Ballroom, it’s clear to see, is having a moment – even one of the biggest UK dance 12″s of the year, Joy Orbison and Boddika‘s ‘Swims’ is effectively a re-edit of a US ballroom anthem, namely Tronco Traxx’s ‘Walk For Me’ (1998) – that being said, I started gathering some more info on this genre and threw my stolen bits together in this piece, enjoy!
Vogue or voguing is a highly stylized, modern house dance that evolved out of the Harlem ballroom scene in the 1960s. Inspired by Vogue magazine, voguing is characterized by model-like poses integrated with angular, linear, and rigid arm, leg, and body movements. This style of dance arose from Harlem ballrooms by African Americans and Latino Americans in the early 1960s. It was originally called “presentation” and later “performance”. Over the years, the dance evolved into the more intricate and illusory form that is now called “vogue.” Voguing is continually developed further as an established dance form that is practiced in the gay ballroom scene and clubs in major cities throughout the United States—mainly New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Miami, Detroit, and Chicago.
Formal competitions occur in the form of balls held by “houses”—family-like collectives of LGBT dancers and performers. Some legendary houses include the House of Garcon, the House of Icon, the House of Khan, the House of Evisu, the House of Karan, the House of Mizrahi, the House of Xtravaganza, the House of Ebony, the House of Revlon, the House of Prodigy, the House of Escada, the House of Omni, the House of Aviance, the House of Legacy, the House of Milan, the House of Infiniti, the House of Pend’avis, the House of LaBeija, the House of McQueen, and the House of Ninja, among others. (“Legendary” in ballroom terms refers to a house that has been “serving,” that is, walking or competing on the runway, for twenty years or more.) The House of Ninja was founded by Willi Ninja, who is considered the godfather of voguing. Members of a house are called “children.” Sometimes children legally change their last name to show their affiliation with the house to which they belong. check:
As voguing entered into the mainstream, the ‘house ball’ scene came downtown mixing with the fashion crowd of Manhattan. With this shift, Voguing was first seen outside the ball scene at legendary dance clubs such as Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage and Junior Vasquez’s Sound Factory. Here the music evolved from the pertinent classic disco tracks of the 1970s into a harder house sound as artists such as Masters at Work, Armand Van Helden and Junior Vazquez. Wicked cool label SOULJAZZ have now put together an awesome comp with lots of classic VOGUE tunes – The album comes with extensive sleevenotes by Tim Lawrence, author of ‘Love Saves the Day: A History of American dance music culture, 1970-79’ and ‘Hold on to your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-92’.
the most sampled cut in VOGUE – like the amen break for this genre:
In recent years, MikeQ has emerged as the voguing new school’s most celebrated DJ and producer: his sample-heavy tracks combine the stepping feel of classic ballroom with a razor-sharp modern edge (often built around the Master of Work-sampling “ha” crash that appears on many of his, and other ballroom producers’ tracks), throwing nods to UK Funky and Night Slugs style club music; Night Slugs artist Kingdom, in fact, recently released some of MikeQ’s music on his new label Fade to Mind.
check out this really good PIECE ON MIKE Q AND BALLROOM ON FACTMAG
“It’s just the music itself, it’s so different and I can’t quite explain what it is, but Ballroom has this sound and it’s like that 90s house sound, it’s just that cunt feeling. I’m also greatly influenced by my favourite producer and good friend Vjuan Allure – one of his remixes of ‘The Ha’ was the first thing that caught me…if it had been a different track playing, I might not be here today.
“So it’s that, as well as from growing up in NJ where house music is still such a great thing. I grew up in my later years hearing that stuff as well as what DJ Tameil and Brick Bandits was putting out at the time. You’re not going to be a teenager in the Newark, NJ area and not be exposed to and love club music. It’s a Jersey thing…”
MikeQ’s FACT mix doesn’t yet have a tracklist – we’re working on it, don’t worry – but for those interested in the minimal, ultra-sharp modern ballroom sound it’s invaluable, and pretty much the definition of a neck-snapper, full of MikeQ’s edits and original productions. YOU CAN STREAM AND DOWNLOAD THAT RIGHT HERE
But of course there’s also producers online that drop some awesome BALLROOM and VOGUE music! Check out some of the stuff below from mostly young producers that got the sound down to a tee…