In your own words WHO IS VANCE and how did your story began in Ballroom? I grew up as a poor kid on the south side of Chicago. I was the oldest of 4. I struggled very early taking care of my younger siblings, because my parents were drug addicts. At roughly 16, I met the “Gay Community”. Subsequently, I was invited to a ball to walk School Boy realness! However, I fell in love with RUNWAY! It was when I met Milan Christopher, who showed me how to provide for myself, and I Officially became a Ball Kid! Years later, I was imprisoned, when someone who I looked at as family, lied on me, and cooperated with the feds, to give me up, so she wouldn’t do any time! I served 7 years. And, when I got out, I felt forgotten about. So I told myself you have to PUSH! And That is what my motivation is! DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME!
What are your Goals MOVING FORWARD in Ballroom? My goal moving forward is to become a House Parent. I want to be able to cultivate talent and preserve the “Old Ballroom” essence. And of course to be Legendary! I want to Beat the Unbeatable!
Coming back to ballroom years later.. what are your favorite moments? My favorite moments are coming off the stairway from heaven at Back To Basics, Studio 54 Edition. Even though I got chopped for missing my cat the building went up. Another would be winning Tag Team Runway in St. Louis with Japan. Coming in on those boards was so dope! And of course coming in on the Helicopter. I can say I made history.
What inspires you in Ballroom? The ability to shine, when we as a community didn’t have one! We took what we had, and made what we wanted; the opportunity to be proud of our talents.
What advice do you have for the next generation of Ballroom? Listen it is an abyss of uncertainties. You can easily become engulfed in the world of Ballroom. Before jumping off in, make sure you have anchors in your life that care enough about you to keep you grounded. Lofty dreams and a desire to be “That Bitch” will have you scamming, turning tricks, and compromising your ethics and morals to be on top. Though Ballroom has become much more than a Fantasy Island, if you steer clear of drama, focus on your goal, and stay on track, you can be a Ballroom great! You can find the gems of success and opportunity. Ballroom is producing some real stars! You can be a REAL STAR!
How does Ballroom connect to your present life? It’s keeping me polished! I came up in Ballroom when image was everything! And ballroom has shaped my idea of what I think about Image and Talent. There is a healthy amount of shade in Ballroom! That “healthy shade” pushes you to be better. And Ballroom pushes me to be what I know I can be.