Get your twerk on

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First Posted: 1/20/2015

It’s no secret I love to dance. My mother enrolled me in my first ballet and jazz classes with Constance Reynolds at four-years-old and nearly five decades later; dance has remained one of my favorite passions.

Most recently, four years ago, a friend suggested I try one of Allan Souza’s dance oriented Zumba Fitness classes. Souza, a Brazilian-born certified Zumba Fitness, Zumba Gold and Zumba Kids instructor and Studio LA (1512 Albright Ave., Scranton) co-owner, incorporates various dance styles, including lively Samba, Salsa and booty shaking “Twerking” moves into his choreographed routines. I first heard about the “Twerkshop” held on Jan. 9 at Pole Dance Fitness, 419 Poplar St., Scranton, in one of his classes and decided to register for the class.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to walk the next day after “shaking my booty” for an hour and a half, but with only minor discomfort in my backside and thighs the next morning, I was twerking and dancing again at a Saturday Zumba class.

Souza, Twerkshop instructor, defined Twerking as simply “learning how to move your butt without moving any other part of your body.”

“It’s learning to concentrate on that muscle and moving it up and down and around fast and letting it (the butt) just jiggle and bounce,” he said. “Most of the time you’re in a squat position.”

Lucy Howard, Pole Dance Fitness owner and instructor, hosted the Twerkshop and asked Souza to teach because “his choreography is amazing and his personality is so appealing…

“Once I put Allan in the forefront it (the Twerkshop) all came together. It (twerking) makes everyone laugh and once they (students) are laughing, they feel comfortable.”

Approximately 40 women, ranging in age from 20 to 50-something shook their booties to six songs including “Big Spender” by DJ Carnage.

Where did Howard, a native of London, England and Souza learn to twerk?

“I’ve been dancing since I was a teenager. I attended an inner city school and was one of three white girls in the class, so I learned to twerk from a very young age,” said Howard. “It (twerking) has probably been around for hundreds of years. I’m pretty sure it’s roots are in African dance. Twerking is usually associated with upbeat music, Dance Hall, Dub Step and Grime. It’s a great workout for your legs and it gets your heart rate up, so it’s awesome for cardio. It was recently sensationalized by Miley Cyrus with her shocking display at the 2013 MTV music award ceremony.”

Souza said he learned to twerk while watching different videos and TV and then started doing it his class.

Following the Twerkshop, Souza said he was thrilled to see everyone smiling.

“The point of a (dance or movement) workshop is to let yourself go and let your body speak. Music speaks to you and you need to let it go. Shut yourself out and go with the music. It was definitely a great time and everyone is going to wake up tomorrow and their legs and butt are going to be so sore.”

The workshop allowed me the opportunity to twerk while I worked on a Friday evening, with rigorous exercise, while having fun on the dance floor. Anyone who wasn’t able to attend or who wants more “booty shaking,” can count on future Twerkshops with Souza and Howard.