Catwalk Vogue Night: "A Place Where You Can Just Be You"

You've heard the Madonna song "Vogue." Maybe you've seen the cult documentary Paris Is Burning. But have you witnessed Catwalk at The Garret?

It's the only place in Miami where you, the spectator, can just walk in and experience the sensation that is ballroom culture. No matter whether you are gay, straight, black, white, a professional dancer, or just curious -- it's worth a late Sunday night.

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"It's not only vogue, but it's a place where you can just be you," says co-organizer and local DJ Bonnie Beats. "You're not going to be judged, you're not going to be criticized. In fact, you will be embraced the more unique you are."

She and partner Gooddroid started the Catwalk monthly last November in the hope of creating a space for Miami's underground dance scene, while giving spectators an insider look.

"I also know a lot of dancers down here," Gooddroid adds. "So I felt it would be really cool for there to be a place where they could come and learn moves to incorporate into their dancing on a daily basis."

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"At first, we didn't know if it was going to be more of a party. We thought, The music is vogue, and hopefully, vogue dancers will come out if we get the right people," Bonnie says. "Now, it's actually a place where dancers can build street cred."

At every edition of Catwalk, dancers compete in different events for cash prizes. This month's competition categories include "vogue performance," "virgin vogue" (for all the newbies to have some fun), "realness" (for the drag artists), "European vs. American runway," and "walking bizarre." Come in your own handmade club kid costume -- the crazier, the better.

In the future, there are plans to emphasize the fashion aspect of Catwalk with pop-up shops from local designers. Of course, though, at the end of the night, it's all about expressing yourself for who you are and celebrating life through dance.

"I'm just really happy with where this has gone and the effect it's has on everybody," Gooddroid beams. "I'm really surprised people have reacted the way they have, and I think it's really good for Miami because its giving them a dose of culture they wouldn't get.

"It shines a different light on gay culture," she adds. "Straight people are coming! That means success to me."

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Catwalk. Hosted by Willow Miza. With DJs Blaze, Gooddroid, and Bonnie Beats. Sunday, July 27. The Garret, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 11 p.m. and cover costs $5. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.

Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.

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