Paris Is Voguing: Ballroom Dance Returns To France As Political Expression

Entertainment, Featured  

Voguing has always been a dance of struggle and resistance — of fighting the Man with twirls and death drops, of lighting up ballrooms with militance and grace — but it has never been so crucial to progress as it is now.

Once a fringe art form, voguing is now tearing up ballrooms in New York and Paris and music videos for Elton John covers. It’s even kicked enough mainstream attention to get a profile by the Associated Press, proving that the House of Chanel is now just as worthy of media attention as Donald Trump’s latest stunt hire.

The profile covers the usual info (see: its sober, analytical description of “death drops” for all those hetero readers who haven’t seen Drag Race), but perhaps its most essential observation is that voguing, at its six-packed core, is a political statement. As the AP reports, many queer black and Arab youths — especially those from Paris’s “less affluent and religiously conservative suburbs” — have taken to seeing voguing as a way to express their racial and sexual identities without repercussions.

“When they were lining the streets in France with angry anti-gay marriage signs, the others were expressing themselves with dance on the Vogue runway,” says one French dancer named Marion Tiger Melody.

“The increased popularity of the (far-right) National Front must have had an impact,” she adds.

Voguing, of course, was first popularized in 1980s New York, but gained wider attention when the indie documentary Paris is Burning captivated audiences worldwide and Her Madgesty Madonna celebrated it in her hit single “Vogue.” This summer, the Ryan Murphy co-produced Pose will chronicle the phenomenon’s rise with a cast that includes the largest number of principal trans actors in television history.

Even Designer Jean Paul Gaultier has gotten in on some voguing action, and has served on a guest jury member at contests in Paris.

“I think they should give voguing lessons to Marine Le Pen,” says Gaultier. “That would be a good solution, no?”

And just like that, we now want nothing more than a United Nations-wide voguing competition between the House of the National Front, the House of MAGA, and the House of Justin Trudeau. Werk!

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