vogue ball 1For some, it’s synonymous with a certain Kabbalah-toting megastar. But as with most trends, it began long before it crossed over into the public consciousness.

Evolving from the gay scene of Harlem in the early 80’s, Vogueing was a dance style that quickly became competitive, with groups – or ‘houses’ – battling off against each other to see who was, well,  fiercest.

Little did they know (or, probably, care) that two decades later, Vogue would arrive in Liverpool as part of the Homotopia festival. After a year off, organiser Darren Suarez is back at the helm – with the ‘houses’ battling for supremacy, appropriately enough, in the house-music homeland of Cream, in Nation.

With a catwalk plunging through the Courtyard, and the proceedings MC’d by Rikki Beadle Blair, and a Scouserati A-list of judges (well, Pete Price, a vogue ball 2DJ and a host of glammed up attendants) the competing houses played off against each other in a number of rounds including the intriguingly named “Erotica” section.

With Garlands and LIPA dancers among the home-grown field, this was definitely a Vogue derby – although the costumes were even more eye-catching than the Everton away kit.

To a pumping soundtrack of poppy dance, House of Garlands took to the catwalk dressed like the Royal Family on amyl nitrate. If you hadn’t worked it out before you arrived – it was now blindingly clear: it was time to fasten your seat belts. It was going to be a bumpy night.

The crowd was now well and truly on its feet –  having their own dance offs around the stage. After the official show, everyone was invited to take part in the “Orphan” round..with the catwalk open to anyone brave enough. vogue ball 3And there were plenty. From groups of lads in suits to a mother and daughter duo, they strutted and twirled their way down the runway, beaming smiles on their faces.

Whilst the night might not have quite been the “event of the year” that the flyers promised, it’s definitely well on its way. The new venue was certainly more fitting than the shabby-chic Adelphi, its predecessor, and the dancers throughout were superb; with one being signed up on the spot by judge Julie Kavanagh owner of JK Dance Agency.

The real stars of the show? The audience. What could have been any chilly night at the Newz Bar was transformed into a glittery, glamorous good time as gay and straight, old and young, lads and girls left their egos at the door, danced their sequined socks off, and made for an authentically entertaining night out.

As Madonna once said “Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it…”

Stephanie Heneghan

More images on Matt Ford’s website