Why are we dancing?
Dance is a primary expression that connects -almost instinctively- with the emotions. It has manifested itself in the human being since ancient times and has evolved to the rhythm of the times. In tribal organizations, dance was part of the rituals for survival, such as hunting, rain or fertility.
Twerking consists of a movement directed by the pelvis in which the hips move forward and backward, towards the sides, forming circles and infinite combinations. It is practiced in many positions and at different levels, in general, with the knees bent and stretched to execute some steps. To do it correctly, it requires activating the pelvis to make a continuous rotation from anteversion to retroversion while, at the same time, relaxing the buttocks.
Its followers list several advantages that would derive from its regular practice: less painful menstruations (because the movements relax the uterus), improvement in intimate relations and even orgasms, relief of lower back pain and improved posture, strengthening of the pelvic muscles.
Is it a provocative dance?
There are many people who think that Twerking is a dance that is performed to seduce, however, many of the people who dance Twerking comment that they understand the strong cultural content of this dance and how good they feel about their bodies
Today female sexuality is still a big business with old interests of all kinds rooted in it. The objectification by the gaze of the other is still more common than perceiving women as masters of their own sexuality, which is why it is so difficult for us to dismantle this discourse
What is the link between Afro dances and Twerking?
The movements involved in twerking show similarities to several traditional West African dances, especially Mapouka, from the Ivory Coast.
It can be said that Twerking is indirectly linked to African cultural dance.
Like many cultural traditions or expressive dances associated with marginalized groups, it has been stigmatized in various ways.
Through the mixing of cultures, twerk has become involved with various rhythms such as soca or calypso, music from regions such as the West Indies like Trinidad and Tobago or Guyana.
With the emergence of the reggaeton in Latin America, specifically in Puerto Rico, the Twerk, became involved with it and began to know steps such as perreo or sandungueo, where the movements of hips and pelvis are marked, like the twerk.
The Bump Dance
The bump is a type of dance introduced in 1970. Two partners bump their hips against each other to the rhythm of the song. Sometimes the dance can be more suggestive, with the dancer bumping her hips against the dancer’s crotch area. For this reason, the bump is often thought to be the precursor to some erotic-type dances
The Mapouka Dance
Mapouka (also called macouka) is a traditional dance from the Dabou area in southeastern Côte d’Ivoire that originated with the Aizi, Akan and Avikam peoples. It is also called “la danse du fessier” or “the dance of the tail”.
The dance is usually performed by women, who move their buttocks from side to side, while turning their backs to the audience, often with their torso turned forward. Some people attribute the origin of the international popular dance Perreo to Mapouka dance, although some argue that the correct historical origin is the bump dance.
In the 1980s, some artists in Côte d’Ivoire tried unsuccessfully to popularize it after observing the popularity of the bump dance in the United States. One of the best known groups is Tueuses de Mapouka. In 1998, the Ivorian government banned this dance from being performed in public. After the ban, the dance quickly became very popular, especially in countries south of the Sahara and western nations with large French-speaking communities.
The dance is similar to what is called “shimmies” in belly dancing. The fundamental difference is that in belly dancing it is performed while the dancer stands upright and facing the audience, while Mapouka is often danced with the torso bent forward and the dancer showing her buttocks to the audience. However, the hip movement is similar in both cases.
Risks of “decontextualizing” a dance
When a country practices a form of dance with which it has no relationship of origin, instead of honoring its heritage, they often end up commercializing it and turning it into another vehicle of patriarchy and its powerful sex industry.
This can be seen in some twerk viral videos where they only show young women with stereotyped bodies, moving to the rhythm of derogatory and violent songs. These videos are not a correct representation of this dance culture, since these dances are born in the streets