Last Sunday night, America was introduced to the amazing dancing of Vogue Evolution, the first all gay dance crew to appear on the hit MTV dance competition show America’s Best Dance Crew. In their first performance for a national audience, the five member group dazzled both the judges and the audience, easily avoiding elimination the first week.
Consisting of four gay men and one transgendered woman – Pony (aka Devon), Leyomi, Jorel, Dashaun, and Malechi – who perform in the style of ‘vogue ballroom’, the New York City dance crew has already made their mark in the world of underground ballroom competitions, gay activism and HIV/AIDS work and prevention.
Not only is the group made up of dancers who are gay, but this crew is out and proud, putting their gayness front and center in a way you won’t ever see on most reality shows, much less on fellow dance competition programs Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance? Check out their official dance banner to see just how upfront these dancers are about their sexuality.
Make no mistake – Vogue Evolution intend to win the $100,000 prize, but the bigger prize they are seeking is to educate America not just about their style of dance, but about what it means to be a young queer person of color.
And they are plan on being fabulous while doing it.
AfterElton.com had the chance to be the first press to interview the crew and sat down with them in a befittingly urban part of Los Angeles for their first day on the set as they shot promotional pics and prepared for their first rehearsal. And this reporter can honestly say it was the best time he has ever had doing an interview.
AfterElton.com: How did the crew come together?
Pony: I’m a dancer and choreographer, and I wanted to create the first voguing team. I got the idea and came to Dashaun who worked with me at an agency called POCC, People of Color in Crisis, and then we just hand-selected people from our Ballroom community. We got together and formed Vogue Evolution.
AE: Was this in LA or New York?
Malechi: We’re all New York based, all different parts of New York City, whether it be Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, whatever. We’re all from New York.
AE: So the idea was to form a gay dance crew.
Pony: No, the idea wasn’t to form a gay dance crew, it was to form the first voguing team ever, the first company. It just so happens that everyone is gay. You don’t have to be gay to be in Vogue Evolution.
AE: Was the idea to get on Dance Crew, or was that just something that came later?
Pony: It came later. The idea was to create the company. It started off with us wanting to teach vogue classes, and we realized in order to have a vogue class, you needed to have some princes, some principle dancers. So we said, why don’t the princes be called Vogue Evolution? Then it just moved from there, and it just so happened that the America’s Best Dance Crew audition was coming up.