Twerk Tips From The Queen of Bounce Big Freedia

posted by Laura Baker-Finch on April 03, 2014

Photos by Marjana Jaidi

The Oxford Dictionary defines twerk (twərk) as a "Dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance." But we think there's much more to it than that - and Big Freedia agrees. 

Not every booty-shaker (read: Miley Cyrus) can twerk. There's a distinction rooted in the move's history with Bounce, the hip hop sub-genre that sprouted out of New Orleans in the 1980s and early 1990s. Yet with its ubiquity in today's popular culture - egged on by today's popular musicians - it has become even more difficult to separate the twerkers from the fakers. Big Freedia is here to help. 

The self-declared Queen of Bounce gave us an exclusive twerk lesson at The BUKU Project in New Orleans, and we learned a lot - largely, that we can't twerk. But we kept tabs on Big Freedia's twerk tips to share with you all - happy Twerking.

1. Put Your Drink Down 

Twerking is a serious endeavor, one that should be attempted if - and only if - all precautions have been taken. So, before you follow these twerk tips, put your drink down. 

2. Stretch 

Big Freedia came to BUKU "to stretch not conversate." I repeat, twerking is not a joke and precautions must be taken. Such strenuous movements should not be made without stretching out your hip flexers and glutei (yes that's the plural of gluteus). Start by touching your toes with your legs shoulder-width apart then take the stretch to the ground, as pictured above. 

3. The Basics 

Resume your first stretching position, place one hand on the floor and the other on your lower back, then ready.. set.. TWERK! A great beginner position as your hand can be used for balance as you move your gluteus maximus up and down or - if you want to get crazy - side to side. 

4. Downward Dog

You heard me, you can twerk in your beloved yoga pose - The Downward Dog. From your step 3 position, place both hands on the ground and bring your legs together. Namaste.

5. Side-to-Side 

Not all twerking has to be done while your body is unnaturally forming some sort of V-shape. Stand on up, slightly bend your knees, and move your ass side-to-side while trying to keep the rest of your body fairly still. 

6. Circular Motion

Got that down? Add a circle into the mix - but stay low with your knees bent. 

7. Shoulder Hustle 

Big Freedia made clear twerking ain't just for the ladies. The Queen of Bounce's male 'Divas' took over the demonstration portion of the twerk lesson to show the Shoulder Hustle. Rotate your shoulders as if stretching your upper back - with some flair of course. It is all about making your arms move, so work them up and down then back and forth.

8. The Peter Pan 

This one's also for the fellas. A sped-up, funked-out version of the Tootsie Roll. Open your legs to go back and forth and in and out very quickly. 

9. Practice 

Now get yourself in front of a mirror, press play on some Big Freedia tracks, stay away from candles and doors, and get twerking! 

Follow @laurajbf on Twitter

See Also: 

Photo Gallery: Big Freedia at The BUKU Project 
BUKU Bests: A BUKU Music + Art Project Review
Facebook Album: The BUKU Project Fans and Atmosphere