Helping women feel comfortable in their body through dance
Recognized as the twerk pioneer and industry leader in Israel, I’ve been helping my students learn how to twerk in a fun, informative and professional way since 2012. I am now in the process of realigning my business and shifting the focus from a singular, black culture dance (twerking), to a more integrated dance style that's inspired by different dance forms. Stay tuned to learn more about doing better as an ally, respecting cultures, and honoring our differences and our commonalties.
A Little Bit About Me
I grew up in Israel, Japan and Singapore, a playful child that loved to dance. However, I always felt self-conscious about my body. I danced from age 6-12, but when I started middle school I quit dancing because I felt I looked too different from the other girls.
At age 18, I started dancing Salsa and Bachata. Making my way back to dance was easier with a partner, and I started to feel more comfortable with my curves in these sensual Latin dances. At 21 I discovered pole dance, which completely changed my perspective on dance, fitness, and body awareness. It did wonders not only to my physical well-being, but my mental and emotional health as well. Suddenly, I could hold myself upside down using my hands, and do splits in the air while spinning. Say what?! I felt accomplished and invincible.
At 24 I moved to Miami where I learned how to twerk, discovering this magnificent dance which lets you flaunt what you got. It showed me the curves I always thought I was cursed with were actually a blessing. I brought my love for twerking back to Israel, and started teaching "booty-pop" classes in 2012, before the dance gained international popularity.
I quickly saw the changes this dance brought not only to myself, but my students. Shy, timid, hesitant girls were slowly transformed into strong, confident and empowered women. Women who were always afraid of their thighs and butts jiggling, now started enjoying and owning their jiggle. I often hear things like "I never used to wear shorts in public, but your classes gave me the confidence to do so", or "you inspired me to start twerking after years of wanting to learn how to dance".
This is why I teach.
But wait! What is twerking? And where does it come from?
Twerking is a dance that is deeply rooted in African culture. While the current and most commonly known form of twerking originated in the Bounce culture in New Orleans in the early 1990’s, the roots of twerking can be found in West Africa. A dance called Mapouka, from the Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) is considered to be the ancestor of modern twerking, although there are many more dances with significant similarities in other African countries such as Senegal, Nigeria and Kenya.
Similar dance styles can also be found in the African and the Afro-Latin diaspora: Dancehall is a Jamaican street dance where the women dance Female Dancehall, a feminine style of dancing. In Puerto Rico, Perreo or Sandungueo emerged in the late 1980’s as a party/club dance. Similar dance moves are danced to Soca music in the West Indies, as well.
While twerking has been around for at least 20 years prior to this event, the rise of twerking to the mainstream (white) media happened in 2013, when Miley Cyrus tried to twerk on stage at the MTV VMA awards.
As a Jewish Israeli woman, who grew up in the Middle East and learned twerking from African-American and Hispanic teachers in Florida, USA, I do my best to educate myself and my students about the rich history of twerking. I believe understanding the roots, context and culture of the dance is an important part learning and teaching dance, and giving back to the culture is equally important.
I encourage you to learn more about the different styles of twerking by following these amazing dancers. Each one dances a different style of twerking, representing a different region or African / Afro-Latin diaspora.