Around noon on Wednesday, as the nation watched Ted Cruz wrap up his twenty-one-hour filibuster, New Yorkers in and around Herald Square watched a crowd gather for an attempt to set the world record for Most People Twerking Simultaneously. Cruz needed to talk for two more hours to break the filibuster record set, in 1957, by Strom Thurmond; the Herald Square twerkers needed two hundred and fifty people, engaged in two minutes of continuous twerking, to make it into the Guinness Book of Records.

The event was organized by the TV channel Fuse to promote a new reality show featuring Big Freedia, a New Orleans-based musician who has helped popularize bounce music, a fast-driving form of hip-hop often associated with highly sexualized dance moves, including the derriere-quaking twerk. From a promoter’s point of view, it’s hard to imagine a more fortunate moment to be involved with a twerking-centered show: “twerk” became a household word just last month, after Miley Cyrus’s sexy-demon-Teddy-bear dance at the MTV Music Video Awards, when what seemed like every available media outlet rushed to explain to baffled viewers, “She’s twerking.”

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