From Harlem to Taipei: Voguing Continues to Infiltrate Asia, and Hornet Is Here to Shine a Light
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Voguing came to Taiwan last weekend as two organizations came together for a Voguing Night in Taipei. The event was presented by BFF, a social networking organization for LGBTQ professionals around Taipei, and Hornet, in conjunction with our STUNG series of networking events.
The one and only Father Big Ninja from the House of Ninja’s Taiwan chapter was present at the event to bring those in attendance back in time to the ’80s ballroom scene of Harlem, New York.
The night kicked off with Madonna’s classic music video “Vogue.” Father Big Ninja, along with Hornet’s own emcee, discussed the history of voguing with demonstrations from voguers and excerpts from notable voguing documentaries, while the history of the dance-based art form was presented to the audience.
Way back in the 1920s, Black and Latinx-American queens were discriminated against within the drag community. Tired of being segregated, they started their own underground “ball culture,” and the voguing style of house dance was born.
In ball culture, a “house” consists of a mother, father and siblings, all of whom serve as alternative families for those in need of refuge, sometimes from the family that has left them behind. In the case of Big Ninja, he studied at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City, where he met House of Ninja’s Legendary Father Benny. He later opened his own Taiwan Chapter and became a House Father himself. That Taiwan Chapter now has seven members.
The parents provide guidance and support for their house children. They work hard to share the art, history and spirit of vogue with others — in addition to creating their own Taiwanese vogue culture.
Hana Ninja and Ting Ting Ninja are the two newest additions to the House of Ninja in 2018. With three years of experience, Ting Ting has a background in gymnastics, folk dance and ballet. She specializes in arm-control and hand performance.
“Voguing is the process of self-acceptance, embracing your true self and presenting the best, most beautiful part of yourself to the outside world,” says Big Ninja, Father of the House of Ninja Taiwan Chapter.
Hana Ninja first learned how to vogue through his college dance instructor — who just happens to also be the Taiwan Chapter’s Mother, Sharon Ninja. “I do not ‘vogue’ but rather I am ‘vogue.’ It’s integrated in my daily life; it’s flowing in my blood,” says Hana Ninja. “Through vogue, I’ve learned how to embrace my imperfections and accept myself as who I am.”
Having already won the title of 2017 SuperNova Sex Siren Champion, Father Big Ninja will serve on the jury at the SuperNova x Hornet Ballroom Competition on April 14 in Taichung. Mother Sharon Ninja and Hana Ninja will also serve on the the jury for the Vogue category. Other competition categories include Runway, Waacking and Lip Sync. Tickets to the event are selling out, so if you’re planning to be in Taiwan this month, you better get those tickets soon!