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Strike a pose at Calgary’s vogue ball

By Rachel Woodward, January 26 2016 —

Local artist collective The Bad Girls Club YYC is presenting their fourth annual Vogue Ball on Jan. 30 at Dickens’ Pub. For the uninitiated, voguing refers to a stylized form of modern house dance that originated in Harlem during the ‘80s. It often involves a competition with a judge and audience.

Each of the Bad Girl Club’s vogue balls feature different themes. This year they’ve chosen to celebrate wealth and luxury — or at least the illusion of it — with the theme of opulence. Guests and performers are asked to attend in their most extravagant attire.

Similar vogue balls have been popular in the LGBTQ community for years. Bad Girls Club founder Tony Tran says the growing prevalence of these events inspired him to start a local tradition.

“It was really a place for the competitors to feel safe, accepted and to emulate the character or persona that they wanted to put on for that particular evening,” Tran says. “Because this culture formulated out of an marginalized community, it was a place for them to emulate the character they wanted to be in life. It’s a safe place for people of all sexualities, of all colour. People dress up however they want to dress up.”

Participants can compete in a number of categories. The “Executive Realness” bracket is for those dressed for the office, while the evening’s final category requires guests to wear gold or silver down the runway.

Tran says Calgary’s vogue community is much smaller than other major cities, but believes events like this help it to expand.

“I think it’s very celebrated because there’s nothing else like it in Calgary or even in Alberta,” Tran says. “There’s also an educational aspect to it, of what the dance form is about, what the actual ballroom scene is like in New York City. That’s why bringing in guests is super important for us.”

An array of prizes will be awarded to competitors who showcase the best moves, but Tran says the community’s positive reception to the event is what’s more important.

“At the end of the day I hope that I’m able to offer something for any youth that I come across or student of mine that I teach, for them to feel like they are accepted for who they are,” Tran says. “[Vogue] isn’t just a dance form and it isn’t just a function, but it is a place for people to feel normal and like themselves and like they have a community of their own.”

The ball features returning dancers from previous events, as well as local DJ Teddy Celebration and Bad Girls Club’s DJ SoniDef.

Tickets for The Bad Girls Club Opulence Ball are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.

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