Ever since Miley Cyrus jerked her latex covered behind all over Robin Thicke dressed as Beetlejuice, the media has been abuzz with the concept of “Twerking.” Some people like it, some people think it’s the dance from the devil himself. But how is it different from other booty type dancing? Where did Twerking get its start? Can anyone Twerk? Let’s examine all that and more!
Question #1: What is Twerking and where did it come from?
Ms. Cyrus, as many have already deduced, did not in fact invent Twerking. While it may have its roots in some African dances, specifically the Mapouka, Twerking manifested in the early 90s out of the New Orleans-based bounce music scene, a hip-hop genre that focuses on call-and response vocals. The first recorded reference to Twerking was found in DJ Jubilee’s “Do the Jubilee All” where he encourages dancers to “Twerk baby.” It stayed as a bounce music idea for the rest of the 90s, being mentioned by Cheeky Blakk in ’95 and DJ Jubilee again in ’97. Finally after the turn of the Milennium Twerking began to hit the mainstream, and was mentioned throughout the first decade by noted artists like the Yin Yang Twins, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, and Wacka Flocka Flame. According to legend, Miley herself learned to Twerk in New Orleans, and once video of her popping those hips went viral, the rest is history.
Urban Dictionary’s most popular definition defines Twerking as “the act of moving/ shaking ones ass/buns/bottom/buttocks/bum-bum in a circular, up-and-down, and side-to-side motion.” The word possibly comes from a hybrid of the words “twist and jerk.”
Question #2: How Do I Twerk?
Now that we know what it looks like, thanks to Miley, and where it came from, how does one actually “Twerk it.” I will try to describe one way with words, but the best and most helpful way to learn is to watch our short instructional video. We made this video before the term twerking came into vogue. But you get the idea:
If it’s more helpful to you to see steps written out, you can try these simple instructions:
First, put your feet more than shoulder width apart and bend your knees. Make sure your feet are turned outward and your knees are over your toes. Also make sure your back is arched
To start, try placing your hands on your hip bones, thumbs at the back.
If you want your hips to thrust forward, you push your thumbs on your butt bone. Press your hips forward.
If you want your hips to thrust backward, pull your hips back with your front fingers. Thrust your hips backwards.
Once you have that motion down, you can squat down further, move your hands to your knees, or even go with no hands at all! Just go for it: backwards or forwards, or both alternating, to the beat. This is quite a workout for your whole lower body, and your core!
Question #3: Can I Twerk?
This seems to be a question that sparks much debate. There seems to be some people of the opinion out there that one needs a certain type of posterior in order to actually Twerk. Well, it is of the opinion of this reviewer and this website that anyone capable of using their lower limbs can therefore shake what their momma gave ya, regardless of size, shape, or nature of your behind. That said, Twerking is surprisingly physically trying, so those with lower back problems might want to take it easy for their first few attempts.
Question #4 Should I Twerk?
This can only be answered by looking deep inside yourself. Only by exploring within can one know if one holds the true Twerk spirit. Try having a couple cocktails and listening to some bouncy music, and you will find the answer: You’re a born Twerker, like all of us. As a famous Sith Lord once said, “Search your feelings. You know it to be true.”