Celebrating UBC Pride Through the History and Dance of Vogue

by Claierose Soriano, Community Programmer (Co-op)

The 4th annual UBC Pride had a high-energy start with the first of many online events in the series. On January 30, we had the pleasure of hosting Art of Vogue for the UBC community, featuring renowned Dominican-American artist, dancer and photographer, Rey Xtravaganza.

Art of Vogue with Rey was a two-part session, beginning with the history and cultural impacts of Vogue, followed by an all-level introductory class. With this year’s Pride festivities being offered online, we look forward to being able to engage the wider UBC community and it was great to see the Art of Vogue audience tune in from five different cities across Canada and the United States.

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Photographer: Victoria Stevens

From the movie Paris is Burning, the series Pose, to Madonna’s song Vogue, these are examples of the elaborate dance that is Vogue. Vogue was created in New York by LGBTQ2SIA+ Latino and African Americans in the 1980s gay ballroom scenes of Harlem and over the years it has grown globally. We learned the inception of Vogue as a safe place to celebrate sexual and gender identity in the midst of struggles and lack of acceptance the LGBTQ2SIA+ faced at that time.

Rey highlighted historic videos of ballroom icons and trailblazers such as Willi Ninja, Yolanda Jordan, and Tracey Africa walking face, old way, and new way with their natural talent and aura emanating from the screen.

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After the engaging lecture, participants had the opportunity to ask Rey questions about the dance and its history. Then, it was time to dance!

Rey got the group started on a warm-up as this step is crucial in Vogue. Vogue requires a lot of flexibility ranging from dance moves such as the ‘duck walk’, which requires strength from one’s thighs, and the well-known ‘dip’ which requires strength from one’s back.

Once warmed up, we learned that angles were the key to dancing ‘old way’ Vogue: Angles help exude the sophistication and sharpness of ‘old way’. As Rey describes, the body is supposed to look like a hieroglyph from the ancient Egyptian writing system.

After covering the basics, Rey taught a short routine which he choreographed to the song Be Your Girl (Kaytranada Edition) by Teedra Moses, and boy was it a workout!

Thank you to all the participants for joining us and Van Vogue Jam and Rey for making this event possible!


There are more free events all throughout term two to celebrate UBC Pride. See what's coming up next and join in at: utown.ubc.ca/pride