‘Beautiful and fierce’: Voguing balls let LGBT Chinese shine

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03/31/2021

Leather, glitter, stilettos and a strut — voguing, the underground dance phenomenon, has seized Beijing and given China’s LGBT community a “playground” to celebrate their identities. Sashaying down the runway clad in fake-fur, mile-high wigs and dramatic makeup, performers flaunted poses for an ecstatic audience, powered by a pounding house music soundtrack. Hundreds of young LGBT Chinese, many travelling from far and wide to attend, packed into the cramped venue for Saturday’s event — the first large-scale voguing ball held in Beijing. With categories including “Butch Queen Realness”, “Drag Queen Lip Sync” and “Voguing Open To All”, performers battled it out to win the judges’ approval — scoring straight 10s — or were eliminated in cut-throat style. “It’s a playground for marginalised groups,” said 27-year-old organiser Li Yifan, nicknamed “Bazi”, a pillar of China’s quietly flourishing ballroom scene who teaches regular voguing classes in Beijing.

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