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On 'My House,' Voguers Take Their Talents Outside the Ballroom

Outsiders sometimes make assumptions about voguers: that their lives are consumed with the ballroom scene and nightlife, they are not politically involved and really only live to get their tens. It is a set of assumptions that affect another group of black queer men: men who buck. For that latter community, which is based around a dance style popular with historically black college and university dance squads, Jamal Sims created the documentary When The Beat Drops to give more fully realized representations. In this week’s episode of My House, series creator Elegance Bratton does the same thing for a group of voguers.

Though she’s served as a narrator for much of the series (in a role befitting that of a ballroom commentator) Precious is very much a star in her own right. This episode sees her in the studio working on a possible EP with producer Byrell the Great. Byrell, who has been called “one of club music and ballroom culture’s greatest storytellers,” provides Precious with assistance, telling her to make the track feel like a ball from a commentator’s perspective. But Precious is in no way new to this. When Rick Owens debuted a retrospective of his career this past January, he asked Precious to perform at the all-night after party.

In this week’s episode, Precious discusses her upcoming travel, which includes a trip to Berlin. She defers to Alex Mugler as the expert of professional endeavors outside of the ballroom community. “You really are the creme de la creme,” she says. Alex has performed and choreographed for a variety of stars including Rihanna and FKA Twigs in addition to doing work for Hermes and Hood by Air. Even so, he’s hoping for more.

“I’m really trying to expand myself as a brand,” he explains. For him that means ensuring that his resume runs the gamut including the ballroom that he’s known for, but also the contemporary and classical dance styles he’s trained in.

“I love to express myself through all forms of dance,” he says on the episode. “As far as ballroom, it’s more of a character of how you want to be or who you feel you are.” That ability to create your own character can sometimes be at odds with other styles of dance which expect performers to embody specific roles and require a different type of technical precision. But a contemporary dance teacher provides some encouragement.

“At the end of the day make your own ship because you’re super special,” he says, explaining that while there are certain expectations, Alex can find strength in how he differs from the stereotypical contemporary dancer.

Tati 007 is more focused on something else outside of ballroom: women’s rights. During the episode, she takes part in the Women’s March that happened in New York City this year. “I’m here because I feel like out here at the Women’s March trans needs to be represented,” she says. And she’s right.

Watch My House on VICELAND on Wednesdays at 10:30pm EST or stream it online.

Read about the kiki scene, vogue nights and the legacy of ballroom on film in our other My House recaps.


Mikelle Street

Mikelle Street is a Manhattan-based freelance writer. His work generally deals with people of color, queerness and fashion. His tweets are... often times impassioned.