Cirque du Twerk

It seems that more and more often, I'm reminded I am no longer young. My latest moment of truth happened a week ago as I was browsing some news sites and came across the headline "33 Students Suspended for Twerking at School."

Perplexed, I turned to my husband and asked the question that would make me officially uncool: "What's twerking?"

He just looked at me and laughed. Then he told me to Google it.

According to Wikipedia, twerking is "a dance move that involves a person shaking their hips and bottom in a bouncy up and down motion, causing it to shake, wobble and jiggle." (Alternately, a twerk is also an Italian sauce made with herbs and oils, though I don't think that's the definition we're referring to here.) I had seen the term pop up before, but I guess I'm part of the group of people older than 25 who thought it meant tweeting while working. Good thing I never blurted out something like, "I twerk all the time during long meetings."

The students were from San Diego's Scripps Ranch High School and had filmed a video of themselves, um, gyrating their posteriors on campus grounds during school hours. Apparently, this violates the school's zero-tolerance sexual-harassment policy, which prohibits "verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature made by someone from or in the educational setting." Now, the young bum-thumpers may be banned from going to prom and walking at graduation. Yikes. What would the kids on Footloose—I mean, Glee—do?

I watched the video and was instantly mesmerized. Seeing leggings-clad girls shake what their mamas gave them while doing handstands made me a little bit sad about my untalented pancake-ass.

Still curious, here's what else I learned about twerking:

• It's nothing new. Twerking entered hip-hop culture by way of the New Orleans bounce music scene. In his 1993 hit "Do the Jubilee All," DJ Jubilee chanted, "Twerk baby, twerk baby, twerk, twerk, twerk."

• In Australia, twerk was one of the most-Googled words in 2012, mate.

• Some tout twerking as a great form of cardio, as it tones not only your butt, but also your legs, hips and waist. Maybe it'll be the new Zumba.

I feel so enlightened. So hip. So young.

But still, stay off my lawn.


Follow me on Twitter: @michellewoo.


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