As if Magic Mike XXL hadn’t charmed the gays of the world by its premise alone, professional attractive person Channing Tatum managed to sneak in a handful of pro-gay moments into his cinematic ode to the male body.
One of these moments heavily features the internationally known vogue dancer Dashaun Evisu Wesley. You might recognize the underground superstar from his stint on America’s Best Dance Crew (alongside the legendary Leiomy Maldonado) or his New York City performances with rising avant-gardist FKA twigs.
Wesley sat down with Jezebel for an interesting interview earlier this week. Here are some of our favorite quotes from the dancer:
On being approached for the Magic Mike XXL role:
It was in the script and knew they were looking for voguers for the scene, and I had to audition for it like anyone else! I had to do a Skype interview with the casting directors, we had more than one interview. But it went pretty good! It was awesome … I walked in the door the first day of rehearsal, there’s Channing walking in, he said hi to all of us, and we just focused on the dancing at first. Then on the second day of rehearsal he was like, ’Um, I heard you do the microphone thing, you should do that.’ And I turned to him with a weird face like How do you know this…? And he was like, ’Dashaun, I know everything about you.’
On the protectiveness of vogue culture:
Me and some of the other voguers who travel around the world, we enjoy doing it and we feel that we have a high responsibility in teaching the art, so when people acknowledge us and point out where credit is due or show people where it comes from, we feel good about it. And [misrepresentations] continuously happen still, but it’s up to us to take full responsibility to get it back to us.
So at the same time that it’s good, it’s still a challenge because when you see these stars voguing, the only thing that people see is the stars voguing. They don’t ever wanna go like, oh, who is this person? Where’d he learn that from? It’s always just like oh, he’s voguing, and that’s it.
On working with FKA twigs:
I know prior to when we went to New York for Congregata, we were supposed to get an MC but then she asked me to MC. And she always came to Vogue Knights, which is a vogue night in New York. I feel like she’s a part of the scene, rather than other people who come in, do one thing, and leave.
But for the part in Congregata, she said, ’I need you to chop me.’ At first I was like are you sure? You want me to chop you in your own concert, in front of thousands of people? She was like yes, just chop me. Chop me like you would at a ball. And I was a little bit apprehensive and she was like, listen, Dashaun, I need you to do it like you would at a ball! So I was like sure, let’s go for it, so when I got on that stage, it was like, let’s go, let her have it! Everybody was like, oh my god, you chopped FKA twigs! But then when they seen what was going on they loved it. It was really her idea. She knows the culture.
On learning to vogue:
When I was 14 years old in the West Village, just coming to a place of like me being comfortable, I was walking down Christopher Street, and I seen people voguing. I was 14 and was like, what are they doing? And it was a huge crowd and they were walking down the block with a guy with a boombox and I was just following them, and they ended at Christopher Street Piers, so they sat there and just vogued, so I just went there every day from that day forward. I began to understand the lifestyle of voguing, and understand who I was.
Wesley is also a contributor to legendary ballroom beatmaker MikeQ’s Qween Beat label. You can check out Dashaun’s newest collaboration with Divoli S’vere, over here: