or those of you who thought that voguing was just a Madonna single, or that it died after Paris is Burning, think again! The subculture of vogue houses is alive and thriving in major cities across North America where queer youth of colours gather to dance, dip, and hold competitions called balls. While the movement is particularly strong in New York, Atlanta, and Detroit, there are also rising vogue houses in Toronto and Los Angeles, where this petulant new film is set.
As an homage to the dance/social phenomenon that is vogue, film-maker Sheldon Larry teamed up with choreographer Frank Gatson (Beyoncé) and Kim Burse (Rihanna) to create a fictional dance-movie musical that has all the hallmarks of the genre: a young soul who has to dance to triumph over adversity, and a cast of gay characters to make it all real.
Co-written by Glenn Gaylord (who is also responsible for Eating Out 3, but don’t let that dissuade you), Leave it on the Floor has been cutting up the pink carpets of the festival circuit this year: it has screened to vivacious applause at LGBT filmfests in Chicago, Toronto, and LA, and is sure to entice a vogue-starved Montréal audience. While Montréal was once home to a vibrant vogue culture in the 1990s with Jaclyn Jett’s House of Pride (amongst others), the movement dissipated by the late 90s, when the image of gays shifted to the more neo-liberal goals of marriage, adoption, and corporate Pride. Many of the vogue houses, like the House of Eminence in Sheldon Larry’s feature-length musical, function as chosen families for the youth who find in them an opportunity to be as gay or trans or butch as they need to be, just to feel free.