Plenty of history in this documentary from directors Amy Watson and Dennis Keighron-Foster. Sit back and learn about an important form of expression within the LGBTQ+ community.
Madonna brought voguing back in 1990 to the masses. Strike a pose! Around the same time the Sundance winning documentary Paris is Burning and the Malcolm McLaren single “Deep in Vogue” came. Voguing was in fashion! But that was not where it began. Before that it was originally part of the Harlem dance scene of the 1960s. It was developed in the Black and Latino LGBTQ+ communities. Even after the 90s bump died down voguing still happened within the gay and trans communities.
This is where this film picks up the story. Specifically in the northern England city of Manchester while still refering back to the gay clubs of Harlem in the 1980s. We follow the build up of over a year to the Icons Vogue Ball in Manchester.
Keeping the thread of the past and linking it to the present we see the universal themes held within no matter the year or side of the Atlantic a Vogue Ball happens on.
This is a film which is not just a case of style over substance. Vogue is not just about the dance, it is also political. A time for the gay/trans community to bring forth issues like the disenfranchisement of young blacks, the dwindling of spaces to hold events and display art, the misappropriation of gay culture, issues within the gay/trans community, and the dearth of truly safe spaces for those who are labeled “different”.
Vogue sprung out of a need for self-expression. A space in which that could happen. Those who we cast to the fringes of society or even completely tossed out, came together on the dance floor or stages voguing. Though there was competition there was also family to be found. A place where you could feel fantastic and appreciated rather than ostracized and rejected. Love and self acceptance was the name of the game here.
You cannot watch this film without marveling at the costumes and dance as well as coming away feeling lifted. Informed and entertained. It is what many attempt but precious few achieve. Especially with such a great soundtrack.
Deep in Vogue is available on VOD platforms.