Category Archives: Twerking Dance

Kandy Paint Records Presents America’s Undercover: What Is Twerking? THE “TWERK” DANCE!


Twerking (/ˈtwɜrkɪŋ/) is a type of dancing in which the dancer, usually a woman, shakes her hips in an up-and-down bouncing motion, causing the dancer’s buttocks to shake, “wobble” and “bounce”.[1] According to Oxford Dictionaries, to twerk is “to dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low squatting stance”.[2]

The word twerking is of uncertain origin. Possibilities include a contraction of “footwork”, or a portmanteau of twist and jerk.[1]

According to the Global Language Monitor, “twerk” was the Top Teleword of the Year 2013.

Possible origins

Comparisons have been made with traditional African dances,[4] for instance the Mapouka from West Africa which was banned from Ivory Coast’s television due to its suggestive nature.[5] Twerking can carry both gendered and racialized connotations.[6] In the United States, twerking was introduced into hip-hop culture by way of the New Orleans bounce music scene. In 1993, DJ Jubilee recorded the dance tune “Do The Jubilee All” in which he chanted, “Twerk baby, twerk baby, twerk, twerk, twerk.”[7] The video for the song increased the popularity of twerking. In 1995 New Orleans-based rapper Cheeky Blakk recorded the song “Twerk Something!” a call-and-response dance song dedicated to twerking. In 1997 DJ Jubilee recorded “Get Ready, Ready” in which he encouraged listeners to “Twerk it!”.

In 2013, twerk was added to the Oxford Dictionary Online.[8] The dictionary said the word had been around for 20 years. The word was a runner-up in the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013.[9]

In US music

Twerking received recognition in national releases at least as early as the year 2000, when the Atlanta-based hip hop duo Ying Yang Twins, released their debut single “Whistle While You Twurk”, which received national airplay, peaking at #17 on the Hip Hop Chart and was further referenced in their 2002 follow-up release “Say I Yi Yi”, which prominently features the lyrics “She got her hands up on her knees and her elbows on her thighs, she like to twerk and that’s for certain I can tell that she fly”. On the 2005 hit single “Check on It”, as performed by Beyoncé, she sings “Dip it, pop it, twerk it, stop it, check on me tonight.”[10]

In 2006, a song titled “Pop, Lock & Drop It”, by St. Louis rapper Huey, reached No. 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Also in 2006, the hit single “Sexy Back”, by Justin Timberlake, featuring Timbaland, from the former’s second studio album Futuresex/Lovesounds, featured Timbaland rapping the lyrics “Let me see what you’re twerking with / Go ahead, be gone with it, Look at those hips”. In 2011, a group of female dancers who call themselves the Twerk Team and have posted many videos of themselves twerking on YouTube, were mentioned during the song “Round of Applause”, by Atlanta-based rapper Waka Flocka Flame, featuring Canadian rapper Drake, in the line “Bounce that ass, shake that ass like the Twerk Team”.[4]

The 2012 single “Bandz A Make Her Dance”, by Memphis-bred rapper Juicy J, contains the lyric “Start twerking when she hear her song”,[11] while French Montana of the Bronx, New York, questions the ability of a girl to twerk by asking “What you twerkin’ with,” in his respective 2012 single “Pop That”, featuring fellow rappers Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross.[12] The aforementioned songs, along with “Express Yourself” by Nicky Da B and Diplo, “Made twerking the most popular dance move since the Dougie”.[13]

In April 2013, Detroit rapper Danny Brown released a song titled “Express Yourself”, inspired by American music producer Diplo’s song of the same name. The song, produced by Boulder, Colorado-based producer Trampy, features a fast-paced electronic beat and is a composition about the popular dance craze twerking.[14] Brown dedicated the song “to all the ladies that like to turn up and have fun,” in which he raps “Toes on the wall and her ass in the air / And she twerk that thing like she ain’t have a care”.[15][16]

In 2013, 33 students from Scripps Ranch High School in San Diego, were suspended for using school equipment to make a twerking video on school grounds that was later uploaded to YouTube.[17][18]

In June 2013, veteran rapper Busta Rhymes of Brooklyn, New York, released a Jamaican dancehall-inspired single titled “Twerk It”. The song features Trinidadian-American rapper Nicki Minaj, who has been featured on several other “twerking songs”, including “Shakin’ It 4 Daddy” by Robin Thicke, “Dance (A$$)” by Big Sean and “Clappers” by Wale. Minaj can be seen twerking in all four of the aforementioned songs’ music videos. In August 2013, a song titled “Twerk”, by Young Money recording artist Lil Twist, featuring vocals from American pop singer Miley Cyrus and Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber, was leaked online.[19]

In August 2013, Juicy J has announced via Twitter, that he would give out a $50,000 scholarship for the girl who can twerk the best. The competition is inspired by the track “Scholarship” on his third album Stay Trippy, which contains the lyric “Keep twerking baby, might earn you a scholarship.”[20] Also in September, “Twerk” from the MTV VMA show was named the Top Television Word of the Year (Teleword) of the 2012-1013 TV season by the Global Language Monitor.”[21]

Youtube Twerk Videos:

Google Twerk Search: