strike a pose at this nottingham vogue night
Ahead of their participation in an event at Nottingham’s One Thoresby Gallery, voguer Benjamin Milan and vogue DJ and producer Rushmore talk us through their favourite tracks and battles of all time.
Next Saturday (7th March) in Nottingham, One Thoresby Gallery will be hosting a vogue night that will feature some of the stars of the UK vogue scene, including DJs (Rushmore and CUNT TRAXXX) and dancers (Benjamin Milan and David Magnifique), plus new kids on the block AERIAL and Ni-kü.
If you've watched the seminal 1990 documentary Paris is Burning, you'll know that the scene is about so much more than Madonna's Vogue. Ball culture developed from the Harlem ballroom community of the '70s and '80s, where the marginalised gay black and latino community could freely express their sexualities and gender identities. The dance is inspired by the model poses seen in Vogue and dancers compete in battles, or balls, for the title of best dancer in their category. London-based voguer Benjamin Milan stresses, "Voguing is so real. It's not a put-on and then you leave the club - if you're a real voguer, it's a part of how you live your life."
These days voguers dance to "ballroom", which takes its influences from 90s house, disco, hip hop, footwork, and UK Funky among others genres. As legendary ballroom producer MikeQ has shown, what unites ballroom beats is the energy: "When you play [them], there's a feeling that you're ready to go out and battle," he says.
Ahead of this event - which includes a voguing workshop and a club night - we asked dancer Benjamin Milan and DJ Rushmore to share their favourite vogue battles and tracks. Get ready to feel fierce!
"My favourites are my brother Prince Milan at 3:50 and Leiomy at 13:20. There has been an evolution of Vogue, and there are three styles: Old Way, New Way, Vogue Femme. For Vogue Femme, Dramatics is the more aggressive, in-your-face cunty style, based on the five elements: Catwalk, Duckwalk, Dips & Spins, Floor Performance and Hand Performance."
"This was one of the clips that inspired me to start Voguing: the elegance, the poise, the lines. Javier just knows that he's owning it, and that's what Voguing is about - embracing yourself and expressing it. This battle is also special because Willi Ninja had just died before this ball, so all the Ninjas came out strong to honour him."
"This clip is from The Latex Ball, the biggest Vogue ball held as an AIDS benefit every year in August in New York. Make sure you look at the end of the clip. What fascinates me is how effortlessly Deonna Pinkerton 'Jocelyn' builds up the momentum, and stays composed throughout - it's a lot harder than it looks to keep people interested by just walking and posing. And she made everyone GAG."
"This track features a great vocal loop, and excellent short punchy stabs. The production from MikeQ has that dramatic energy that dancers need with both Old Way or New Way vogue styles."
"Excellent tribal house vibes on this Runway track by the great Vjuan Allure! It's the perfect rolling beats for that category."
"This is a high energy track from Beek with maximum Dramatics. It's great for the dancers in that category and more of the New Way / Vogue Femme technique and style is being influenced by this sound."
The event runs 7th March
Photography Christopher Lacy