Monday, 31 March 2014

BALLROOM SCENE - Terminology

For those who wandered about the terminology of my previous post, here is an insight into the lingo of the Ballroom scene. 


  • HOUSE - a literal re-creation of "home" - in the sense that these groups became real-life families for individuals that might have been exiled from their birth homes. 
  • Femme Queens - preoperative male to female transsexuals, often known for their alluring beauty and uncanny "realness."
  • Butches - a term used to describe either aggressive lesbian women or female-to-male transsexuals.
  • The term "woman" - only reserved for either heterosexual, biologically born women or feminine lesbians that did not identify with the "butch" title.
  • "Trade" - describes men whose sexuality might have been in question even if their masculinity was not.
  • "Butch Queens" - a term used to describe any biologically born male that presented himself of as male, "Butch Queens Up in Drag" on the other hand came to signify gay men who dressed in drag specifically for the balls, but still lived his everyday life as a man.
  • Old way is characterized by the formation of lines, symmetry, and precision in the execution of formations with graceful, fluid-like action. Egyptian hieroglyphs and fashion poses serve as the original inspirations for old way voguing. In its purest, historical form, old way vogue is a duel between two rivals. 
  • New way is characterized by rigid movements coupled with "clicks" (limb contortions at the joints) and "arms control" (hand and wrist illusions, which sometimes includes tutting and locking). New way can also be described as a modified form of mime in which imaginary geometric shapes, such as a box, are introduced during motion and moved progressively around the dancer's body to display the dancer's dexterity and memory. New way involves incredible flexibility.
  • Vogue Fem (the spelling being an English appropriation to fr. femme, feminine) is fluidity at its most extreme with exaggerated feminine movements influenced by ballet and modern dance. Styles of Vogue Fem performance range from Dramatics (which emphasizes stunts, tricks, and speed) to Soft and Cunt (which emphasizes a graceful, beautiful, easy flow). 

There are five elements of Vogue Fem: hand performance, catwalk, duckwalk, floor performance, and spins and dips. When competing in a Vogue Fem battle, contestants should showcase all five elements in an entertaining fashion.
  • Hand performance refers to the illusions and movements of the arms, wrists, hands, and fingers.
  • The catwalk is the upright sashaying in a linear fashion.
  • The duckwalk refers to the crouched, squatted, foot-kicking and scooting movements requiring balance on the balls of the feet.
  • Floor performance refers to the movements done on the floor using primarily the legs, knees, and back.
  • The dip is the fall, drop, or descent backward onto one's back with one's leg folded underneath. Mainstream dance forms popularized the dip, which is occasionally called the "death drop" when done in dramatics style. Due to popular media, the dip is sometimes incorrectly termed the "5000", "shablam", and "shabam"; such misnomers likely stem from older commentators chanting the word "shawam" when a voguer successfully completed a dip.