Trend (retro) | A Lyndi Hop party

Remember my New-York afro-party?

In Porto a few weeks ago, my dear friends Estefania and Stella bring me to a Lindy-Hop party.

Lindy-Hop is a mix of improvised solo african dances and european partnered structured dances. Very popular in the 20 and 30s it is associated with jazz and swing dances (Charleston, Breakaway…).

It’s very dynamic and I spend the whole night saying « Wow » and mesmerized by the dancers.

The revival is coming from New York, through dance young people rediscover the swing music. Through the garments they started wearing vintage 30’s clothes. Then a retro movement spread all around. In fashion, you can see the retro (not only from the 30s) reinterpreted in all those nostalgia-oriented brands.

Back on the subject, if you don’t know how to dance Lindy-Hop, you cannot do it, as when you dance hand-to-hand there is no room for too much improvisation. You have to be connected with your partner!

Below, Estefania, jewellery designer and Stella


Pictures taken at Plano B, Porto

lyndi-hop-estefania-stella-c-2 lyndi-hop-estefania-stella-c-3

The famous « Sing Sing Sing » (featuring: Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Harry James, Lionel Hampton)

« Crazy » Lyndi Hop in Hellzapoppin (1941) – Don’t try this at home!

Lyndi Hop 2014 – LyndiFest

Corpus Circus

As a child, i had a painting representing a white clown in my bedroom, sometimes it seems that « he » was moving, laughing at me… This painting scared me during all my childhood.

I don’t know if everything start from that period, but as long as i remember i have always been fascinated by the circus. It’s not about the lions and tigers, nor the lovely equestrian, it’s about excessiveness. In the circus everything is exagerated, the colors screams at you, the make up is outrageous, the danger is high…

Since then the circus evolved, for exemple this pictures i took during december, are from Le Cabaret Electrique/Cirque Electrique. I had never seen such a spectacle before, special mention to the rock band that played during all the show, with a leader singing like Tom Waits.

But this little post is not about circus, nor the circus of fashion, is about the body, how it moves, jump, dance, stretches, twists, bends and lives…









On the same subject you can also read this posts:

Desy Safan-Gerard | Body conscious
Street | Vogue ball at la Ménagerie de verre
Street | Voguing, part I

Street | Voguing, part II

Here is the following of the article about voguing proposed by my friend Karolina Brock, read the first part here

This is the in every ball there are many different categories to compete in. A part from the dance formes like « Old way », « New way » and « Fem Vogue » for example, there are different types of Runway categories: Realness, Female figure and All American to name a few.

The categories

Within Realness there are different themes to compete in from « business man » to « school boy » and « supermodel ». When you enter the Realness category you are not just supposed to imitate a persona you are supposed to be it, an act that put your interpretation skills and sense of style to the test.

For a couple of minutes on the catwalk back in the underground scene during the 80ies this was an important part of the scene since one could be a part of a life that was unaccessible outside the doors of the ball. If needed clothes and outfits that were too expensive to buy were stolen.

The houses

The « houses » within the community became the new families of young gay guys who sometimes were homeless and cut off from their original families. The « father » and the « mother » of each house guided their « children » in life as well as in voguing battles where they competed in the name of the house.

House of Labeija, House of Yves Saint Laurent, House of Extravaganza, the houses were inspired by the big fashion houses. The balls, the community and the houses still exist. The scene has expanded and opened up and it is not seen only as a gay community scene today.

Trained dancers all over the world are becoming part of the scene and compete, at least in the bigger balls.

Willi Ninja and the House of Ninja

There are many great names to be remembered. One of them is Willi Ninja the founder and the original « mother » of the The Legendary House of Ninja, who died in the suits of AIDS in 2006. Willi was a naturally talented dancer and wanted to reach out beyond the community and spread and develope voguing as a dance and art form, which he also did.

His name was recognized by media and Voguing was featured in collaboration with TV, fashion and music. Today members of The Legendary House of Ninja, as well as members from other houses, are travelling the world within the dance scene spreading the knowledge of the dance and recruting members in different countries.


Going to a voguing club or ball today the scene is still dominated by a gay and transexual crowd. Last time I went to a more underground ball someone asked me if I was « real ». Me and my girlfriend were the only « real » girls there but the place was full of beautiful women along with gay guys and very masculin thugs.

To the rythm of the MC’s almost monotonic way of repeting words and expressions the voguing dancers throw themselves out on the dancefloor with a diva-like confidence. It is all about outshining your component and giving shade*. As Benny Ninja, the present « father » of The Legendary House of Ninja, once said to me, voguing is making the music three dimensional. As a voguing dancer on that dance floor you love and accept what you got and then you work it.

* To give shade is an attitude which is a diva-like-way of showing your superiorness. Almost like saying « I don’t have to tell you you’re ugly cause you already know you’re ugly ».

For more pictures go to Plazavkinna

A tips from my Old way voguing teacher, Cesar Valentino:

An upcoming star, Javier Ninja, part of a younger generation of The Legendary House of Ninja and has been dancing with Madonna:

Paris is burning is probably the most famous documentury about Voguing.

Also read Voguing and the house ballroom scene of NYC 1989-92


Thank you to amazing dancer and friend Anna Ninja-the fact checker.

Texts and photos by Karolina Brock

More infos on Karolina Brock here

Art | altered natives’ Say Yes to Another Excess – TWERK


Jusqu’au 28 octobre dans le cadre du Festival d’automne à Paris François Chaignaud et Cecilia Bengolea présentent altered natives’ Say Yes to Another Excess – TWERK. Accompagnés par les danseurs Ana Pi et Alex Mugler, ils enchaînent sur scène une chorégraphie étudiée mais qui semble débridée.

Il y a un décloisonnement des pratiques. Les danseurs traversent la scène de toutes parts tout comme les différentes danses qu’ils pratiquent. Il ne s’agit aucunement d’un empilement des danses que François Chaignaud et Cecilia Bengolea affectionnent (drum’n’bass, jungle, dubstep, bashment, house et voguing), mais plutôt d’une interpénétration de celles-ci les unes aux autres. Une hybridation des genres qu’explorent plusieurs domaines de la création aujourd’hui.

Il s’agit aussi, dit François Chaignaud, « d’observer comment celles-ci s’enfouissent dans les corps ».



« Les danseurs s’entredévorent et se multicolonisent »

Les costumes réalisés par le duo de chorégraphes sont comme ceux des danseurs que l’on voit dans les battles ou les ball de voguing réalisés en mode DIY (Do It Yourself), allant de pair avec ce désir d’absence de contrainte, d’envie de multi-références et d’universalité. On aimerait voir Christian Joy réaliser des costumes pour ces danseurs.



Dès lors, sur la scène du Centre Pompidou, pendant 1 heure 15, un pas hip hop « vit » avec une pose académique ou un mouvement de krump dans une urgence absolue rythmée par les DJ Elijah et Skilliam de la scène grime londonienne, nous rappelant ainsi combien la danse peut être un acte jubilatoire.


A voir au Centre Pompidou
Altered natives’ Say Yes to Another Excess – TWERK, création 2012
Direction artistique et chorégraphie : François Chaignaud et Cecilia Bengolea
Danseurs : François Chaignaud, Cecilia Bengolea, Alex Mugler, Ana Pi






Street | Voguing, part I

Two of the guest at New York Voguing club Escuelita

When i was in New-York city this summer i met my dear friend Karolina (dancer and designer), the one who brought me in this club. We were talking about a book dedicated to voguing: « Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York ». Completely into street dancing Karolina gave me the whole story.

Fascinated i ask her to write a article about this moment of street culture, this a double post about it.

I guess it is fair to say that people in general connect Vogue or Voguing with Madonna and her song « Vogue » from the beginning of the 90’s. What Madonna did and still does is what might be her greatest skill; she highlighted an underground movement and showed it to the world. But she never was and probably never aimed to be part of these underground communities she « discovered ».

A legend has reached a certain level which includes winning trophies at earlier balls

The last past years Voguing has gone through a revival at least when it comes to the fashion and dance scene. It is part of our time to commercialize underground creativity and it is fashion forward to be inspired by it. When someone like Rick Owens plays typical « voguing music » by underground artist Zebra Katz at his show (AW12) it is automatically accepted, hyped and spread by the fashion world, as well as by other medias.

The scene

The voguing scene on the other hand is not really affected by this. It has been around since the 70’s with roots that goes back almost hundred years in time. Voguing developed in a New York African American and Hispanic gay community and was a form of social survival in a society one felt excluded from. The voguing community is playing with set normes and our society’s stereotypes and codes. It has its own social structures and it is within the community its members mainly want to win respect, prestige and climb the latter, be legendary!

World famous Waacking dancer Dallace Zeigler visited Escuelita, danced and won a voguing battle for the first time in her 30 something long career

The battles

Drag queen ballrooms (balls) existed in New York already in the 1920’s. It was about dressing up in extravagant outfits and show it off. In the 70’s and 80’s this evolved into what we today call Voguing. This happened in the form of battles where the main goal was to win Grand prize. Model poses were added to the runway walk and influenced by martial arts and acrobatic movements voguing started to develop in different dance forms and runway styles.

In the legend category at Voguing club Escuelita only people who have been recognized as legends can compete

It was a quite cruel and hard enviroment where this took place and the battles were sometimes a way of picking a fight on the dance floor. It happened that people brought weapon to be able to defend themselves. The balls or battles often started in the early hours of the morning when the « girls » got off work, prostitution was quite common, and continued into the day after. The battles were all about reputation but also about survival since there was prize money involved.

Text and photos by Karolina Brock
More info about Karolina Brock here

To be continued


Street | Vogue ball at la Ménagerie de verre


Some pictures of The world of super heroes ball a vogue ball organised by François Chaignaud and Cecilia Bengolea at la Ménagerie de verre.

Back in the nineties last night at La Ménagerie de verre when i was wearing flashy outfits influenced by house music and the voguing.

But everything partially started in the seventies in the ballrooms of New York city among Afro-American, Hispanic, gays, lesbians, and transgender communities.

Of course the genre was popularized by Madonna’s song « Vogue » in 1990, but it is interesting to find the influence of voguing from artists such as Prince or even Siouxsie (i remember her strike the pose during live shows) at the nineties. It’s also easy to imagine a designer like Jean Paul Gaultier being more or less a part of this community.

Benjamin Dunkhan



Underground culture: Poses from fashion magazines and martial arts, DIY clothes and drama !











Left: François Chaignaud

Cecilia Bengolea


Strike the pose !

United Colors


Karolina succeed in dragging me in this afro party at Fix’n’Fiddle, one the best after work spots in New York. At 1 AM when we arrive the place was crowded and the music really loud.

This series of photos was an idea of Karolina, she needed them for a publication.

The bar was plunged into darkness, Karolina had never used a reflex camera before then and i never use flash with my old 5D camera, so the exercice was tricky but fun. The surprise was this explosion of metallic colors, blue, green and red, which give a good idea of the atmosphere of the party.










All pictures Karolina Brock & Christian Poulot