Jerking photo gallery

By Taylor Moore, 15, Westchester HS
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Taylor says the next time you’re at a dance, don’t be a wallflower and have fun with it.

When I’m in a good mood, you can always catch me dancing. When my friends Rwanda, Victoria and I hit a good forehand or backhand when our coach is feeding us balls at tennis practice, we do the hip-hop dance jerking. It’s like my victory dance.

Music makes me want to move. When I listen to the beats, they get me pumped to move my feet. I love trying new dances and testing myself to make sure I can do them. I change it up to put the “Taylor” signature on it. Dancing has changed so much. The Harlem shake came from the East, Soulja Boy is Southern and now we’re West Coast with all the good dances, krumping and jerking.

The first hip-hop dance that was so cool to me was the Harlem shake, when you shake your shoulders with your arms straight and down. I did it when I was in elementary school whenever I listened to Bow Wow’s song, “Bounce With Me,” because he always did it in his music videos. My cousin, Morgan, and I made up a dance to the theme song of the Disney show Kim Possible by mixing dances together that were popular for a minute and died down.

When I was in middle school, one of my favorite dances was the chicken head. It was funny. You would pump your arms and jerk your head and feet back. People say it looks like you’re about to break your neck. I also liked chicken noodle soup, which was named after a song by one-hit wonder Young B, when you jump side to side while crossing your arms in front and behind you. You’ve gotta do it fast. When I heard the name of that dance, I thought whoever made it up was eating cup of noodles and dancing at the same time “with a soda on the side.”

When E-40’s “Tell Me When To Go” came out in middle school, everyone was krumping. Krumping music is filled with hard beats. Krumping is when you jump all over the place and move your arms really hard as if you are going to punch someone. It is a violent-looking dance, but no one gets hurt. I used to mix it up with belly dancing so I wouldn’t look so rough; I added girl flavor to it. When we had our school dances, we had a battle zone, where everybody would compete to see who could krump better. I would scream with everyone else to determine who had the hottest moves (whoever got the loudest screams won). It was fun to watch because I liked to see people mix it up with their own moves.

My freshman year, I lived in Texas, and I realized how all the Southern dances come out there before coming to L.A. The Soulja Boy was huge all year. It’s a dance to Soulja Boy’s song “Crank That” with jumping around, crossing your legs and doing the Superman. My friends and I did it everywhere—at home, outside when we were playing and every time my cousins came over. We did it at the Welcome Back dance and Winter Formal. Everyone would get out there and do it.

Taylor Moore (right), 15, and Ashley Williams, 13, demonstrate Rejecting.

Photo by Jasper Nahid, 15,
New Roads School (Santa Monica)

Now that I’m back in L.A., I jerk all the time. When I first heard the word “jerking” I was like, “whaaaat?” I thought it was another word for “let’s get this party started” because people would say “let’s get it jerkin’.” When I heard that jerking was a type of dance, I thought I could definitely come up with a new dance, all I need is a unique name. If the people who created chicken noodle soup or the chicken head could do that, I can make a dance move called chicken and ranch. When I eat chicken, I like to have ranch with it, so I should make up another chicken dance. Simple as that.

Jerking was easy to learn

Jerking is the most fun because anybody can do it. Your feet should be apart, one foot in front of the other, and your knees bent. Move your legs in and out so your knees almost touch as you cross your arms back and forth at the wrist with your hands in a fist. To look good, move your torso forward and backward. I make it my own style by making weird faces or changing up what I do with my hands.

The reject, SpongeBob, pin drop and tippy toes are all part of the jerking family. The reject was the most difficult for me until I got the hang of it. Everyone says it is the backwards running man (a dance popular in the late 80s), but it’s not that easy. The first time I tried it, I was coming out of Chili’s and my cousin was trying to teach me. I fell flat on my butt. I was so embarrassed because people were looking at me. Now that I am finally able to do it, I’m rejecting all over the place—at home, parties and people’s houses.

My friend, Ashonde, and I made a YouTube video of us jerking because we were bored and had a camera, and decided to have fun. I jerk with my brother, Omari, who is 10, and my 4-year-old sister, Nia. When Omari and I are doing our chores, we blast music and start jerking. Even Nia dances.

Jerking won’t last forever. My friends say it’s going to die soon. What’s next for hip-hop dancing? Is it the chicken and ranch? Or …

Be sure to check out L.A. Youth’s YouTube channel to see the L.A. Youth dance party video shoot and other great videos.