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The Bounce: A Look at Voguing and the Ballroom Scene

Yoshi Sodeoka

When you hear the word “vogue” associated with dance you’re likely to think of Madonna’s iconic 1990 hit single and video for the song, ‘Vogue.’ With it, the Material Girl introduced the world at large to a subculture that was born in New York City’s black and Latino gay and trans community and that had been developing years before she helped masses become aware of it (and made herself look even cooler in the process).

Madonna’s song is just the appetizer for a full course meal on the voguing phenomenon – the excellent (and at time heart-wrenching) 1991 documentary ‘Paris Is Burning’ gives viewers an in-depth look at gay New York’s underground dance scene and the burgeoning art form that is voguing. However there’s nothing like the real thing and on May 1 in New York City Red Bull Music Academy Festival’s will be serving up a healthy helping of voguing culture at its Bounce Ballroom event.

DJ Mike Q will spin beats while Kevin JZ Prodigy MCs and attendees will be treated to the amazing movements of dancers Leiomy Prodigy Dashaun Evisu, and last but not least, Javier Ninja, with whom The Boombox spoke. “It’s self expression,” explains Ninja when asked what exactly voguing is. He explains further that the dances — full of contortion, poses, and attitude — were originally inspired by women on the runway. “We took it [voguing] from the modeling world, and made it a fluid dance with lines, positions, and circles and the three kinds of posing that models do in commercial, couture and catalog [work].” It makes sense when you look at moves in voguing that beg to be captured on camera — from the hand gestures and arm movements and the acrobatics of stunning moves like the “death drop.”

Like any form of expression voguing has evolved over the years. “There’s four different styles: There’s the Old Way, that’s more militant with more lines, a lot of positions, there’s a little bit of martial arts, [it’s more] soldier-like,” Ninja explains. “Then there’s the “New Way,” the New Way is what I do. It’s almost the same thing [as the Old Way], but more fluid, more with boxes and angles, contortion and yoga positions. Vogue femme is of course very feminine. It’s like, to show how feminine you are. And Dramatic Vogue is the same way like Vogue Femme, but it’s more crazier. That’s when you see the death drops, stuff like that.”

Want to see theses styles exhibited live? Want to express yourself in the company of ballroom scene legends? Then you need to get your hand on tickets to Bounce Ballroom at the link below, you’ll be glad you did.

Red Bull Music Academy Festival’s BOUNCE BALLROOM
May 1 at 8PM ET
Brooklyn Bazaar
165 Banker St, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Buy Bounce Ballroom Tickets Here

 

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