Twerkology 101: How I Learned To Twerk In 3-Minutes
True life: I’m naturally rhythmless. Unlike most gays in the club, I don’t turn into Ciara when I hit the dance floor. There is no back bending, squatting, or even trying to make my derrière clap. I’ve tried and failed, often causing myself and anyone I decide to back it up against embarrassment. It’s quite sad, really. Most gays and girls expect you to turn into a Cirque de Soleil performer when a Juicy J song comes on at a party.
Instead, I resemble a discombobulate Sims character flailing my arms in the air.. All that’s missing is an emerald diamond above my head. I’ve been doing this since I was 11, at my first middle school dance, and at 26 it’s intolerable. I refuse to close out my 20’s not knowing how to do a dance trend well.
A few days ago, I was trolling Facebook and saw a status with a video attached that a fellow blogger friend of mine posted. The status read: “This video is SO ratchet, but I learned to twerk in 3 minutes!” Twerk? In three minutes? No way! The exclamation point at the end of her status sold me. Can my rhythmically-challenged self learn this dance? Will I be able to “twerk” successfully after viewing this?
To clarify, twerking is the shaking of the hips and bottom in a twist/ jerk like fashion. Although, there’s no clear origin on how twerking came about, in 2005, a pair of young African American women from Atlanta, GA, uploaded videos on Youtube, “twerking” to popular hip-hop and down south club music. The women were dubbed the “Twerk Team” for their expert knowledge of the dance.
In recent years, “twerking” has started a cult following and even is name-dropped in a few club hits. On the 2011 song, “Round of Applause,” ATL rapper Waka Flocka Flame and Drake solicit a woman to “bounce that ass, shake that ass like the Twerk Team In a more subtle way, rapper French Montana asks “what you twerkin’ with?” on his hit, “Pop That.” Fellow ATL rapper, Lady (real name Shameka Brown) provides a female perspective to twerking in her song, aptly titled “Twerk.” With lyrics such as “he like it when I make that ass vibrate (twerk),” Lady uses the power of her twerk to command the boys in her yard, or in this case, the dance floor. Furthermore, she drops the word a whopping 75 times in the song.
It has even trickled down to modern slanguage. For example, I use the word “twerk” in every day vernacular, aside from its gyrating connotation. I use it as a verb: “Naw, I’m not twerking with that. (Translation: I’m not going to do that. It doesn’t sit well with me). Or as an adjective, “She’s walking twerkingly!” (Translation: There’s an extra pep in her step!) In many cases, I use it as a noun and say simply: “I’m going to twerk tonight!” (Translation: I’m going to have a good time this evening).
Back to the video: It’s not at all that ratchet. It’s actually very professional and sleek-looking. Produced by Howcast, the online source for how-to videos, choreographer and instructor TweetBoogie teaches the art of twerk much like a kindergarten teacher teaching addition and subtraction to willing five-year-olds. It looks easy and seems possible.
She narrates as she gets into various positions, i.e. how to motion the hips with fingertips, pressing into the pelvis going front and back (something I didn’t know) and the importance of arching the back in a squat formation – to achieve a good twerk. After three minutes and some change, you’ve accomplished basic twerk technicalities.
Although, I’m still a novice at the dance, the how-to video has unleashed my inner twerk dragon. I now feel comfortable doing the dance around friends or at a small party and not feel like some sort of animatronic at Epcot gone awry. Give and take a couple more public practices and maybe a few shots of Jim Beam, I may feel confident to twerk all night next time I’m at a club or whenever I hear Lady’s “Twerk”.