Photo: Jana Judisch/ STW BERLIN

Strike a pose: Voguing!

Since January 2018, the Büro Kultur & Internationales (BKI) of studierendenWERK BERLIN offers voguing classes and sessions. I have participated in one of the classes…

by Duygu Bräuer

I had three remarkable encounters with “voguing” in my life. The first one was the song “Vogue” by Madonna, the second one was watching the show of RuPaul, and lastly the third one was a voguing class. Thinking about how I became aware of voguing, I can briefly describe three stages: non-, semi-, and fully aware. My awareness expanded from not knowing what exactly “Vogue” meant (or to be more precise: what Madonna meant) to realising that voguing itself has a history. Actually, voguing is much more than the song. It is a dance, art and sub-culture that emerged in the 70s and 80s in the ballroom scene of the PoC, Latino and LGBTQ* culture of New York, Harlem.

Well, that was fair enough for me to take a chance for my recent encounter with voguing by participating in a voguing class, which was offered by the Büro Kultur & Internationales (BKI) of studierendenWERK BERLIN. The weekly course was a mixed class with beginners and advanced participants. We had an introduction about various categories, like European Model, American Model, and Female Figure etc.  We learned basic training of typical posing and walking techniques, such catwalk and duckwalk. We learned some hand moves and floor performance moves (spins, dips, drops), which are very important in voguing. The music was always with us, and pretty loud so that we could feel the beat and get into the “voguing” mood. At the end of class, we had an open jam session where everyone could show their moves, categories, talents and creativity to each other. We brought together those posings, gestures, hand and body movements to establish a choreography.  Then we tried to “perform” numerous styles like Vogue-Femme, Runway, Old Way, New Way. At the end of the semester, there was a voguing session, organised as an open event by the BKI, where participants could showcase their voguing styles and skills to an audience.  

I always think that voguing looks so cool, aesthetic, crazy, creative, vivid, and also sassy.  And it was also fun to try it for myself. Once, we were asked to bring a piece of cloth, accessories, or shoes that gives us a vibe, make us feel cool. Most of the participants of the class brought high heels. – High heels are highly welcome in voguing. Or we practiced some poses or gestures in the styles of Vogue Fem or Runway against each other. It was a real challenge for me to confront with my body, my borders due to my gender identity, to my flexibility (yeah, it was so hard for me to practice duckwalk or drops on the floor). But it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed my time in the voguing class. Nowadays, whenever I listen to the song “Vogue”, I can let my body go with the flow, even by doing some “voguing” moves (“Come on, vogue! Let your body move to the music! Hey, hey, hey!”).

 

PS: The next voguing session at studierendenWERK BERLIN will take place 27 June, 7 p.m. More information


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