Albert Einstein said “Dancers are the Athletes of G-d”; if that’s true, Vogue-ing balls are the dance Olympics. Event: The All Night Ball, held on Oct. 27. Olympic Stadium: Lucky Cheng’s, the drag-queen restaurant in the heart of the theater district transformed by screaming fans, disco balls, two DJs, four judges, and more than 30 athletes-of-the-night competing in not one, but two divisions: Vougeing (Old Way — think: Paris is Burning, and New Way) and Hustle. No Aryans at this party. Far from homo-geneous, this scene bridges age, gender, ethnicity, body type, and sexual preference. It is both welcoming and glam.
It is where you need to be if you want to understand how freestyle dance is an accessible, and yet rigorous dance form that deserves to be taken seriously.
Or rather, as serious fun.
Pictured above is the couple who won the $100 Hustle competition prize; but the squeaky-close runners’ up — Anna and David — were a May-December couple who had, to my eye, about three decades separating them. That said, his rock-solid form supporting her swirling blonde tresses and sylph-like delicacy garnered nothing but respect from the largely gay male judges. Olympics, sans discrimination — and politics. It almost sounds like a perfect world, right?
My favorite vogue competitor ended up winning. Can I pick them, or what?
Princess Lockeroo, our hostess (above), performs while the judges deliberate. The 27-year-old dance diva hosts numerous events around the City, many of them featuring Waacking, the dance form begun in gay clubs of the 1970s, in which flamenco-like rapid-fire hand movements are used to carve out melodic and rhythmic song elements in the air. (Lots of body, gesture — and attitude — are also in play.)
As if to illustrate the DIY drama that courses through the beating heart of the Ball scene, Lockeroo’s fellow dancer (and Waacking student) is here pressed into service as human mike stand. A nice touch.
You can wear a work-out suit and vogue. You can wear fishnet stockings and vouge.
And, as one of the judges, the Legendary Javier Ninja told the crowd, “A good voguer can vogue to anything. Opera. Country Music. Anything.”
photo of waacking dancers and of lockeroo from the front, courtesy of choreographer, Angie Chen
all other photos, courtesy of Paulius Nosokas