Why Twerking

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People often have a negative reaction when I advise them I am the Creator of “The Twerk Out Work Out” and it’s often because they have no knowledge of what the dance form is and the positive qualities it can have on the human physic. I lived in Miami for about 4 years. During that time, I took part in many different fitness activities. My last few months there, I look a “Hip Hop” class at 24 Hour Fitness. Not knowing what to expect but looking for a new physical challenge I attended. This class was a BEAST! There was plenty of squatting, kicks and abdominal work, but I also learned how to do popular dances in Miami like “the booty bounce”, how to clap my butt, my thighs, the “Woo Tang” and many other dance moves that I was too timid and/or intimidated to even attempt previously. Along with this knowledge, I also loved how toned my body was becoming. My posture changed. Because I was able to isolate my butt through control movements, I grew to understand I could control my life and a new me was born. A few months into taking this class, I had to relocate to Las Vegas and I was on a mission to find a fitness environment that provided me with the same skills I developed in Miami. To my surprise, there was none, so I birthed the idea of me instructing a twerk themed class.

I began going to different gyms and using creative marketing to reach out to different people to make them aware of this new class. To my surprise, many people weren’t interested. Either they were scared by the idea of what the class offered or they confused the structure of my class with me challenging them personally and their ability to do this dance. I refused to let this idea die, so I did research on what people liked in Las Vegas, and why. Zumba was/is the preferred dance fitness class out here. When I looked at the elements of Zumba, I see it’s the hybrid of Hispanic cultural dance moves accompanied with fitness moves taught to Spanish themed music. The Twerk Out Work Out has a similar format where I teach body isolation and body control learned via twerking coupled with the conditioning and toning elements provided via working out taught to crunk/snap/ragae music.

It is very important that we discuss the definition of twerking. According to me, twerking is a physical movement that requires controlled full body movement but specifically, the gluteal muscles, lower back, pelvis and abdomen. According to the oxford dictionary, twerking is defined as “Dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements in a low, squatting stance.” There is a huge difference in our definitions. A visual for my definition would be seen in “Twerk Team” videos, or any Beyonce video. The visual for Oxfords definition would be Miley Cyrus in this past MTV Awards. Now, before I’m misunderstood, I love Miley’s love for this art! However, I do hope, wish and pray she invests time and attention to the specifics that is the craft of twerking. 1st off, if you thrust your hips in a squat position, the only thing moving is your shoulders. That is NOT twerking. The engine that controls most of the movement is the lower back, just above the glute/butt. Your butt is the largest muscle in your body, but also the weakest because you only use it for sitting. It takes concentration and control to get used to making your lower back pop back and forth!

There are many physical benefits for why twerking is a great option for working out. 1st there is a significant amount of squatting required which tones quads and glutes to perfection. 2nd This is an element of dance, which helps to realign your spine, resulting in better posture. 3rd Some twerk moves require arm movements which tone the triceps and biceps. 4th While twerking you will ALWAYS work at least 2 major muscle group which will provide physical results quicker. 5th Some movements require engagement of the deltoids and the biceps. 6th ALL of the movements require core engagement. This helps with strengthen your core. This area of your body houses all the major organs. Beyond giving you the ability to control your health and your physical structure, you are also able to have fun and dance. It’s surprising how much these elements improve the mental and emotional health as well, which creates a healthier you, inside and out.

We know that exercising will contribute to our health, but did you know that music and dance offer unique benefits as well? Let’s explore. Studies have shown that music distracts you from the pain your experiencing, heightens your mood, increases endurance and flexibility. It’s referred to as “a type of legal performance-enhancing drug” says Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in London. Dancing can increase your brainpower, improve your outlook, extend your social circle and protect your most important organs.

Now let’s address the sexual side of twerking. Twerking has been known to make many uncomfortable because the body parts are bumping, dropping, gyrating, wiggling and giggling. I can’t add anything to these discomforts. Do you realize every element of dance; from ballroom dancing to twerking require at least one of these movements? Have you ever thought your discomfort is stemmed from your inability to effectively perform these moves? If that’s the case, technique is EVERYTHING! I focus on twerking technique while combining conditioning and toning. I set a fitness tone. My students are experts with the functions and control of their body. If you don’t have a twerk themed class near you, Google it and teach yourself. This is far more difficult because there you are your own teacher and you could accrue injuries, but it’s worth a try. Many dances require the woman to lead with her hips, which produces movement in the butt, but it’s up to the person to add a sexual connotation to the movements. Sensuality and sexuality are not the same.

If you are in the Las Vegas area and are interested in taking part in the “Twerk Out Work Out”, my name is Angela M Mattox. I teach at Chuch Minker Rec Center 3 days a week, Tuesday from 5-6pm, Thursday from 4-5pm and Saturday from 11-12pm. The address is 275 N. Mojave Ave, Las Vegas, NV. 89101 I also do private parties. Feel free to contact me for additional information. My contact information is listed on the bottom. #KeepTwerkAlive


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