The Chairman of Irwin Mitchell's asset management group emailed staff to promote a twerking class.
Niall Baker sent an email around the firm on Monday inviting staff to "an hour of twerking from home" delivered by a dedicated twerk instructor via Zoom.
"I didn't imagine it was Niall's thing", said an insider. Another source suggested Baker had circulated the email on behalf of the firm's gender diversity group, which was organising the event.
The invitation, open to everyone at the firm, was capped at a maximum of 20 people so the instructor could "offer individual input". The invite recommended twerkers wear "a loose pair of shorts".
"The class is designed to teach you the basis of Twerking," said the email, and would include "routines as well as a Twerk choreography teaching you how to werQ* to the beat." The move, which has its roots in black dance culture and is now frequently encountered in clubs at 2am after 15 sambuccas, was described in the email as an "energetic workout that targets the glutes, thighs, inner leg muscles and calf muscles" as well as toning the abs.
The email described twerking as a "fun, effective way to get fit and stay in shape". Which may be true, but sources suggested its reputation as a sexualised dance move made it an odd choice of activity, particularly to promote gender diversity.
Irwin Mitchell staff appear to have agreed, with so few people opting to see or be seen by their colleagues squatting and shaking their bums on screen, that the class was cancelled. The firm said it had cancelled the class due to "low engagement" and "feedback".
Twerking from home: binned
“A professional dance workshop was arranged by our gender diversity group aimed at encouraging confidence, improving fitness and to raise money for a women’s domestic violence charity," said a spokesman for Irwin Mitchell. "Based on low engagement and feedback from colleagues we’ve taken the decision to cancel the class while still making a donation to the charity.”
Other firms have opted for more tried-and-tested activities for staff to connect remotely during lockdown.
* Not a typo in Twerk circles