On Thursday I went to my usual evening dance class to find that the regular Afro-funk teacher was out and we had a substitute who happened to be a waacking and voguing dancer and a member of the dance crew House of Dangerkat (pictured above.) Both of these types of dance are underground club dances, inspired by fashion poses and historically most popular in the gay club scene. If you’ve heard of voguing, you probably know it from its mainstream surfacing in the early 90s when Madonna released the song “Vogue,” about the dance. Waacking, with its origins in the West Coast, bears some similarity voguing (from the East Coast) with waacking being somewhat looser and more fluid in style, and vogueing having an exaggerated sharpness to it. I won’t pretend to be experts on either- this is about the extent of my knowledge of these dances and for all I know, it could be inaccurate as well.

Apparently vogueing and waacking are making a big comeback now on account of lots of mainstream artists like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga using moves from the dances in a lot of their choreography, so you’re starting to see classes cropping up for them. All I can say is it’s a great workout and SO FUN!! And if you love dance and fashion, what a great way to combine them. It’s certainly not for everyone as it’s pretty extreme stuff, but channeling your inner model, doing dance steps based on runway walking and exaggerated magazine poses, working your attitude, while getting your daily dose of cardio?  Win, win, win!

A couple of neat fun facts- the dance crews are typically called “House of ____” in homage to couture houses like “House of Dior.” Also they don’t have “battles” like they do in hip hop or breakdancing- instead, a voguing battle is called a “ball.” And who wouldn’t rather go to a ball than to a battle? How awesome!

Also, the costumes would be sooo fun to make, albeit less than practical for everyday wear. Check out a clip of House of Dangerkat performing at Hotel de Ville in Paris.  (The woman who taught my class is the one in the bright pink pants and super exaggerated Gaultier-style cone bra.)

I’m definitely going to try to find ways to supplement my dance diet with a little more of this :)

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