Willi Ninja

I’m Willi Ninja, the mother of the house of Ninja

  • Name: Willi Ninja
  • Born: April 12, 1961
  • Died: September 2, 2006
  • From: Hyde Park, New York
  • Pronouns: He/Him
  • Contribution/Impact: He was featured in the 1990 documentary Paris is Burning. He worked to make voguing and ballroom culture internationally known. Work which the House of Ninja has continued through collaborations in the entertainment and fashion industries, even coaching supermodels on posture and movement through the art of vogue.
  • Occupation: Dancer, Choreographer
  • Known For: Paris is Burning (1990); House of Ninja
  • Awards: Best known for his performance in the movie Paris is Burning, in which voguing became known, and for starting the House of Ninja, which advocates for HIV/AIDS awareness to this day. 
Willi Ninja
Isabelle B83, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Willi Ninja was an American dancer and choreographer best known for the vogueing style of dance, in which dancers will stop and pose. He was a participant in Harlem drag balls, which allowed participants to present a more fluid idea of gender. His ballroom house was a safe-haven for members of LGBTQ+ identity from the 1980s on. Throughout his life, he was known for presenting an androgynous gender to the world and helping to dissolve gender boundaries.  


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