Three years old! But who's counting?
This is one of my first ever pieces of writing on voguing and ballroom, which was written in preperation for the Menergy Fierce Ruling Divas Ball in Glasgow in 2010. It also acts as a summary of the different types of vogue styles, and, of course, a look at the legendary House Of Ninja:
Probably the most famous voguing house in the world is the House of Ninja, formed by the legendary Willi Ninja back (I'm guessing here) in the early 80's or late 70s. Even though drag balls already existed, as did the dance, Willi Ninja is regarded as the godfather of voguing, and is featured heavily in both the Paris Is Burning film and the "Deep In Vogue" video by Malcolm McLaren. In anticipation of our own Fierce Ruling Divas Ball on Saturday, here's a selection of some of the best moves by the house, that can also serve as a kind of introduction to how voguing (and "houses") work.
First here's "Overall Mother" Willi Ninja in Paris Is Burning. This is the perfect introduction to this dance style:
And here is the "Deep In Vogue" video, though I have to say, the quality of this upload sucks, and the extended 9 minute mix is much better (with more dancing in the video). Still, it's worth a watch as it's some of the best voguing on film, IMO:
Here's another clip of Willi doing his thing in a club, and the catwalk/fashion connections are more clear here (as are the clubby origins of the dance):
Unfortunately Willi died in 2006. Thankfully, the house is still going strong - here they are in a group performance, and this clip also gives some insight into the voguing scene and its participants.
There are three main types of voguing, "new way", "old way" and "femme". Here is Aus Ninja demonstrating old way vogue, the classic style as seen in the late 80's videos:
In a nutshell, new way is more athletic and faster, and came to prominence after 1990. Here is rising star Javier Ninja showing some new way moves:
The third type of voguing is "femme" and has to do with extreme posing (in a very feminine style), coupled with some more acrobatic moves. Here is a clip of Danielle Ninja at the House of Mizrahi's 2006 Willi Ninja-tribute Latex Ball. (Note the signature vogue "dip" move where the dancer falls on to her back but with her leg tucked up under her bum):
Voguing is also closely related to "waacking", in which hand and arm movements are the focus. Here is Javier Ninja again with an amazing performance from the same House of Mizrahi's Latex Ball. Note how the MC Selvin Mizrahi is left speechless - THAT is how you dig status:
Perhaps the most famous current memnber of the House of Ninja is Benny Ninja, after his appearnace on America's Next Top Model teaching the contestants how to pose. This clip makes explicit the links between voguing and modelling, and the dance and fashion scenes. Benny appears around three and a half minutes in (so skip to that if you're not interested in some serious mega-bitchery).
Benny was given the title of Father of the House of Ninja by Willi himself before he died. And as the saying goes, "boys learn, men teach". Here's Benny giving a demo at a workshop in Paris:
And here's one of my favourite clips of all - House of Ninja performing at a party thrown by the SoBe drinks company, with Aus Ninja (I think) dressed in a giant lizard outfit (after the company's logo). With him are Javier and Benny, and they work to Madonna's "Vogue". What starts off looking like just some people messing around soon turns into an incredible routine:
So, hopefully this will teach all you budding children what you need to know for Saturday - doors open at 9pm (fashion show at 10pm) and the voguing/drag ball takes place at midnight. So come down, look fierce, throw shade and BRING IT!