When & Where Thursday October 27, 2022 at 12 noon | Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie St.
Reviewer Michael Pink
The Vancouver Dance Centre hosted an eclectic performance by VanVogueJam and dancers on October 27th. The dancers featured VanVogueJam founder Ralph Escamillan, Mother Ivy Andromeda (Ivy Wilson) and Phoenix 007 (Juan Alcuitas Imperial).
VanVogueJam is a dance group aimed to promote the Vogue/Ballroom scene in Vancouver, which originated in New York. VVJ is also intent on promoting understanding and awareness of the LGBTQIA2S+ BIPOC community. Many dancers in the Vogue/Ballroom scene are proud members of this community which historically and today still face barriers of ignorance.
The first piece by Escamillan showed the dancer performing solo in shadows for the most part. The movement was attractive yet the low lighting detracted from the audience appreciation of the complete movement. Lighting is an integral part of performance art and sets a mood.
The second piece featured Wilson inside a bag then slowly evolving and emerging. Later in the piece the dancer was on stage in colorful dress and moving actively.
The third piece and crowd favorite had Alcuitas dancing in a spotlight in white costume with the hand gestures and movement of a vogue dancer.
After the performances there was a question and answer with the audience which is a good learning moment to learn about vogue/ballroom from the performers themselves.
Interview with Ralph Escamillan
Interviewer Michael Pink
For centuries artists have been celebrating art through human understanding. Dancer Ralph Escamillan is one such artist.
As a young dance artist Escamillan is promoting and in some ways reviving the ballroom + vogue scene in Vancouver and Canada. He started training in vogue/ballroom in 2015 and was inspired by classes with a Leiomy Maldonado in New York. Maldonado is recognized as a leader in the scene.
Vogue/ballroom is a combination of Hands, Catwalk, Duckwalk, Spin/Dips,
Floor and European/All American- Runway.
“Historically, drag balls in New York started and tried to promote equity. Ballroom found ways to promote visible minority dancers. The hub of the community is New York City. I am part of a crew that that promotes equality and LBGTQ” says Escamillan.
“When I experienced my first ball it was exciting, there is a culture that continues with little support. There is an innate necessity for this dance. Ballroom is not just dance it is interdisciplinary. I see myself as trailblazer in ballroom culture in Vancouver,” Escamillan notes.
Escamillan was born in Brampton, Ontario and was drawn to the dance ballroom/vogue scene at an early age. He is the founder of VanVogueJam and frequently organizesstylish dance events. He was recently awarded a Canada Council Grant to promote Ball Week performances in February 2023.
On October 27th Escamillan and two other dancers will perform at the Scotia Dance Centre in Vancouver. “We have a talk back after the performance to share with the audience the performance culture. We need to stop assuming that audiences know what the performers are doing,” suggests Escamillan.
2022 Michael Pink