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What is Twerking? Learn How To Twerk It!

Updated on May 8, 2013

Learn How To Twerk

Top Twerk Song List

What is Twerking?

In May of 2013, more than 2 dozen students at Scripps Ranch High School in San Diego were suspended for appearing in video footage doing a controversial dance called "twerking." The high school's administrators said they were suspending the students for violating the school's honor code since the twerking video was taped on the school's campus. So, what is this latest dance craze and why is it so controversial?

Let's first start out with some general history about twerking, including a definition of what twerking is. At the bottom of this page, I provided some guidance on how you can learn how to twerk.

What is Twerking and Where Did It Come From?

The twerking dance is believed to have been inspired by strip club culture in the southern part of the United States where women in strip clubs were rewarded with cash tips based on how fast and low they were able to gyrate or "twerk" their behinds and roll their hips suggestively. Within that context, twerking is a variation of the words "to work."

Although the dance has increased in popularity over the course of the past few years, the dance itself has been around for more than a decade. One of the first commercial representations of the dance can be seen in rapper Juvenile's video, Back That Thang Up in 1999. In the video for the song, women are seen bending low at the knees and shaking their bottoms fast and gyrating up and down.

In 2000, the Ying Yang twins released a song called "Whistle While You Twurk" in which they encourage women to "shake it like a salt shaker." And in Lil Jon's 2004 hit "Get Low", the Ying Yang Twins contributed the now infamous line "She getting crunk in the club.... I mean she work it....And I like to see the female twerking.”

Since then, numerous hip hop artists have released songs that encourage and pay homage to the dance. Rapper Juicy J's "Bandza Make Her Dance" includes the line "she start twerking when she hear her song." And in "Pop That" by French Montana featuring Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne, the dance gets a mention when Drake asks "What you twerking with?" In the video for Big Sean's hit "Dance" featuring Nicki Minaj, Minaj is shown doing the dance.

But, It's not just hip hop artists who are trying to cash in on the craze. Former Disney Channel star and singer, Miley Cyrus released a video of herself twerking wearking a unicorn onesie illustrating that the dance has officially crossed over to the mainstream.

The Official Twerk Team Elevates Twerking

But, surprisingly enough, it wasn't these mentions that helped the dance receive the notoriety it is currently experiencing. The rise in popularity of the dance and even the increase in mentions in hip hop can be credited in large part to the Twerk Team.

The Twerk Team is an Atlanta based duo and dance team formed in 2005 who began posting videos of themselves twerking. Though they had been performing at high schools for several years, it was their YouTube videos that garnered them attention and helped start the twerking craze on a larger scale. The twerking sensation became viral in 2009 after the #TwerkTeam posted the following video (see below) of them twerking to the song "You Got Donk" by Soulja Boy. Within a week, the full length version of this shorter video racked up more than a million views:

The Official Twerk Team "She Got A Donk"

The Official Twerk Team Inspires others

After going viral, the Official Twerk Team began creating more videos. They have also appeared in numerous music videos for hip hop artists ranging from “Drop It Low” by Ester Dean ft. Chris Brown, “Twerk Dat” by 36 Mafia, “Round Of Applause” by Waka Flaka Flame ft. Drake, and “House Party” by Meek Mill.

They now release a video just about every week that shows the duo dancing to a new popular song. Inspired by the attention and popularity the Official Twerk team has achieved, numerous other Twerk teams have emerged and have posted their videos on YouTube as well.

Are You Ready To Learn How To Twerk?

Now that you know a bit about the history of twerking, are you ready to try it out and see if you can do it, too?

"Learn how to twerk" videos have now been popping up all over YouTube, promising viewers that they, too, can learn how to twerk. The more popular videos have garnered more than 4 million views and the Official Twerk Team mentioned above now releases new videos weekly that show the duo twerking to new songs. New Twerk teams are popping up on YouTube every day showing their renditions of Twerking. If you are interested in learning how to twerk, I have included one of the more popular YouTube demonstrations below.

If you're looking to practice after you watch, I included a short list of songs that are twerk-friendly at the top upper right portion of this article!

Learn How To Twerk

Twerking Poll

Do you think the high school students should have been suspended for tweaking?

See results

Comments

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    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 

      5 years ago from New York

      mediagyrl,

      I've seen "twerking" for a long time now, but I didn't know there was an official name for it, nor did I know the story or news behind it. Honestly, I truly enjoyed this hub, I found it quite enjoyable. Was that video of the girls twerking in FAST FORWARD? Gosh, I don't think I can move that fast!!! ... The girl in the pink shorts could've picked her wedgies a little less, that was a little bit of a distraction :-)

      I think this kind of dancing is fine for clubs with adults, but I think it's pushing it doing at school dances, especially when butt cheeks are hanging out. There is a big difference between shaking your butt when you're dancing and gyrating to the point of looking like you're having sex in the air. It's just toooo suggestive for school age kids, especially at school. This isn't my criticism on your article... your article couldn't have been better, in fact, I voted it up and interesting, it's my contribution to the discussion. Great job, I'll be looking for the latest dance craze! :-)

    • Mediagyrl profile imageAUTHOR

      Mediagyrl 

      5 years ago

      You make some great points, Paul. If I had kids, I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable if they were doing this dance. It's certainly equal parts suggestive and controversial!

      Thanks for sharing and voting on it!

      --MediaGyrl

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      5 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      mediagyrl,

      Having lived in Thailand for the past 6 years, this hub has been very educational for me. I never heard of "Twerking" until reading this hub. Maybe I'm too conservative, but I feel after viewing the video that this dance is too sexually suggestive. I can understand why the students were suspended for twerking. I teach at an all-girls Catholic school in Thailand. The girls like hip hop dances, but I certainly hope I never see any of my students practicing "twerking." Voted up as interesting and sharing with followers.

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