IN GLOBAL HEROES, WE SHINE THE SPOTLIGHT ON REGIONALLY CELEBRATED STARS WHO ARE MAKING A GLOBAL IMPACT
You may recognize them from the recesses of YouTube, or from Madonna’s video for “Bitch I’m Madonna” (where they strutted next to the likes of Jeremy Scott and Rita Ora). Wherever you’ve found them, it’s no secret that Tokyo-based AyaBambi have quickly become an internet sensation and snatched the attention of the fashion and dance worlds, with their hypnotic flex-filled choreography that blends traditional voguing with fluid, hyper-synchronized movements. Add to this their signature cybergoth aesthetic, and the duet Aya Sato and Bambi have invented an original dance style that shatters traditional borders.
Today, AyaBambi are not only busy rubbing elbows with the Queen of Pop (for whom they also created dances for her Rebel Heart world tour), they’ve also gained renown by racking up millions of views on YouTube, starring in Alexander Wang’s AW15 ad campaign, appearing on Vogue.com and in Vogue Japan, and recently getting engaged to each other. Here, M∙A∙C Culture talks to the enigmatic choreo couple about their love of Disneyland, why they’re much more than voguing queens, and how they choose to identify themselves beyond the LGBTQ box.
How and when did you start voguing together?
First of all, our dance style is different from traditional vogue. It’s similar in that we compose each pose beautifully, but their version of dance is a sexier groove with a more flowing motion that’s meant to extend outward to people. On the other hand, one can say our style is the opposite of vogue – because our style of motion stops the flow, it stops the time, it does not extend to people and therefore it’s unable to feel the life of people – it’s more inhuman. Our style of dance allows you to feel the cyber aesthetic.
“One can say our style is the opposite of vogue… it’s more inhuman. Our style of dance allows you to feel the cyber aesthetic.” – AyaBambi
Who is your favourite dancer in history? And what's your favourite performance (in a film, music video, etc.)?
We don’t have a specific favourite dancer, but we recently saw the Japanese Butoh dance company, Dairakudakan, and we really liked the beautiful world they created. For film, in general, we like Tim Burton.
Your personal styles tend to be edgy, all-black, gothic…what influences this? And what are your favourite products?
We are not influenced by any trends nor genres, but we like something decadent by nature. Our favourite makeup products are M∙A∙C Liquidlast Liner in Point Black and M∙A∙C Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in High Drama.
You've worked with designers from DSquared2 to Alexander Wang. What do you like most about fashion?
We’ve had many outfits we’ve liked in our past work with many designers but, in the future, we would like to wear fashion we design ourselves.
You've been engaged since 2014. What is your wedding going to be like?
We don’t plan any formal activities.
Japan is quite a traditional society. How are attitudes to gay couples and marriage changing with the younger generation?
We don’t have any ideas about that because we choose not to belong to any category like LGBT, nor do we care about social trends. We don’t look at the world this way.
What has it been like dancing with Madonna?
We enjoy dancing and working with Madonna very much. It’s an unbelievable thing that we joined her music video, and we are happy that many people could know us through our work with her.
How do you relax or recover after a tiring period of work?
During the colder months, we like to have a hot bath in a big tub or spend time in a warm country. We also like to go to Disneyland when we have a day off.
What should we watch out for from AyaBambi in 2017?
Same as always – we keep evolving at our own pace and will continue to create our favourite world with our favourite people. We will continue to show people what our passions are.