Photo by: Trellseye Photography

St. Louis has always boasted a rich history of dance; never fading away but continuously experiencing unique moments that set it apart. The essence of this heritage lies not only in the diverse styles and variations of dances but also in the people who bring these moves to life. St. Louis and its surrounding areas, on both sides of the river, simply have dance embedded in their DNA.

The Secret Mecca of Dance

The vibrant dance culture of St. Louis has made it an almost unofficial, yet not-so-secret, Mecca for some of the world’s best dancers. Many people, unaware of the art world’s intricacies, may not realize they’ve watched St. Louis natives on their TV screens. These dancers perform at some of the most prestigious and star-studded events, from award shows to sports championships, music videos, and high-grossing tours. St. Louis is the birthplace of dancers with unparalleled passion, charisma, and adaptability. Whether performing in Sesame Street costumes for kids or rocking out on stage with Lady Gaga, St. Louis-born dancers have a unique ability to master any style and execute it flawlessly.

Dance Chameleons

Perhaps this adaptability stems from their varied backgrounds. Many St. Louis dancers have had to navigate different genres and styles throughout their lives. Some, particularly those who are black and queer, draw strength from their unique experiences, giving them a resilience and versatility that’s uniquely their own. Despite their differences, they share a profound connection through their blackness and queerness. If you don’t know who they are, here are a few noteworthy names.

Anthony “Redd” Williams: A Dance Icon

It’s impossible to discuss St. Louis dancers without mentioning Anthony “Redd” Williams, a fearless leader of this vibrant movement. Though still young and energetic, Redd is often seen as a father figure to a generation or two of dancers. His choreography has graced the legendary Apollo stage, and he has danced with icons like Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, and Nelly. As the artistic director of COCA’s hip-hop dance program and founder of his own dance company, Kode Redd, he has played a pivotal role in nurturing St. Louis’ finest dancers.

Kameron Saunders: Breaking Barriers

Kameron Saunders, an all-styles dancer, has redefined what it means to be a world-class performer. Despite initial doubts about his physical appearance fitting the mold of a dancer, Saunders shattered those barriers and rose to prominence. He has danced alongside Lizzo and taken the world by storm on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. His charisma and stage presence are unforgettable, making him a standout performer in every city.

Camaron Ballard

Camaron Ballard, often linked to Saunders, is another dancer making waves. Known for his warm, unforgettable face and unique stage presence, Ballard captivates audiences with his expressive eyes and powerful movements. He has danced with rising star and viral sensation Saucy Santana, gaining recognition for his bright personality and undeniable talent.

Jamal Deandre: Raising the Bar

Jamal Deandre exemplifies a dancer who continually raises the bar. He has been part of some of pop culture’s most iconic performances with artists like Nicki Minaj, Gwen Stefani, and Lil Nas X. Deandre’s passion and determination, evident since his late teens, have propelled him to the forefront of the dance world. His performances, characterized by his striking look and fiery passion, consistently captivate audiences.

Fame Louboutin: A Legendary Teacher

Fame Louboutin is an underrated story that should’ve been told long ago. When you think about the vogue dance scene in St. Louis, Fame has been a cornerstone for the last two generations. He has taught some of the best in the city all their elements. His unique ability to teach almost everyone comes from his experience as a trained dancer in jazz, ballet, tap, and hip-hop. As a choreographer, he has spent the last 10 years dancing and choreographing for pageants across the country and doing college vogue workshops. As a competitor in both the mainstream and
Kiki Scene, he has beaten various legends and icons, winning countless trophies.

Mariah Ebony: The Showstopper

Mariah Ebony, nicknamed the money girl, was once the highest-earning vogue fem in the
history of Ballroom. From vogue fem to fem queen performance, this fierce competitor has won over $20,000 in cash and prizes, along with countless end-of-the-year awards and trophies from across the country. Mariah has captivated audiences online with her viral videos, and her show-stopping performances on big stages at festivals and music events leave the crowd craving more.

@voguelandtv Mariah Ebony LSS #explore #voguing #vogue #ballroom #dance #foryou #dancer #pride #pose #fyp #free #explorepage #voguefemme #ballroomscene #fypシ #explorepage✨ ♬ original sound – Vogueland Tv

Tramon Richard: The Persevering Spirit

Tramon Richard represents perseverance and dedication. A dancer who pushed himself past any fears to make his dreams come true, he has danced with legendary stars like Christina Aguilera and new-age sensations like Lil Nas X. Tramon has already established himself as one of the most successful dancers of his generation to come out of the Show-Me State. With a strong spiritual background, he balances his navigation of the dance world with grace. Experienced in various styles, a master in heels, a liturgical dance storyteller, and a hip-hop wizard, Tramon excels in every genre he explores.

These dancers are just a few of the many St. Louis-born talents taking the world by storm. They remind us that, while entertainment giants like Los Angeles and New York may host the auditions, the most dynamic dancers often come from the Gateway City. St. Louis dancers embody the spirit of the Show-Me State, proving that when they step onto the stage, they will show the world what they’re made of.

Edited by: Camille E. Smith

Feature image by: Trellseye Photography for RFT

Maven Lee