

"I don't know (how it took off)," Hammer said. "We've just been sitting here shaking our heads."

The routine to "All I Want For Christmas" only took a few nights to create, Hammer said, as he and Karigan would choose dance moves to certain parts of the song that "made them laugh."

Usually, the dance videos they do are edited, Hammer said, but this one was shot in one take before it was posted.

"That's how it was put together," he said.

The dancing duo did a live question and answer session with the Washington Post last weekend and the Huffington Post also did an article on the viral video.

"This one just happened to go places," Hammer said in the Washington Post video session.

Both Hammer and Karigan are self-proclaimed "Christmas freaks" who love the holidays. Hammer said that he's always loved the Mariah Carey song.

"It just resonates around this time of the year," Hammer said.

Hammer said the comments on the video have been both positive and negative. They've heard from a soldier in Afghanistan who said the video had put him the holiday spirit and 9-year-old twins who did their own take on the video.

"We've gotten mixed stuff," Hammer said about the comments he and Karigan have gotten on the video. "There are people who love or hate it."

Mainly, Hammer said, he and Karigan just wanted people to have a laugh at the video they made.

"I think we're accomplishing that," Hammer said.

Hammer said the buzz the video has gotten

"It's been a fun little ride, completely unexpected," Hammer said.

Hammer said the fervor on the video has quieted down a bit in the last week.

"The momentum has been slowing down," Hammer said. "Both of us are glad it's settling down."



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