Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
"Paris is Burning" documents a world that was a secret until the dance style called "voguing" moved out of the balls and into the more daring of the mainstream clubs. Madonna recruited vogue dancers for her most recent world tour, and some of the stars of voguing, such as Willi Ninja, have had success in legitimate modeling and choreography.
But voguing is more than a dance style, and the balls are more than a competition for big bronze trophies - the same kinds of unwieldy, grandoise prizes people take home from bowling tournaments.
Voguing is, first of all, a highly developed form of expression in which the dancers combine the typical poses of a Vogue model with dance moves and body positions inspired by Egyptian hieroglyphics, to create pantomimes in which stories are told and statements are made. The models even compete with one another; Willi Ninja does a routine with a compact mirror and then turns the mirror onto his competitor and does another pantomime designed to suggest steps his competitor should take to become as beautiful as Willi is.
"Paris is Burning" combines footage shot at several balls and interviews with some of the participants. From the competitions, we see the bizarre mated with the mundane, as when there are dress categories such as "the gay basher who beat you up on the way here tonight," and the competitors are scored by a panel of judges who hold up cardboards with point scores on them - just like in the Olympic diving competitions.