Please note: For the duration of this post I shall be mostly referring to the general buttocks area as “ASS” rather than the correct Australian slang of “ARSE” because it somehow just seems more appropriate.
My mad awesome friend Jenny is currently doing pole dancing classes and while we were round her place for dinner a few weeks ago she suggested I go with her to a twerking workshop at the same studio, Burlesque Dolls Australia. I’d had a couple of glasses of very nice red wine, and red wine makes me go a bit funny, so I said sure! Why not? HAHAHAAA! And then before I knew it she’d booked us in on her smartphone right there at the table. Jenny does not muck around.
Left to my own devices I wouldn’t have tried this class, so I thank Jenny for getting me to do it because it was the most fun I’ve had working out EVER. In the lead up I was feeling a bit nervous and uncomfortable because I’m not an overtly sexual person and this would surely be a class for women who enjoyed dressing up and were sexy and outrageous. I have no inner outrage! We all got an email which included suggestions on attire – booty shorts, bustiers, fishnet tights, high heels…?! That’s not how I see myself at all, ever; I thought if I wore that stuff I would feel like I was trying to twerk in a Halloween costume. And dancing in heels? No freakin’ way. And then I decided I was being a wuss so I got some dance-friendly heels and some makeup, dug out my shortest of shorts and decided to have a bash.
It was a bloody muggy evening last Friday. I was a bit worried at the prospect of spending 2 hours in a stuffy little room sweating so profusely we could remake Rihanna’s Umbrella music video without using computer graphics.
But it was a good sized studio with TWO aircons blasting so no problem there. We were welcomed by Sarah and Mimi; Sarah runs the pole dancing classes and Mimi – aptly stagenamed Mimi La Bumba – was our dance instructor and has one of the most spectacular looking and acrobatic ASSES I’ve ever seen! We received a gift bag each, and amongst the goodies were a pair of sheer black blingy undies, fishnet stockings and what I first thought were nipple tassels, but were of course ASS tassels. Everyone had wisely chosen lycra hotpants or underwear, with quite a few fishnets thrown in, and I soon came to the realisation that my very short yet stiff cotton shorts wouldn’t cut it. Or rather they would; my bum, further in half, with all the squatting and gettin’ low. Surrounded by so many carefree and beautiful butts I was inspired, and surprised myself by deciding to ditch the shorts in favour of my new blingy undies (over existing black non-g-banger underwear) and even to wear the stockings. However they kept falling down after a few rounds and gave me the shits so I flung them.
We started with some easy warm-ups – the warm-up wasn’t just for muscles, as I started out feeling a bit self-conscious at all the wobbling and jiggling going on in the general ASS /legs/guts/ boobs area. After the first few ‘pops’ and hearing Mimi’s encouragement (your ass is supposed to clap, it’s a thing) the embarrassment faded and I was able to focus on workin’ it. Up to this point my previous dance experience was limited to school socials in the ‘80s and ‘90s, a brief nightclubbing phase in the twilight of last century, the odd barn dance and of course farting on my ballet teacher. I get hopelessly confused doing aerobics and constantly trip over in step classes (or would, if I hadn’t already given up on them) so I didn’t have very high expectations of myself. Nevertheless I love dancing and have been known to try to bust moves seen on rage, and I have some experience with (also bumcentric) Latin dancing where I did ok. So I thought I might muddle through, as long as I could see what the others were doing. And I did do okay – we all did great, thanks to Mimi’s patient and fun tutelage, and there were lots of laughs as the routine progressed.
One particular move Mimi explained as trying to flick your bum from your back around to the front of you. I thought okay I can do that, so long as it doesn’t stay there! She did a great job of breaking down each move and progressing us through the routine at a pace that was challenging, but not overly so. Here’s a selection of the steps we learned over the next couple of hours:
“Classic pop twerk” – how I intend to get up from the floor from now on. Seriously! It’s much easier on the knees. From a squat keep your head down low while you straighten your legs, then arch your head back and keep your back straight / chest out while you come fully upright. As I said, easy on the knees, so do yourself a favour and learn it now so you can keep using it until well after retirement.
“Floor booty pop” – the one where I’m quite happy to hump the floor, because I get to lie down.
“Back that thang up” –squat on your heels, then simultaneously force your knees apart, pop your ASS out as hard as you can and thrust your chest forward. Four times fast in a row. I thoroughly impressed myself by only falling on my face once.
“Asseling” – rhymes with ‘tasseling’. Mimi gave us a demonstration, bouncing each cheek separately, her love heart ASS tassels spinning. I stared, mesmerised.
I tried it too but my dumb ass merely clenched. It could’ve just been fatigue; by the time I completed this my first ever non-kiddy-ballet dance routine for the last time we’d been body rollin’, push turnin’, booty poppin’ and squattin’ for over 2 hours and my knees were twerking all by themselves.
And then we had a photo shoot, just when we’re at our scruffiest and doused in sweat, thanks for that Sarah!
We also freestyled while Sarah shot some promo video; a couple of girls were having a laugh twerking on all fours over someone on the floor, so we all jumped over and twerked on them too. It’ll be interesting to see what footage makes it onto the website…
If you ever got a girl crush on Beyonce for Crazy In Love, or marvelled at a Polynesian dancer’s madly gyrating bottom half -completely at odds with what their serene top half is doing – or witnessed a Samba dancer’s bum defying the laws of physics, you’ll get why twerking is so awesome. It might’ve only recently become well known, but it’s been around for ages…I’ve found records of twerking that go back further than 10BC! (That is, Before Cyrus.) I recalled Nick Cave (yes that Nick Cave, of all people!) made an ironic twerking music video for his single Bring It On back in 2003, but back then us white folk knew it only as ‘women shaking their ASSES’. More recently, just last November Lily Allen released Hard Out Here, and the video featured OTT twerking as a send up of the music industry, but in this one the girls are definitely in on the joke, and Allen pokes a bit of fun at herself as well. You can also catch it in pretty much every rap video ever made.
So twerking isn’t going away any time soon, despite what this hilarious article says about post-Cyrus twerking fallout. Heheeeheh. Twerking fallout.
Tips for a Great Twerkout:
1. Ensure legs and bikini line have been deforested. That goes without sayin’, but I’ll say it anyway.
2. Lycra and loose = GOOD. Denim, cotton and other non-stretchy materials = BAD.
It’s one helluva workout so go shorty short as in “I can see your breakfast” short so as to avoid long pants sticking to sweaty legs. Underwear as outerwear is encouraged, but
some many moves require going “gappy” so don’t go sheer!
3. Fishnets look fantastic, the ‘flaring’ kind is best as they let you wobble freely, and presumably allow better air circulation. They’re available along with a veritable Moulin Rouge full of burlesque fashion at BDA’s online store and website. I didn’t like the free stockings in my gift bag as a) the elastic first dug in and gave me muffin top thighs, and b) then kept rolling itself down to my knees like a roller blind, but I’m keen on the full fishnets for next time.
4. Twerking in heels is actually easier, even for me who only wears them about 5 times a year, but stick to a shoe and height you’re comfy in. Taking off shoes is allowed (you may cop a teensy bit of shit) but I found barefooted was harder as I stuck to the floor and couldn’t get a smooth glide going.
Like most bitches I’m not all that fond of my bum; it is so flat it’s almost concave. I don’t want to be a hollow-assed grandma, so I’m twerking on it now. I’ve been twerking in the pool, on the couch, in the shower, waiting for the kettle… also, the towel rail and the oven door handle come in handy when I want to back my thang up.
So why not give it a go? I mean really. What other fitness workout leaves you with a sense of satisfaction from feeling your ASS fat reverberating around your entire body? I’m definitely doing it again, and my linear but soon to be hopefully bootylicious ass will thank me.
P.S. This isn’t some kind of bullshitty infomercial blog post, I paid my $45 for 2 hours same as everyone else and honestly really enjoyed it, so wanted to give the girls a shoutout. Plus I scored sparkly undies and some ASS tassels! Bargain!
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