Voguing is a modern house dance which firstly appeared in the streets of Harlem, New York in the 1980s.
It was initially brought to life by the queer community as a way to grab the attention of men and throw shade at others.
Originally named 'presentation' and 'performance,' voguing received worldwide exposure after Madonna featured the dance in her music video for the song Vogue. After that, it was featured in the 1990 documentary, Paris is Burning.
From the streets of Harlem all the way to the Middle East, Voguing classes are now being offered in Beirut - and they're definitely the stuff of sass, dance and attitude.
The dance is derived from ballet, jazz, modern dance, and Vogue models’ poses.
Its practitioners can perform a wide range of moves which stretch from 'dramatics,' such as stunts, tricks, and fast steps, to 'soft' which is the smooth and easy flow of five elements: Duckwalk, catwalk, spins and dips, floorwork, and hands.
Currently, Voguing is mainly practiced in New York, Paris, and Western countries. There hadn’t been any sign of the phenomenon in the Middle East; until Hoedy Saad launched the very first Voguing classes in Beirut.
“The first time I saw someone voguing was in 2009 when the dance Group 'Vogue evolution' was on 'America's Best Dance Crew.' However, it wasn’t until 2012 that I got inspired by Paris is Burning and decided to learn how to vogue,” the 22-year-old Voguing instructor told StepFeed.
“Even before I practiced it professionally, it was my escape. It made me become true to myself and not hide from the real world. It helped me build a stronger character and face life fearlessly.”
Saad's dance lessons have gained success over time as a single class can reach up to 40 students.
And it appears that people from all ages are falling in love with it. “I get 10-year-old students as well as 50-year-olds!” he explains.
The dancer who introduced Voguing to Lebanese artist Khansa's music video, Khayef, also revels in the classes.
“[I] can see people relate to the same art that I love and I enjoy watching the changes it does to their lives. This contributes to the hilarious moments and things that happen during class.”
Classes are taking place at Maya Nehme’s School of Arts' school of dance and fitness. Surprisingly, in a country where men who express their femininity are frowned upon, the Lebanese have been extremely welcoming of the new dance according to Saad.
“Many people oppose changes and new things, but so far I am really surprised by the amount of support we've received from the Lebanese people, and by their openness to new styles and their interest in trying,” he continues.
This profile is part of StepFeed's Featured Arabs series, featuring Arabs you should know about. Read previous profile's here.