Strike a pose: The international ballroom scene

4 November 2016

This blog series guides you through a brief history of ballroom culture and voguing. From the beginnings in New York to modern voguing and performance categories, 

“I want to take voguing to Paris, and make the real Paris burn,” declared Willi Ninja in 1990’s ‘Paris is Burning’. Almost a generation later and Paris has one of Europe’s most vibrant and authoritative ballroom scenes cultivated and nourished from the start by Lasseindra Ninja.

Today the Iconic House of Ninja has members spanning several countries including Russia and Japan, now commonplace for international houses.

An age of relatively affordable travel and free movement within the EU has resulted in strong ballroom cultures emerging in European countries, such as Germany, Amsterdam and the Netherlands, who all support each others’ functions to ensure collective growth and where possible, consistencies of knowledge.

Most importantly within these ballroom diaspora there always presides an appointed Mother or Father of a European/Eurasian Chapter of a New York house, again to ensure direct links with the source and history of ballroom culture.

This age has also seen a rise in voguing’s popularity among cisgender women, who will typically make up half (if not more) of those walking in European balls. Important to the practice is the strong identity within the music of ballroom which, like all other aspects of the culture, is fiercely protected.

DJ’s such as VJuan Allure and MikeQ as well as artists like Kiddy Smile in Paris have developed the ballroom sound from its early days rooted in Disco and Chicago House, bringing ballroom forward into a 21st Century soundscape, always for the benefit of the voguers on the floor.

Members of the London Ballroom Community and friends will be performing at Friday Late Spectacular: Body Language on Friday 4 November.

Duane Nasis is an Old Way Voguer and Art Director, who creates and develops concepts for various moving image projects from stop-motion animation and commercials to music videos. 

Kendall Mugler (Vogue Fem) & members of the Paris Ballroom Scene, Le Gros Journal avec Kiddy Smile, 11th Oct 2016 (Canal+)