The ballroom subculture: an artist expresses her true self
Photographer, ballerina and performer: Kia LaBeija is an alluring and intriguing young artist. She is an influencer, an icon of the New York scene and the queen of Vaguing, a style that has made her one of the symbols of Ballroom, the subculture that for over 50 years has forged and launched the careers of some great north American artists, from Price to Alicia Keys.
The Kia legend derives from her intrinsic sensuality combined with a minimalist style that recalls the “less is more” philosophy superimposed onto a performance that brings to mind the way models dance on set. The Vogue Femme style, in fact, keeps the body in constant movement, the mellow allure of which comes from the slow but uninterrupted rhythm that enables a focus on each single movement. Her works are striking because they combine a clean, realist, and sometimes coarse, contextualisation with a seductive beauty. Heir to the great New York tradition of innovative artists, from Andy Warhol to Keith Haring and Basquiat, Kia LaBeija is making her mark on the cultural scene in the Big Apple because she is the incarnation of the legends and trends of her era, without, however, overlooking the contradictions, the tics and the failures. Hers is a forthright, sometimes brazen denunciation but one that is very aesthetically enjoyable – a perfect mix for success. «When people make you feel small», Labeija said in an interview, «you need to remind yourself that you are bigger and deeper than the sky on a dark night». She is just that and she needs no reminding.
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