Last updated on October 23, 2017 

What Twerking is all about?

The twerking concept is not new. The reality of the matter is that this provocative dance was present in the black culture across the globe. Media is only playing catch up at this point. There are very many renditions of twerking, but the constant factor about it is its provocative and sexualizing characteristic. This dance is not exclusive to a particular sex. Twerking is a form of sexy dance that involves hip thrusting and squatting. Some people refer to it as shaking the booty. Below is a brief look at this dance style with the aim of shedding some light to its origin and the factors surrounding it. Check out this link to find a twerking dance class near you and start dancing today!

The Most Famous Twerking Video

The crown for the most famous twerking video goes to Lexy Panterra. It got more than 90.5 Million views on Youtube sincie 2015 and the number keeps growing. This is a freestyle dance to Major Lazer & DJ Snake song “Lean On”.

Now, aren’t you exited to learn more about this incredible dance?

History of Twerking:

When it was invented?

Most people have no idea where twerking traces its origin. The 2013 MTV VMA Music Awards will go done in history as the year that made twerk dance go viral. This was when Miley Cyrus performed it with famous singer Robin Thicke on stage. Nevertheless, this it dates back further than this.

Where it came from?

Twerking originates from Afro-Diaspora and African traditions. This is evident in its similarity with the Mapouka dance of Cote d’Ivoire also known as, “La Dance Du Fessier” (dance of the behind). This African celebratory dance involved the use of great skill and the isolation of muscles in the body. Mapouka was believed to lead to encounters with God and help in choosing out life partners for young adults in the community.

How was it created?

The modern version of this dance focuses greatly on the choosing of mates, which is courtesy of the Western attitude inculcated in it. This led to the Mapouka dancers being chased out of countries like Ivory Coast, Niger, and even Togo. The locals view it as a dance that has lost its essential meaning and has made the holy dance obscene. However, despite the ban, this dance had already sporadically spread to the coast of West Africa and the United States, specifically New Orleans’, which was a haven for bounce music.

Why is it called “Twerking”?

The name “twerk” comes from the early 1990s in New Orleans’. A famous artist at the time, DJ Jubilee, coined this term by the release of the video to his hit single “Do the Jubilee all”. This video featured dancer shaking their backside as the lyrics said: “….twerk baby, twerk, twerk…”.The New Orleans’ inhabitants used this dancing style as a party dance. Many people have taken up twerking ever since because of its sexual provocative nature and fitness benefits.

Here is a short 2 minute video from Oxigen Media telling us about evolution of this dance style and its main public figures. Those of you willing to learn the details, keep reading…

The 3 Main Styles of Twerking

Every era has a new dance, and it seems that twerking is specific to the current era. There are various ways of doing this booty dance:

  • Twerking with hands on the ground – Just as the name suggests, the dancer twerk with their hands on the ground. The legs should be separated and parallel to each other. This lowers the center of gravity and prevents the dancer from tipping over while dancing. The hands are firmly placed on the ground and if this is not possible, the fingertips should at least be in contact with the ground. The dancer then proceeds to pop their booty to the beats of the music with the legs straightened. Alternatively, the dancer could wiggle their booty while in this position.
  • The wall twerk – This is a more advanced form of twerking that requires balance and upper body strength. The dancer stands some few feet from the wall, with their back facing the wall. The dancer then proceeds to have a firm grip on the floor and stretches their legs away from the floor to the wall. The hands provide the balance and therefore need to be slightly away from each other to provide a firm base. The booty elevates and the weight shifts to the legs. The dancer then proceeds to shake their booty. Knees are in a bent position.
  • The squat and shake twerk – This style involves the incorporation of both squatting and shaking. The dancer gets into a mild squatting position with posterior outwards, and chest pushed outwards. Some people prefer stabilizing their bodies by placing their hands on the top of their knees. Proceed by pushing and popping the booty outward and upward. The dancer then shakes their booty to the pace of the beat, and in whichever direction they prefer.

The Most Famous Dancers

Since the media is playing catch up when it comes to this dance style, the society depends on it to know who has expertise on it. This means that the famous expert twerk dancers do not date as far back as the dance does. Because of its provocative nature and its use of the booty, female dancer dominates this dancing style.

Most famous female twerkers:

  • Rihanna – This famous Grammy award winner is a performer and a singer. Her rise to stardom did not come about because of this dance. Nevertheless, she is regarded as one of the best twerk dancers of all time. Some people credit this to her Caribbean roots. Some of her performances and music videos incorporate this dance.
  • Miley Cyrus – Cyrus brought the dance to the entertainment mainstream. This singer and actor provocatively danced with co-singer, Robin Thicke, during the MTV VMA awards in 2013. This brought more attention to twerking as a dance.
  • Amber Rose – Miss Rose is a woman of many traits. She is a dancer, model, fashion designer and even artist. She first taped herself twerking in her wedding dress, before she wedded her ex-husband Wiz Khalifa. After that, she posted twerk videos in various social media platforms and officially became a twerk dancing specialist and sensation.
  • The Twerk Team – This team consists of two female dancers, namely Lady Luscious and Miss Twerksum. These sisters formed their team in 2005 at Atlanta, Georgia. They achieved stardom when they posted a few of their twerking videos on the internet. Currently, hip-hop musicians contract with them to dance in their music videos.
  • Lexy Panterra aka Alexis Liela Afshar – Professional dancer, singer and the founder of LexTwerkOut. As of today she has over 1.7 Million followers on Instagram.
  • Fraules, aka Elena Yatkina – Founder of Fraules Dance Center in Novosibirsk. Her twerking videos are considered to be Siberia’s greatest export. Yes, they are actually that great!

Most famous male twerkers:

Male twerkers are rare, but the few that are in existence share with their audience on various social media platforms, such as Instagram. They include Brett Bretters and Reece Pewitt, among many others. These dancers make a difference by showing to the public that this provocative dance is not solely restricted to the female species.

Which Music Fits With This Dance Style?

Twerk music:

The provocative nature of this dance requires a beat that has more bass than treble. This resembles the neuter of songs in the African traditional culture. This includes slow provocative beats. Therefore, with regard to the available genres of music in existence, it is safe to say this dance blends well with music such as RnB, Hip Hop, Afro-fusion, and Caribbean-based music.

Basics of Twerk Dance

To accomplish the twerk dance, the dancer requires two basics, which are squatting and shaking the posterior. The twerk styles may differ but these two are the main constant in all these dances. The squatting position in reference is similar to that of working out. The shaking booty basic is flexible to how the dancer wants to move. The dancer could either increase or decrease the movement of the dance, or he or she could opt for wiggling their booty.

Advice for Beginners:

Grasping these basics helps in further advanced techniques. For those opting to learn to twerk professionally, then indulging in fitness would help the situation. This is because this dance is quite vigorous and uses up many of the body’s muscles especially with regard to the lower back and the lower body. Some fitness centers opt to use it as part of a group exercise routine.

Interesting Facts

Twerking as a dance has grown and penetrated the social media and entertainment industry. With regard to its basics, quite a few dances are similar to it especially with relation to its provocative nature such as rumba salsa, and the bachata, among others. These dancing styles may not involve the shaking or movement of the posterior as twerking does, but they definitely exude the same level of sexiness. Below are a few fun and interesting facts about twerking.

  • It is included in the Oxford dictionary as of 2013.
  • DJ Greg James twerked for a period of an hour and eight minutes consistently, which was recorded in the Guinness world records as the longest twerk on 3oth September 2014.
  • Twerking provides amazing results with regard to fitness, but it also can cause severe back pain. This is because twerking has adverse effects with reaction to distorting the back posture. The distortion leads to stiffness, spasms and muscle pulling.
  • The highest number of people twerking at ago was four hundred and six. This was in a New Orleans’, Louisiana festival on 15 November 2014. The festival at issue was the Big Freedia and Central City Festival.