Waacking, voguing… and I. As Bob Marley would say, « Is this love, is this love, is this love, is this love that I’m feeling…? »
To understand this reflexion and how I got there, I need to go four years back, when these styles didn’t interest me at all. But first, some « definitions ». At this stage, the task becomes difficult for me because :
- Even if there are rules and fondations, an art cannot really be defined in my opinion
- I don’t know much of these dance styles or the culture behind them yet
Here are the descriptions that seem relevant to me…
Inspired by Vogue magazine, voguing is characterized by model-like poses integrated with angular, linear, and rigid arm, leg, and body movements. This style of dance arose from Harlemballrooms by African Americans and Latino Americans in the early 1960s. It was originally called « presentation » and later « performance ». Over the years, the dance evolved into the more intricate and illusory form that is now called « vogue ». Voguing is continually developed further as an established dance form that is practiced in the gay ballroom scene and clubs in major cities throughout the United States—mainly New York City. Read more
Historically, waacking can be traced back to the 1970s. Heavily influenced by the funk and disco era, the style originally played on imitating silent film stars’ over-dramatic gestures by utilizing complex arm movements, lines, and poses. Often, the lightning-fast arm-work is combined with « voguing » (you know, strike a pose) for a contrasting visual effect. Read more
How did I get from indifference to admiration?
The 1st encounter : puzzled.
So, 4 years ago, I attended an hip hop jam with battles in categories like locking, popping, house, krump, maybe bboying battles and a few showcases. Among these, a voguing performance achieved by three or four dancers dressed in ultra-slinky black overalls with a red detail (a flower in the hair, a scarf …).
I remember thinking: « ok, they’re very flexible. They seem to give their best, it’s a good thing. But what is it? And above it all, what does it HAVE TO DO with hip hop?? »
In other words, I thought at the time that the aesthetics of the dance (music, costumes, movements) contrasted sharply with other styles. Therefore, I did not try to learn more and I quickly forgot… And since voguing is very often associated with waacking, I immediately concluded that it was also to forget, without even seeing it.
A few months later, in one of many ciphers of a house party, I saw dancers perform steps in a dance style that I found strange but cool. I learned much later that it was the Waacking. What a surprise!
After that, I watched a few videos on the web: I liked the whole « disco diva » aspect of the dancers but still, I did not push the reflection any further so, again, it fell into the dustbin.
The 2nd encounter : intrigued
September 2013, Birmingham. I am at the Waack Date, a party / battle organized around the Uk Bboy Champs 2013. I discovered the duo Anna Ninja and Sofiabulous: i was shocked! Shocked by their grace, elegance, technique, style … I loved EVERYTHING!
During that party, there were some very good dancers but I was really struck by the duo Anna (voguing) and Sofia (Waacking). Something strong emanated from them.
Back in France and still in love, I did some research on the web. I came across videos, especially :
♦ An interview of Tyrone Proctor. I particularly liked this part (#3), I found it to be a great source of inspiration for anyone evolving in or loving the urban culture scene.
♦ The classic Paris is Burning.
The 3rd encounter: the beginning of a love story …
November 9, 2013, the first edition of the event « Le Rendez Vous », a 100% waacking and voguing event.
I was waiting for this moment but strangely, on the D day, I didn’t want to go. It’s one of those saturday mornings whenlaziness takes possession of you and you’re taken of a sudden amnesia (the one that makes you forget that two days earlier, you had a fire motivation).
However, A small voice echoed in my head to say: « a 100% waacking and voguing event… Hello?!… It’s too rare, come on, let’s go »
… Part 2 >here<…