Russian investigators probe viral teen 'twerking' video

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian investigators on Tuesday were investigating a dance school after a video showing teenage girls in bee costumes performing the sexually explicit "twerking" dance move was viewed millions of times online.

The video, called "Winnie-the-Pooh and the bees", shows a group of girls in striped orange leotards and short black wrap skirts performing on stage at a dance school in the central Russian city of Orenburg.

Since being uploaded onto YouTube at the weekend it has gained more than five million views, drawing the attention of the powerful Investigative Committee.

The investigators said they were looking into an incident of "so-called twerking" by "underage girls in revealing outfits."

Twerking, a raunchy hip-thrusting move from a squatting stance long associated with hip-hop, entered the global lexicon after US pop star Miley Cyrus infamously performed the gesture at the MTV VMA awards in 2013.

The Oxford English Dictionary shortlisted it as word of the year the same year.

Video of the dance shows it beginning innocently enough, with a performer in a bear costume looking into an empty jar of honey. Girl dancers dressed as bees then surround him on stage as the music switches to a techno beat.

The girls, who appear to be in their early to mid-teens, shake their behinds up and down for two minutes, with their backs turned to the auditorium.

At one point they perform the move while lying on the floor, ending the routine by dramatically ripping off their skirts.


The Kremlin children's ombudsman Pavel Astakhov called the dance move "vulgar and insulting."

The regional prosecutor issued a statement saying they were looking into "all activities" offered by the youth centre that hosts the dance school and were also investigating its businesswoman owner.

Orenburg mayor Yevgeny Arapov, meanwhile, appealed to parents to sign their children up for more "respectable" dances.

"We have respectable ethnic dances... they are the ones that need to be taught," he wrote on his website.

"We live on this land and we need to dance our national dances."

Local authorities had launched a city-wide inspection of dance studios for "similar incidents" and advised choreographers to observe "moral indicators" when working with children, a spokeswoman for the Orenburg administration told RIA-Novosti agency.

She said Kredo dance school introduced twerking classes in late 2014 at the request of the girls and their parents, but that after seeing the performance the parents were less enthusiastic.

Reached by telephone on Tuesday, the spokeswoman of the investigative committee in Orenburg, Angelika Linkova, told AFP the facility was being investigated for possible "lascivious actions" - a sex offence against minors which carries up to 15 years in prison.

"Investigators are questioning the managers and the owners of the dance school and identifying the girls and their parents," she said.

The school, which also offers "booty dance" lessons according to its website, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The website had been disabled by the administrator.

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