Ball Vocab 4: Jargon of Performance

In this series of “Ball Vocab” posts, the vocabulary and descriptions have been adapted from several excellent and comprehensive lists maintained by House of Enigma, and reorganized here for ease of use in the rehearsal room. Terms in red appear in the playtext. Please note that definitions and slang are, by nature, flexible, and may change in specificity or connotation depending on who you’re talking to.  Lists are not comprehensive.


A tie-breaker; a chance for the contestant to show up his opponent.

Box Dip
A floor pose that consists of positioning the forearms flat on the floor, legs over the head, with feet planted to the floor in front

Upright Vogue Femme sashaying

Clever rhymes and raps used by the emcee to liven up an competition

Chop (or to be chopped)
To disqualify (as in contestant); process of elimination…”Thank you, have a nice day.” Also “pack”

A contortion involving the arms manipulated up over the head and down behind ones back, keeping the hands locked together.

Death Drop
A type of dance when a dancer dramatically falls backwards into a struck pose on the ground, usually to end a dance, often after a spin or jump. It looks so dangerous that it might kill the dancer, but is actually a controlled move. Also: suicide dip.

In vogueing, a ground-level stunt

Crouching, foot-sliding and scooting movement requiring balance on the balls of the feet. Sashaying in a squatted position

Grand March
The opening ceremonies. The hosting house’s members are introduced, along with the categories they represent. Mother and Father are introduced last, for maximum effect

An extreme backbend dip where your butt touches your head

Hand Performance
Illusions, precision, or flamboyant interpretation executed through that part of the body; see also Arms Control

Disqualification from competition or a category, taken from the fictitious Karate cry; also “chop” or “pack”

An “Old Way” dip, inspired by a mannequin in a Kansai Yamamoto boutique window (NYC, circa ’70s)

Jerky, tense movement of the body, also Popping; also, in a vogue battle, pinning or restraining an opponent with part of your body while performing

A dance performed by banjie or straight boys that combined vogueing arm movements with break dance floor work, named after the now defunct New York dance club where it was practiced (The Loft)

A “suicide” dip, requiring a fall to the floor, landing on the back, using one leg as a lever; a prat fall

New Way
The vogueing styles starting in the 90’s. Includes Arms Control, with body contortions.

Old Way
The vogueing styles previous to the 80’s. See also “Pop, Dip and Spin”

A runway stunt in which you remove garment layers gracefully, down to your best ensemble

Pop, Dip and Spin
An earlier name for the dance now called vogueing, with a style leaning toward graceful acrobats, and transitions that alternate between standing and floor positions; also “Performance”

Freeze frame, staccato-like movement

To greatly surpass in performance. Also “destroy”

Several voguers performing together, tiered one in front of the other

The art of insults; finding a flaw in your opponent and verbally showcasing and exaggerating it (also “Deadly Daggers”); giving someone a “piece of your mind”

Martial art inspired Old Way dip, requiring a prone position, with one leg dangling over the head

Exclaimed by an emcee when a contestant executes a suicide dip. (See also Makeveli)

To win

Shade (Throwing)
Underhanded dealings, where usually the “jokes on you”; “Judge number two threw me shade…”

Tens, Getting Your
To get a perfect score from the whole judges’ panel, 10 being the highest.

Turn (it)
To make a grand show; bring the ballroom to its feet; also “work,” “sell” and “serve” (all usually accompanied by “goddammit” or “bitch”)

To enter a category; “Miss Thing, you should not walk for “Face”

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