The older generation often said, “Having a big butt is great for giving birth.” Nowadays, young girls say, “Having a big butt makes it difficult to take pictures.” Modern young people are particularly concerned about their body shape and hope to be tall and slim like Korean girl group members. On the contrary, some people gain confidence from the saying “Having a big butt is great for giving birth” and embark on a journey of embracing their buttocks, forming a dance group called “Hong Kong Stocks” that specializes in twerking. The leader of this group is Kimberly.
Before getting into twerking, Kim had been dancing hip-hop street dance called locking for many years. She was a cool and lively dancer with a mischievous style. About seven or eight years ago, she came across twerking and instantly fell in love with it.
“I find it fascinating how we can utilize different parts of our body in dance, and the focus on the ‘pat pat’ movement in twerking is quite intriguing. Moreover, since I have always been told by my family that I have a big butt, I decided to embrace it and make it a part of my dance. As a cheerleading athlete, I can incorporate many tricks into twerking choreography in a creative way. So, I eventually specialized in twerking.”
Is the misconception that dressing scantily is equivalent to being sexually provocative common?”
Twerking, a dance style that was once misunderstood and associated with strippers and nightclub dancers, actually originated from African ethnic dances, with the closest modern counterpart being the Mapouka dance from the tribes of Ivory Coast in West Africa. Mapouka dance movements focus on the buttocks, using hip movements to celebrate important occasions such as coming-of-age ceremonies, fertility, and marriage. It is a dance that showcases beauty and grace. Later, through the Atlantic slave trade, Mapouka and other African ethnic dances spread to the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.
Despite its cultural roots, twerking faced misconceptions due to its revealing attire and emphasis on buttock movements. However, as a netizen commented in one of Kim’s media interviews, the choice of attire in twerking aims to showcase the body’s movements and details. Wearing shorts allows for better observation of hip movements. The choice of upper body attire depends on the dance theme and the desired display of techniques. It doesn’t necessarily have to be revealing, but showcasing twerking skills and looking good are certainly prioritized.
Kim also explained that the “pat pat” movement involves muscles closely connected to the thighs and lower back. Although the dance emphasizes buttock movements, it actually engages various muscle groups. As such, twerking is not just about being sexy but is a legitimate form of dance that requires skill and technique.
As an editor, I feel that understanding the cultural context behind twerking and other dance styles such as Jazz Funk, Hip Hop, Vogueing, Waacking, and Contemporary can help shift perspectives and truly appreciate them from a different angle. Dancers should be free to choose their performance attire to complement the choreographer’s focus without being subject to preconceived notions or assumptions.
Kim shared that she was fortunate to have friends who were either dancers or athletes, and even though they may not have been fully familiar with the cultural background of twerking, they still had an open-minded attitude towards trying to understand and support her in developing her twerking skills. This support from her friends became one of her driving forces.
When a dance teacher asked Kimberly how twerking could be incorporated into elementary school interest classes, she responded by asking, “Why do you think twerking cannot be included in elementary school interest classes?” This question invites everyone to ponder the reasons behind their assumptions.
When Twerking Dance in Hong Kong becomes the world’s best with international recognition
In 2023, Kimberly and her dance crew “Hong Kong Stock” participated in the International Twerk Champions (ITC) held in Madrid, Spain, and became the champions of the Crew Contest, representing Hong Kong for the first time. Kim, the leader of “Hong Kong Stock,” mentioned that this competition was a significant recognition for twerking in Hong Kong. The ITC has been held since 2018, and this year marked the first time that Hong Kong held the qualifiers to select representatives who competed against participants from 18 countries and regions. Tong, a member of “Hong Kong Stock,” advanced to the top 16 in the “1 on 1 Open Battle,” while Spring made it to the top 16 in the “Big World Final” as a representative of Hong Kong. “Hong Kong Stock” won the championship in the Crew Contest.
Interestingly, when asked about Kim’s most memorable moment during the competition, she didn’t mention the difficulties of practice at all. Instead, she talked about the amusing and chaotic experiences during their first European trip with the crew, as well as their concerns for crew member Spring’s serious illness.
For Kimberly, training and practicing with her “Hong Kong Stock” crew is always a source of joy and fulfillment. Even with the demanding choreography and physical exertion, she never thinks of it as “hard” or “difficult.”
Every member has a part in the choreographed piece
In this dance crew, despite being the leader, each member of “Hong Kong Stock” brings their unique ideas and dance styles to the table. They all participate in choreography, which is why their unanimous victory in the Crew Contest at ITC is a testament to the importance of every member. Kimberly also expresses her gratitude to the various street dance groups and dance schools in Hong Kong for their continuous support, providing them with numerous performance opportunities and valuable experiences.
“We are fortunate in Hong Kong to have many showcases where we can perform as a team, such as Danso at universities and showcases at dance studios. In contrast to foreign dancers who often focus on solo performances and battles, we have the chance to explore a wide range of creative themes and forms in our ensemble performances.”
From the moment I met Kimberly until the interview, her straightforward and optimistic personality has been evident. She embodies qualities of resilience, directness, and positivity. While she occasionally experiences moments of self-doubt or feels that she falls short in certain aspects, she quickly overcomes these thoughts and remains focused on her goals.
It’s crucial for girls to appreciate themselves
When Kimberly was a child, a primary school principal told her that she needed to lose weight in order to dance well. At the time, Kimberly was heavier, and she tried various weight-loss methods to improve her dance performances. However, this made her increasingly unhappy. One day, she stopped and thought about why she started dancing in the first place – to find joy. From then on, she abandoned her old ideas and focused on improving her body’s quality by training longer and harder instead of intentionally losing weight.
She joked, “Even Twerking is enough! Nowadays, in foreign countries, Twerk-out is popular, where Twerking is combined with Work-out to exercise the body from the PatPat to the back and feet.” Of course, fitness has targeted effects. As a cheerleading athlete, she teaches classes and takes advantage of her free time to work out and stay in shape.
Kimberly believes that it’s crucial for girls to appreciate themselves, both physically and internally. Everyone has weaknesses they dislike about themselves. If you dislike something about yourself, try to remember your other good qualities. Through self-dialogue, find your strengths and learn to appreciate yourself.
Finally, Kimberly shared her favorite songs for dancing. One of them is QUE CALO by Major Lazer and J Balvin, which is one of the choreographed songs in Hong Kong Stock’s first dance video. Another song that’s perfect for Twerking is CALM DOWN by REMA, which is a song full of African music rhythms (Afro Beat) that sounds gentle and relaxing. The mix of male and female voices in this song helps students feel the rhythm and changes in feeling. The last song is Gitti Up by Sissy Nobby, which is full of power and energy that makes you want to dance along.
The 2024 International Twerk Champions Championship is now recruiting participants!
If you have the “booty” fire, you must give it a try! Kimberly mentioned that the International Electric Booty Dance Championship for this year, 2024, has already begun its open recruitment. The date is November 18th! November 18th! November 18th! (It’s important, so I mentioned it three times)
This year, Kimberly made a special effort to start early auditions for the Asian region for the International Electric Booty Dance Championship. According to the competition rules, participants must prepare their own choreography for the auditions. By selecting the representative twerker for Hong Kong earlier, everyone will have more time to prepare! Keep an eye on the “Hong Kong Stock IG @gong2gu2” social media page for the latest updates!