TLDR? Booty House is a place to move your body and try out twerk in Medellin.
Twerking is the fun dance move that’s been sweeping the globe! If you haven’t witnessed it in the club, you’ve probably watched it in popular music videos like Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ or Cardi B’s ‘Twerk.’
Following in the footsteps of other uniquely crafted, dance-fit workouts like Zumba and Pole Fitness, twerk classes combine dance with cardio.
I decided to test my fitness and booty-shaking skills with a Twerk session at Medellin’s Booty House. Yes, you read correctly. With such a fabulous name, how could I not?
What Is Twerking?
Firstly, if you still aren’t sure exactly what the dance move is, here are the basics.
The movement involves dancing with one’s hips and behind, in a very specific way, usually in a squatted stance.
Historically, this style is native to West Africa. In Ivory Coast, it was traditionally performed for ceremonies. Still, variations can be found in many African diasporic communities throughout the world today.
Arriving in the Caribbean and North America with African enslaved people, it gained some attention in New Orleans with Bounce music. Then, further mainstream acknowledgment came in the 2000s, with Hip-Hop and Jamaican Dancehall.
Finally, the dance became a viral sensation after country singer Miley Cyrus’ 2013 VMAs performance. Twerking was the most googled ‘What is…’ phrase that year.
So today, when we speak about twerking, everyone has an opinion. More frequently, it isn’t taken seriously as a legitimate dance form or is hypersexualized, placing it in a somewhat negative light. Perhaps the downside to going viral.
As a Caribbean kid, variations of the dance will always be a part of my culture. So, Booty House presented the perfect opportunity for me to learn some new skills and have fun!
What to Expect at Booty House
Dancing with the hips is in my blood. So, when people ask me if I can dance, my usual reply is that ‘I have basic Caribbean rhythm, I can move my hips’
Can I hold choreography? Absolutely not; I have two left feet.
But Booty House is much more than just hip movement. It involves complex choreography that incorporates many genres like Hip Hop, Dancehall, Pop, and Latin.
Booty House has its own dance crew and competes in competitions around the country; their Instagram videos are pretty impressive. And their instructors are experienced, professional dancers.
However, don’t panic just yet! The company provides sessions for all levels, with some dance classes branching into different sub-genres like Dancehall.
I, of course, played it safe for my first class and chose the beginner Twerk lesson.
Getting to Booty House
So, the location on google maps is pretty straightforward. It’s on a side road just off Carrera 10, neatly sandwiched between the Parque Poblado area and Manila.
However, the actual building has no signage, except for the teeny logo of a booty under a house, so it may be slightly harder to spot. Still, the brown brick building, with just a single metal door, intrigued me even more!
I rang the bell, and was quickly buzzed in and followed the stairs to the second floor.
After being greeted at reception, you’re given the option of switching into your workout gear in the changing room. I, however, came fully dressed in a sports top and leggings, so I went straight to the dance studio.
Once everyone arrived, the instructor, Luisa, turned on the reggaeton, and we warmed up with some cardio sequences, like star jumps and squats. My heart rate began to rise, and at that point, I knew that this wasn’t just shaking my booty for an hour. It would be a proper workout!
After the 5-minute warm-up, the beginner class will start with a breakdown in terminology, each being a dance within itself.
Jiggle – Wiggling the buttocks
Whining – Isolated rotation of the hips
Twerking – Lifting the buttocks up and down
Tic-Toc – Small isolated hip movements in a rotation
This is actually a lot more difficult than it seems. Most of the movements take place in the squat position. You have to sustain the movement for what seems like quite a long time.
Luisa took us through the movements meticulously, breaking down each one in slow motion. The instructor was attentive to every student, and I began to get the hang of these mini dances.
The choreography is where the serious stuff began, and I began to sweat!
Firstly, the main body of the class is split into 3 sections. Starting with a reggaeton sequence in the beginning, then a slower sensual dance, and lastly, a combination of everything learned.
The particular position of twerking upside down, with your hands on the floor, and your booty raised, is a killer!
You do feel kind of silly at first, and I let out an awkward giggle as I looked at myself in the mirror, with my behind in the air. But as the class continued, I began to feel more confident and wasn’t worried about looking silly anymore.
We practiced the routine a few times and stopped for breaks.
A sexy dance class wouldn’t be complete without some hair flipping! Which I loved, but unfortunately, I’ve always generally suffered from light-headedness with those kinds of movements.
So, as I was living my best life, flipping my hair back and forth, I was struck with a sudden spell of dizziness and I quickly decided to take a break.
What I loved about this class is that you weren’t pushed beyond your limits. Sitting that part out wasn’t awkward because Luisa was so accommodating. She took a more relaxed approach, which I believe is perfect for beginners.
Ending the Class
The positive female energy was just overflowing!
Before the class, I had no trust in my choreography skills but surprised myself with how well I picked up the sequences.
As we were completing the final dance and rapping up the class, we began to take pictures and film each other.
I mean, did it really happen if you didn’t take a picture?
But in all seriousness, it’s helpful to document your improvements. Filming yourself allows you to be free from studying yourself in the mirror while dancing and instead be in the moment. In addition, you can look back on the footage if you want to critique yourself.
I left the class vowing to return!
I really enjoyed the fitness aspect of it. Not to sound like a senior citizen, but I felt like I flexed muscles I hadn’t awakened in years. Also, whilst mimicking and watching Luisa perform the closing stretches and some other moves, I realized how much flexibility and strength one could gain from this type of dance.
What I Wish I Had Known Beforehand
Being my first class, there were a couple of things I just didn’t know before I went to class. Here are a couple of pro tips I wish I’d known myself:
Bring some knee pads. The class involves a lot of floor work. And I felt a bit cautious and restricted without knee protection.
Wear the right clothes. The best pants for twerking are loose shorts; you will experience more jiggle than tight leggings.
It’s all in Spanish. I assumed it would be. But it’s better to mentally prepare and be ready to really focus if your Spanish isn’t great. Honestly, dance is so visual that the movements speak for themselves. It’s pretty self-explanatory.
Dance like nobody’s watching. Because literally no one is focused on you. You will get more out of the experience if you’re truly present and just let yourself go!
Wear good shoes. My sneakers weren’t great, so throughout the class, I switched between wearing shoes, being barefoot, and having on socks. Wearing sneakers with a good grip on the sole is best.
Although twerking may be an unconventional workout, it can be just as effective as other dance forms.
But over everything else, Booty House offers a feminine safe space for women to be unapologetically sensual. Here people can fully experience movement through their bodies without lingering eyes or negative feelings of self-consciousness.
I would recommend everybody try it!
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