Earlier than he went on to strike a pose with Madonna within the 1990 basic “Vogue” video and her subsequent Blonde Ambition Tour, José Gutiérrez Xtravaganza made his first fierce strikes on the Christopher Road pier on the West Facet Freeway. It was there, as a 16-year-old, that he found the runway-ready dance that twirled out from the underground tradition of black and Latin homosexual males within the ’80s.
“I routinely fell in love with it,” says Gutiérrez, who hit the pier with some older college students who had been additionally finding out dance on the Fiorello H. LaGuardia Excessive College of Music & Artwork and Performing Arts. “I used to be like, ‘What is that this?’ It was one thing like a face-off. The completely different ‘homes’ would battle one another with this angle. Voguing is 80 p.c angle, I all the time say.”
That angle is being served, and that motion is being celebrated within the new FX collection “Pose.” The present’s set within the mid-’80s, in the course of the top of the New York ballroom scene, the place “homes” had been like households and voguing was the mode of expression. For Gutiérrez, now 48, it wasn’t a lot about who would take house the grand prize in competitors, it was about discovering himself as a younger homosexual man and being part of a group.
“It was like discovering this entire world,” says Gutiérrez, who additionally appeared within the landmark 1990 documentary “Paris Is Burning” that went contained in the ballroom scene. “I used to be so impressed by folks like me, my very own type. It was actually welcoming. Seeing that so early on, it opened me as much as so many issues artistically and personally as a result of I recognized.”
Gutiérrez encountered the Home of Xtravaganza on the pier, shortly impressed them together with his abilities and joined their ranks, adopting their identify as his personal. “They had been like a trend gang, sort of like a ‘West Facet Story’ really feel,” he says.
Being of Dominican descent, although born and raised within the East Village, Gutierrez was additionally drawn to the truth that the Home of Xtravaganza was predominantly Latino. “They had been regarded upon to be so completely different,” he says. “I wished to be part of that.”
However after being found by Madonna at Manhattan’s legendary Sound Manufacturing unit nightclub, Gutiérrez took voguing and ballroom tradition to the mainstream first within the “Vogue” video after which all around the globe within the tour. When he returned to New York, although, AIDS had taken its toll on the scene.
“It was actually good, after which it obtained actually dangerous with the AIDS epidemic,” he recollects. “It had such an impact. Everybody obtained actually scared. It was like folks dying in every single place, sick within the hospital. I used to be dropping my buddies.”
However Gutiérrez was decided to hold on the legacy regardless of all these losses. He remained energetic within the Home of Xtravaganza and ultimately grew to become that household’s “father” within the late ’90s. “I knew that we nonetheless had this household,” he says. “It grew to become extra about taking good care of one another and people who had survived, licking our wounds.”
Now, although, Gutiérrez will get to see a few of those that handed away come back to life on “Pose,” thanks to point out co-creator Ryan Murphy. “He took the tales of lots of these people who find themselves now not right here, who seem in ‘Paris Is Burning,’ and considerably gave them life.”