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If You Don't Know What Voguing Is, You Need To Read This

*spins and drops* There'll be plenty of opportunities to get your vogue on at this year's Sydney Mardi Gras. Check out the program here.

1. Behold voguing, a fabulous yet complicated form of dance with an equally complex history.

2. You'll probably recognise the angular hand movements and dramatic poses. These were inspired by poses models struck on the catwalk and in a lil' fashion magazine called – you guessed it – Vogue.

3. Created in the '80s by New York City's black and Latino LGBT community, voguing is an important form of self-expression for queer people of colour.

4. It has roots in Harlem's underground ballroom scene of the late '60s, where it was known as "presentation", then "performance". (But it's mesmerising no matter what you call it.)

5. Drag balls were one of the first safe spaces where black and Latino LGBT people could be themselves, express their creativity, and gain recognition.

6. The ball community formed "houses", or chosen families, for queer POC who had been rejected by their blood relatives. Houses had a "mother" and sometimes a "father" who provided support for "children" (young or new members).

7. At the balls, people from different houses would perform, or "walk" (as in walk the runway), in various categories for a panel of judges, who critiqued their outfits, appearance, and, of course, dancing.

8. A popular category is "realness", where performers dress in drag and are scored on their ability to "pass" as heterosexuals.

9. Vogue battles – where, instead of a physical fight, people would have it out on the dance floor – also became a huge part of the scene. (If only all our disputes could be solved this gracefully.)

"Hang on – are you saying Madonna didn't invent voguing?"

10. Um, no. Her hit '90s single "Vogue" was inspired by drag culture, and José Gutiérrez and Luis Camacho (from the House of Xtravaganza) choreographed the famous music video.

11. This thrust voguing and ball culture into the mainstream, spreading it across America and the world. Places like England, Eastern Europe, New Zealand, and, of course, New York, still have thriving scenes today.

12. There are three main styles of voguing, which have evolved over time: Old Way, New Way, and Vogue Femme.

13. Old Way is characterised by clean lines and hitting moves on the main beat.

14. New Way, on the other hand, involves more flexible moves and requires dancers to catch the backbeats rather than the main ones.

15. Vogue Femme is, well, the most feminine style and consists of five main elements: hand performance, floor performance, duckwalks, catwalks, and spins and dips (which are sometimes called "death drops", for good reason 😱).

16. Learning the elements gives you the framework, but real voguing is about feeling the music and telling your own story. It has to come from the heart!

Try your hand(s) at the Vogue Masterclass Series led by iconic voguers Dashaun and Leiomy, who are in town for Sissy Ball. Or check out the equally fierce events at this year's Sydney Mardi Gras!