© The Black Sheep Fine Art Photography
© The Black Sheep Fine Art Photography
© The Black Sheep Fine Art Photography
© Marcus Koppen
© Karolina Miernik
© Karolina Miernik
© Andrew Eccles
© Tom Oldham Photography
© Tom Oldham Photography
© Tom Oldham Photography


Strike a pose!

Voguing is a style developed in the 1980ies and is characterised by poses, similar to the ones of photo model poses with some influences from the Harlem ballrooms of the 1930ies. Characteristics are formation of lines, symmetry, and precision in the execution of such formations and graceful, fluid-like action. Since the founding of Vogue Evolution in 2008 in New York, Voguing became very popular.

“In 1980 I was introduced to Vogue by accident. I met Willi Ninja in Washington Square Park after coming from the LOFT, (a club founded by David Mancuso). We all back then just danced in the street after the party was over Sunday afternoon. David Mancuso took me to my first gay club. The dancing was real electric and I said to myself: ‘I gotta learn this shit!’. And I've been Voguing ever since.

Life is the Club. The Club in my day was the safe haven for all us ‘misfits’ that just didn't fit in society’s mould. I was fortunate to realise that you can be ‘in’ the scene, but not ‘of’ the scene. All Social Dance forms are important and relevant. It is the voice of today's youth as it was generations before. Because it is real, it will have real perils if one doesn't pay attention. My quest, so to speak, is to share a little of my life with you and hope that one will enjoy the beauty of being connected in the spirit of being free.

The focus of this class will be on proper posture, correct body vocabulary, motivation (meaning individual characterisations), controlling to be in the moment, and organic musicality. I will introduce Old Way Vogue (male vogue), New Way Vogue and Vogue Femme.”


Back to the 70ies!

“I was not allowed to go out and dance except at school so the television became my teacher. We didn't have YouTube then and I wasn't allowed to travel so I had to catch what I could in that one hour Soul Train show every Saturday. I watched the show on the sneak! That's how I got hooked into Waacking. This was the dance I loved but nobody did it here. This was strictly a West Coast Dance from L.A.

I met Tyrone Proctor, a Soul Train Dancer in 1980 then, Shabba-Doo in 2001, then Ana Sanchez in 2007 and Toni Basil in 2009. This dance scene was a social gathering in the seventies and eighties. I continued with Waacking until today.

In this class we will emphasise on rhythm, organic musicality, emotional connectivity, self-awareness and being in the moment. Waacking has its roots in the nightclubs of the 1970ies. The club is a lifestyle not a pastime. Life is the Club.”

ARTISTBIO: Archie Burnett

Archie Burnett is a highly respected underground club dancer in New York City who was one of the prime dancers during the late 70s and 80s, becoming well known for his individual freestyle of Waacking and Voguing. He was a close friend and assistant of the grandfather of Voguing, the legend Willi Ninja, and is up until now a striving force in the NYC dance scene. He is often invited as a judge for battles.

He appears in the documentary film Check Your Body at the Door (2001) by Dr. Sally Sommer, (Professor of Dance at Florida State University), that explores the movement vocabulary of legendary NYC house dancers, including Archie Burnett, Willi Ninja, Ejoe Wilson, Marjory Smarth and Conrad Rochester. Made possible in part by contributions from the National Endowment of the Arts, Dr. Sommer interviews dancers from the local NYC scene and captures now-vintage footage from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Check Your Body at the Door now stands as an historical document and testament to the early years of NYC’s house dance culture.

“I've travelled all over the world doing what I love to do best: that’s spreading the house vibe that lives and thrives in NYC. I have a documentary produced by Sally Sommer, Check Your Body at the Door that chronicles the lives of some of the dancers that are the life’s blood of this underground scene. We began filming in 1991. Now I’m happy and proud to say it has become a historical record of that moment in time. Dancing has always been my voice, my body, my instrument and music my passion. May the music live forever. It’s not over till it’s over!!!”

Last update: 17.05.2013



© Karolin Miernik


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