Dear Oliver, dear David, Voguing is a dance style of the Black and Latin American LGBTQ+ community in New York. Do you remember when you first heard about voguing? What fascinated you?
David: I heard about Voguing for the first time in 2009, because as a house dancer I got to know the underground community and we listened to about the same music. In 2016 I was at a ball for the first time but only as a spectator.
Oliver: I first heard about Voguing when I met David and he told me about the community. Last year in May I went to a Voguing Ball for the first time and I was totally fascinated. I was especially impressed by the people at the event, who are so incredibly positive and the community, which is very supportive. It was soon clear to me that I wanted to create such a special event to share this positive energy with my friends and my whole network. No sooner said than done - David and I organized the first Charity Voguing Ball with the theme "Pride" in July 2019.
Today you organize Voguing events, for example the Superhero Ball on July 24, 2020, which takes place on the CSD weekend in Berlin. How did it come about??
David: The idea behind the Superhero Ball is the support and attention to minorities in the LGBTIQ+ and Nonbinary community. We all have a superpower and we can use it to draw attention to ourselves.
Oliver: Last year, on the occasion of the CSD, we already organized a Charity Ball on the topic "Pride", which was very well received. It was our very first ball that we organized and had directly over 1000 guests there. This was a very special event for us, because we were able to realize our goals, to draw attention to the CSD and the topic "Pride" and to pass on the previously mentioned positive energy to our friends and acquaintances. This year we wanted to organize a ball for Pride-Month again. This time to the topic "Superheroes", because there is a superpower in each of us and we want to thank the everyday heroes. We want to draw attention to the fact that everyone has a power in himself, but also appreciate everyday heroes of our time, such as nurses, carers, parcel delivery staff, etc., who make sure that we are not lacking anything every day. We also didn't want to leave out stars who made us what we are today or the comic heroes, who of course are superheroes and embody many a typification.
Voguing is part of the Ballroom Culture. From New York it found its way to other countries. Are there regional differences? For example, what distinguishes a ball in Germany from one in Scandinavia or South America?
David: Usually a ball always runs the same way: DJ, Jury, Mc/Host, Runway, Competitor. Personally I find the dancers in Scandinavia stronger in New Way, because they are very disciplined there and they spin very hard. In South America the mood and energy is greater than in Germany because the performers are very musical. Germany is just about to grow and become stronger, because the interest is growing here too.
At the Voguing Balls there are different categories, for example Voguing Performance, Runway or Best Dressed. Do you have a favourite category? And if so, why?
David: My favorite category is OLD WAY, I find clean lines in a performance very important and since OLD WAY is the oldest category in the ballroom scene I like it even more to watch the development of the performance.
Oliver: My favorite category is definitely "Runway", because here I especially like fashion and brands and of course this is something that has been with me for years and that interests me. The community then interprets these collections or even the theme their look. In addition, a very special Runway Gang style, which puts the pieces in a very different light. Great!
The participants in the Ballroom compete against each other. Nevertheless the events are characterized by mutual respect and appreciation. What is the secret recipe for this?
David: Balls are there to prepare for life and if one day it doesn't go as planned, you train even more to get better. It creates friendships and families in the ballroom and that's where the support and respect for each other comes from.
What do you recommend people who are interested in voguing?
Oliver: I recommend people interested in voguing to study the History of Ballroom. Check out "Paris is Burning". Ballroom is very special because the community has many values and norms that we should adopt: They are open to LGBTQIA+ and accept people as they are, free from gender or any other outward appearance. The Ballroom community is a very sensitive community that offers people a safe space and is for many the family they never had. According to this, one should accept and appreciate its rules, because it is not just a trend, it is a way of life.