History has been made. Happened last October 31, 2016 at Buddha Bar Makati, giving way to the velvety dark night from New York to Manila, the Labyrinth Ball transpired. The first ever vogue ball in the Philippines. Well known people in the dance and fashion industry were also present.
The goal of this event was to promote voguing in the Philippines since it is not as embraced in our country compared to other countries and only a few did it professionally. Inspired by the Vogue magazine, this dance style meant imitating poses of high fashion models and evolving it to a intricate illusory form with a combination of angular, linear and rigid body movement.
“Vogue has been hyping visuals of mainstream artists for decades, from Madonna to Beyonce. But what average people will never know is that vogue is first a drag and trans culture, and everything we do is because those transsexual people built a platform for us LGBT people to be free and in peace with out true self.”
Around 9pm, people filled Buddha Bar as a drag queen slash Egyptian inspired opening number blown us all away with all its choreography and production. It was so fabulous. The event was also for a cause, it promoted the Philippine Animal Welfare Society. Audience sat to their seats in excitement and with drinks.
The event was hosted by the gorgeous AJ Kapangyarihan and Sheena Vera Cruz who energized the audience from the very start. The registration was open to all fashion designers, models, aspiring models and of course, dancers. Judges flew from New York to Manila, professional voguers: Future, Lisa Ninja and the legendary Koppi Mizrahi. They wowed the crowd with their grand entrance, danced their way to their chairs flawlessly. Before the event started, luckily I was able to interview each of them.
Left to Right: Lisa Ninja, Sheena Vera Cruz, AJ Kapangyarihan, Xyza Ragunjan, Tutti Veshendas-Galang, Legendary Koppi Mizrahi and Future.
It was Future’s 2nd time here in the Philippines. He said : “Dance is one of the freest ways to release stress, brings happiness to people and inspires people. It can also be a gateway to the industry. I was able to see people become “born” because of voguing (as they live the culture) Voguing actually started with the gay community and later on evolved been adapted by both men and women. The dance really represent what vogue stand for: its always about fashion..art..posing; It always has a place.”
The legendary Koppi Mizrahi lives in Tokyo. She’s a dancer, DJ, MC, dance teacher and choreographer. She said that people here in the Philippines are so nice. She’s been dancing for thirteen years now and explored different kinds of dance such as hiphop, popping etc. She then ventured to voguing and has been doing it for quite a while. ”I’ve always been watching youtube and very much inspired by Andre Mizrahi, the father of the house of Mizrahi. Voguing changed my whole life, it gave me confidence, I did not know how to love myself before but after voguing I really learned how to express myself.”
Born in Tokyo, Lisa Ninja has worked various artists such as Icona Pop. She’s been voguing for five years now in New York but is also well familiar with other dances. It is her first time in the Philippines and she loved the food especially sisig and kare kare. “Voguing helps me a lot, it shows pride in gay culture. I think that voguing is hard to compare to other dances, people can do voguing even if they are not dancers”
There were three categories for the competition. This year’s ball showcased the country’s best dancers and models, fashion stylists, makeup and hair artists. It started with the face category where they have to bring it like a queen in an Egyptian style. They had to channel nefertiri and animalistic feels. Contestants came in with high heels, glitter, and attitude. Judges gave them tens and the combination of music and art just filled the atmosphere. It was an escape from the usual, a surge of freedom of expression and an ultimate celebration of beauty.
Meanwhile Dora back door won the face category and the final category which was voguing. Since she was in highschool, she’s been dancing. She said that we have a small community here in the Philippines who does this that’s why everyone knows each other. “I wish we could vogue in clubs just like in the US because its practiced in ballroom and even clubs. I want a community where that this culture is embraced; our country’s always been delayed, maraming talents and wala silang venue, so sana we embrace it soon. With all kinds of sexuality are becoming more accepted this goes hand in hand with it”
From left to right: Lisa Ninja, Koppi Mizrahi, Mirana (Genesis Alagao) won the runway category, Dora Back Door (Dora Dorado), Tutti Veshendas-Galang, AJ Kapangyarihan, Xyza Ragunjan, Sheena Vera Cruz, and Future
The event was not only for dancers but for everyone; it helped this community understand more of the vogue culture founder Xyza Ragunjan said while co-founder Tutti Veshendas-Galang, ecstatic about the outcome of this event, confirmed that they are doing it again next year, so for those who missed last October 31st, they’ll be slaying again!
Labyrinth Ball Manila