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1980s dance craze twerking making a huge comeback in Canberra

Look out King O'Malley's, Playground and Mooseheads - a new dance craze has hit Canberra and it's headed straight for your dance floors.

The art of twerking - a dance move originating in the late 1980s as part of the New Orleans bounce music scene - is a skill hundreds of Canberra women are adding to their repertoires through Aussie Twerk dance classes here in the capital.

There's no way to describe twerking other than what it actually is: a controlled yet rigorous shaking of the booty. Up, down, sideways, around, one butt cheek at a time, both butt cheeks at a time. It's all on the agenda at an Aussie Twerk dance class.

According to Aussie Twerk ACT instructor Becky Fleming, twerking is an "incredible" workout for the abdominal muscles, glutes and quadriceps, with twerkers spending up to 45 minutes in every hour session in a squat position.

"It's been made popular by a lot of African and Latin dance styles but really it's just the isolation of the hips and bum movements," Fleming said.

"It's super fun, really good fitness and it's really good for toning and strengthening your core and lower back muscles."


To a soundtrack that includes Pit Bull, Beyonce, Rihanna and Iggy Azalea, Canberra twerkers start each class with star jumps, squats, lunges, and hip, chest and torso isolations before moving into learning a choreographed routine.

The class finishes with a "twerkle", where dancers gather in a circle and people dance solo in the middle, showing off their new twerking skills.

Fleming says it's a dance craze "for anyone". Many public servants have signed up to learn how to twerk, as well as students, new mums and some professional dancers looking to fine-tune the popular move. There's even a Twerkzotic class on offer, where participants wear high heels and learn twerking that's a little more, well ... sexy, if that's even possible.

Fleming is the director of hugely popular Latin dance studio Kokoloco and helped the Zumba dance fitness craze literally take over Canberra in 2010 in a salsa and mambo frenzy.

But she says Zumba has died down and twerking is definitely on the rise. 

"It's so popular, every class we've had sells out," Fleming said.

"People who've never done a dance class or don't go to the gym love it. It is very intense and you burn a lot of calories but it's also really fun and it's not hard to pick up the routines."

A beginner Twerkout course starts in Canberra on Tuesday 3 April. Course costs $110 and runs for six weeks at the Latin American Cultural Centre in Red Hill. For further information head to

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