Wuhan’s vogue dancers embrace new freedom as COVID-19 anniversary nears

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12/22/2020

WUHAN, China (Reuters) – In a converted factory building in downtown Wuhan, 22-year-old Xiong Feng, who goes by the name Daiki, struts and spins in a black sequined full-body suit and stiletto boots. Dancing behind him in zebra print and pink streetwear are his students, snapping their fingers and flicking their hair toward a cameraman filming a promotional video. Daiki is Wuhan’s only teacher of vogue, a highly stylised form of dancing that was popularised by gay and transgender communities in New York in the 1980s. His class numbers have jumped from just a few people to around 10 since the city’s COVID-19 lockdown ended, as students, many of whom are young gay men, say they are keen to live more authentic lives in the wake of a traumatic year. “I think that after the epidemic, everyone enjoys themselves more. People won’t work as hard as before, so it’s obvious that more and more people come to dance,” said Daiki. Beginning Jan. 23, Wuhan endured a gruelling 76-day lockdown that barred people from leaving their homes and shut the city off from the rest of the country. It also experienced the most COVID-19 fatalities in China with 3,869 deaths.

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