At least two high schools, one on each coast, have banned “twerking” at school dances. (I can only wonder if any Midwestern schools have banned the dance move, or if kids there never even bothered to try it.) According to the Orange County Register, administrators at Aliso Niguel High School in California “sent an email to parents and students last week specifically proclaiming ‘No twerking’ among a list of dancing guidelines” in advance of Saturday’s homecoming dance.
Ann Zendner, activities director for the Aliso Viejo school, says twerkers might make other students “feel violated.” (I would note that most high school dancing probably makes everyone involved feel violated, in part because we make kids feel so weird about their bodies, they don’t know how to freely express themselves.) Zendner adds, “We want to make sure all of our students feel safe.” Fair enough. Nobody wants to be grinded (ground?) by someone they don’t want to be groundeded by. But the real reason it seems twerking has been banned at Aliso Niguel and another high school in Maryland is because no one really knows what it is. “Let’s face it,” Zendner says, “a lot of kids might not even know how to do it.”
Susan Chittim, principal at Annapolis High School in Maryland says twerking is banned at her school because it makes “some kids feel left out.” She says it makes those students feel “uncomfortable,” and so she’s required every student at the school to sign a “dance contract” stipulating that there will be “no grinding, intimate touching or dancing with your buttocks touching or in the air.” The contract also prohibits “making out, skimpy dresses, and simulated sex.” The Huffington Post notes, “If you don’t have the contract, you can’t get in; if you break it, you’ll get kicked out. Similar bans have been enacted by high schools in Anne Arundel County, and across the nation.”
This is all so very Grease and Dirty Dancing, no? Since the dawn of R&B and rock-and-roll, the old folks have been trying to keep the young folks from air humping on the dance floor, and yet horny teens have always found some new underground move that sneaks sex in. Thankfully, too, though, there have always been goofy dance trends to steer kids clear of sin, like the Two-Step, the Roger Rabbit, Running Man, Cabbage Patch, the Chicken Noodle Soup, the Dougie, the Harlem Shake. (Clearly I have no idea what kids were doing in the early aughts. I was too busy twerking between the sheets and making my way into motherhood.) Perhaps administrators should spend less time trying to exorcise specific moves from dancers’ repertoires and instead create a simple code of conduct that indicates inappropriate touch or sexual harassment is not allowed, and then for the rest, let kids shake what their mamas gave ’em.