Home Featured Post The Evolution of Twerking: A Trend 20 Years in the Making

The Evolution of Twerking: A Trend 20 Years in the Making

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Twerking – noun. dance move that involves a person shaking their hips and bottom in a bouncy up and down motion, causing it to shake, ‘wobble’ and ‘jiggle.’ To “twerk” means to “dance in a sexually suggestive twisting fashion.”

A dance move known as twerking has quickly replaced the Harlem Shake and taken over the media. Though its history is rather short, twerking has only recently taken off in the public eye.

The act of twerking was introduced to the hip-hop culture in 1993 in the New Orleans bounce scene. DJ Jubilee recorded a dance track “Do the Jubilee All” which contained the lyric “twerk baby, twerk baby, twerk, twerk, twerk”. Two years later, another New Orleans-based rapper, Cheeky Blakk, recorded a track dedicated to the rising dance craze called “Get Ready!” where he encouraged listeners to “twerk it”. Apart from New Orleans, twerking stayed within the strip clubs and dances scenes of Atlanta and Houston. It wasn’t until 2011 that twerking began is ascent into the widespread dance phenomenon that is is today.

Twerking made its reappearance when Waka Waka Flame and Drake paid tribute to the original twerkers, the Twerk Team, in “Round of Applause”. Artists, like Diplo, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross, have been incorporating the dance craze into their lyrics and performances. Even pop princess, Miley Cyrus, is using twerking to promote her newest video.

During one of Juicy J’s concert at the House of Blues in LA, the 20-year-old former Disney star took to the stage to show off her booty popping during the song “Bandz A Maker Her Dance”. Miley has long been a fan of the dance craze and in March posted a video twerking in a unicorn onesie to her Twitter account. Miley is now collecting videos of fans twerking to add to her latest music video. Fans, or general lovers of the twerk craze, can submit their videos via her Facebook page.

As typical with most new crazes, not everyone seems to be on board the twerking phenomenon. Earlier this year, 33 students at Scripps Ranch High School in San Diego were suspended for creating a twerking video and posting it on the internet.  The school stated that the video violated their zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy.

But even while twerking is facing criticism from parents and authority figures, it’s slowly becoming an enterprise in its own right. The Atlanta-based Twerk Team went from posting highly sucessful YouTube videos to selling out shows for twerking performances and have created their own clothing line. Even amateur twerkers are trying to cash in on the success of the Twerk Team, charging anywhere from $1500-$3500 to create promotional twerking videos for artists while dance clubs across America are hosting Twerk Contests with cash pries.

While twerking has certainly come a long way from its New Orleans beginning, if it remains the same as it basically has over the past twenty years, I believe twerking will eventually die down and take its place as an iconice dance craze,, like the Twist, of this generation.

Mackenzie is an Alabama native attending NYU and studying Journalism and Dramatic Literature. She hopes to one day live in London and write for the BBC.