What's That Dance
During its first season on television, the hit show Glee
lot of attention to itself through its choices of dance routines and styles. One of the most talked about episodes was the all-Madonna episode, which featured a recreation of Madonna’s famous Vogue video
, starring Glee
’s own Sue Sylvester.
So what exactly is Vogue dancing?
A very stylized form of house dance that evolved from Harlem ballroom dancing, vogue gained initial popularity in the late 1980s and then rocketed to mainstream attention thanks to Madonna’s pioneering video.
Photo from MTV.com
Vogueing is characterized by model-like poses that incorporate the use of arms, legs, hands and feet (see video
The dance is most popular amongst the gay ballroom scene, which features several “houses” or groups of dancers who compete or battle against each other. Some houses include the House of Ninja
and the House of Mizrahi
There are three distinct styles of vogue dancing, the “old way” (pre 1990), the “new way” (post 1990) and “vogue femme”, which is a more effeminate version of either the old or new ways.
The old way of vogue is graceful and fluid, with the focus on symmetry and precision in the poses. Old way vogue centred on battles between two competitors or houses, and victory was declared with one competitor was ‘pinned’ against the wall, meaning they could no longer pose with their arms or legs, while the winner both posed and kept their opponent pinned while doing so.
The new way of vogue is more rigid and features geometric pattern movements with ‘clicks’ - contortions of the limbs at the joints - as well as popping and locking of the wrists. The new way of vogue can at times resemble a stylized version of mime.
Femme vogue is exaggerated feminine movements influenced by ballet, modern and breakdancing moves. Femme vogueing can include tricks, jumps and flips.
There are six main elements of vogueing: hands, spins, catwalk, duckwalk, dips and floor performance. When battling, competitors can often be on different levels when they’re competing, if one is focused on tricks and the other on floor work. One of the most famous current practitioners of vogue is Leoimy
Vogueing has gained momentum of late due to a resurgence of energy in the gay dance scene. A vogue-based crew which featured Leoimy was in America’s Best Dance Crew
last season, and several major music stars have incorporated vogue movements into their music videos, including Britney Spears and her “If U Seek Amy”
video and Chris Brown with Lil' Mama in the “Shawty Get Loose”
In So You Think You Can Dance Canada
’s season 3 auditions, we even met one dancer, Matthew Cuff, who vogued his way all the way to the finals, but didn’t make it to the Top 20.
Classes in vogue are hard to find, but great performers tend to surface in dance clubs in most major cities across North America.
By Katharine Harris
(published September 09, 2010)