I meet Dominik Lamovski (22) an hour before the start of The Britney Kiki Function—Hamburg’s first voguing event at the HipHop Academy Hamburg. Rocking a blonde wig, white tank top, white skirt, a set of enviable eyelashes and glitter all over, Dominik a.k.a. Dom Twinkle looks nothing short of fabulous.
Hi Dominik! You look great. What’s going on tonight?
“Thanks! I’m organising Hamburg’s first voguing event tonight. I’m super excited!”
Cool. But what is voguing exactly?
“Voguing goes all the way back to the 1960s in Harlem, New York City. It evolved from underground dancing balls where especially the Latino and Black queer communities would meet. Later in the 1980s, it grew into vogue as we know it today: dance battles where different Houses compete in front of several judges.”
Houses, what do you mean by that?
“Unlike other dance groups, Houses are a family. There’s a mother, father and their daughters and sons. Especially back in the day, but still today, many LGBT people were not accepted by their real families. Their voguing Houses became their replacement families. For me, my house KIKI HOUSE OF TWINKLE really is like that, because I feel like I don’t really fit my real family. Not necessarily because I’m gay, but because I can’t really be myself around them. Two of my House sons are in the same position. They’re young and having a hard time with their real families. So in our House, they can feel totally accepted.”
I see! And what’s happening tonight?
“Tonight we are having a kiki, or a small ball. It’s a dance battle with multiple categories like hand performance, duck walk, dips, floor performance and catwalk. The theme is Britney, because … well, Britney is my fucking queen, haha! Our three judges – all flown in from Paris – will be on stage while the contestants compete on a long runway. The cool thing is that the results are immediate: if you manage to convince all judges, you get ‘10s across the board’. If you don’t, you’re ‘chopped’, which means you’re out of the competition entirely.”
Woah, that’s pretty harsh!
“Yep, it gets intense. Have you ever heard about shading?”
“Throwing shade at someone originally comes from the voguing culture. It’s a way to make your competitor from another House look ‘bad’ in front of the judges indirectly. Like you compliment them, but you don’t compliment them. Voguing is competitive!”
When did you start voguing yourself?
Well, it’s hard to say. I’ve been dancing hip hop since I was 12. When I was about 16 years old, I found out about voguing on YouTube and started practicing the typical dance moves—the duck walk, the hand moves, the dips – by myself until I got better. The past two years I’ve gotten good enough to dance “pure voguing”, and I started the only voguing dance class in Hamburg.
Cool! Do you think voguing will become more popular in Hamburg?
“Definitely. I started my voguing class two years ago with only 5 participants, and now we are 30 people. The scene is growing in the whole of Germany: other Houses are Angels and Dynamites. It’s great, but at the same time, I think it’s important that voguing stays underground. Remember – voguing is a safe space for people who don’t fit the mainstream.They should always find their place in voguing.”
Would you like to try your hand at voguing, too? Participate in Dominik’s class: every Friday from 7:00 to 9:30 pm. at Lukulele, Stockmeyerstraße 43 in Hamburg.