The MadonnaTribe team has recently had the chance to meet
award winning choreographer Luis Camacho,
best known for his work with Madonna, for a funny talk about
his carrer and his work with the Queen of Pop. Luis had
influenced Madonna with his Vogue-ing style and choreographies
that were used both in the Vogue music
video and in Blond Ambition, the tour in
which Camacho was one of the leading dancers. He later recorded
the hit "Queen’s English" with fellow Blond
Ambition dancer Jose Guitierez, the song that sees Madonna
herself singing the chorus and backing vocals, and also
appeared in motion pictures such as "The Bird
Cage" and the infamous third installment of
So, don't you stand there, let's get to it, read this page,
there's nothing to it...
Luis, welcome to MadonnaTribe.
How were your early years and what made you decide to
become a dancer?
And how important is Dancing in your life?
Luis Camacho: Dancing is very important
to me in my life. It has been a big part of my life ever
since I was a kid dancing in front of the T.V. I wanted
to be a Solid Gold Dancer so bad!
MT: The first time fans saw you working
with Madonna was when the Vogue video came out in April
1990 and weeks later you were on stage with her in the
Blond Ambition Tour. How have you been chosen? Did the
auditions for the video and tour take place at the same
LC: I sent in a video tape because I
heard she was looking for "voguers". We eventually
met her and did a private audition for her. Madonna then
asked us to come to the regular audition to see how we
would match up with the other dancers.
And at that audition, Madonna was impressed that we had
technical dance technique as well as the ability to vogue.
She wasn't aware that many of us technical training as
MT: What was like meeting her for the
LC: Madonna was very small, and petite.
I didn't know much about her because I was a hip hop dance
club kid. I actually thought she was black.
MT: And you were not a Madonna fan then
before meeting her and getting to work with her...
LC: All I knew was "Holiday"
and "Borderline" and wasn't aware of her music
videos. Basically, I wasn't a fan at all.
What do you think about Vogueing? Madonna took it from clubs
and made it something of her own and mainstream. What is
that this type of dance is able to express?
started long before Madonna ever brought it to the mainstream.
People who vogued were expressing and conveying model poses
that were seen in the fashion magazines. Images that conveyed
a lifestyle that alot of the people who vogued didn't have.
It was an escape for these individuals as well as myself.
brilliant capacity of transforming things that are originally
enjoyed by a small group of people and turning them into
pop culture has been both hailed and heavely criticised
over the years. What do you think about that?
LC: I think Madonna
has been a voice for the underdog. I admire her efforts
in trying to broaden people's horizons with different cultures,
for example Dance, Fashion, Religion, Sexuality.
MT: What is the concept of the Vogue video?
It is being shot in Black and White by director David Fincher.
How was working with him?
LC: It was amazing working with Director
I was just a kid from "el barrio" and this was
my first foray into the Hollywood scene and make up of what
it takes to produce a music video of this caliber.
I was very fortunate that this was my first gig.
MT: Was the Vogue
dance choreography developed at the same time for both the
video and the Blond Ambition Tour then?
LC: Yes it was.
MT: And then the Blond Ambition Tour came,
a show that is still remembered as Madonna's most famous
and contro-versial tour ever. How was being a part of it?
LC: I am honored
that is has its place in History. We broke many barriers
with that tour and I am still most proud of that achievement.
MT: Madonna used
to describe the dancers from that tour as a family, was
it really like that?
Did you feel really part of a family?
LC: Absolutely. Madonna was the young hip
slick and cool Mom that everybody wishes for.
And she took care of us the moment we stepped off the plane
in Los Angeles (where we rehearsed) to the moment the tour
MT: One of
the most remembered moments of the tour is the (in)famous
Like A Virgin scene on that red bed. You were one of the
dancers who performed that number.
What was your first reaction when you were presented with
the routine and the costumes the first time during rehearsals?
LC: The first
time we saw the costumes, we loved them! The fact that they
were so over the top and would cause controversy was what
appealed to me the most. Not too mention that they were
We (Jose & I) also had a part in the choreography for
that number. Many of the moves were taken from our vogue-ing
just slowed down and made more sensual.
MT: Is there a "Like A Virgin perfor-mance"
around the world you especially remember?
Canadian police threatened to arrest you all for that, right?
LC: That was the memorable night of that
We almost went to jail for that. The ironic thing is that
after the show the Police didn't see anything wrong with
the performance and we did not change anything that night
to appease them.
anything we made it that much more provocative. If we
were going to jail, we might as well go for something
MT: And is there a special memory of being on
tour with Madonna and the other dancers that you want
to share with our readers?
LC: There were times when Madonna would
just take the dancers and the singers out to dinner when
we had a day off and it was just us.
We could relax and tell her what was going on with us
on Tour when we were not around her.
Those nights were quiet and intimate and very special.
MT: A great and entertaining tv performance
you took part to was Vogue at the MTV Awards in 1990.
Madonna was dressed up for the first time a la Marie Antoniette
and you did a solo with her during the rap part.
did you and Madonna come up with that idea if you know and
was it easy to learn the re-adapted tour choreography of
the song for that particular show?
LC: We came up with the concept during
a game of charades during the last night of the tour.
Jose and I choreographed the number.
Let's talk about Madonna's first tour documentary that was
shot when you were travelling around the world with the
Blond Ambition Tour.
A few months ago you attended and introduced a special screening
of "Truth or Dare" at ArcLight in Los Angeles,
when the film came back on a threatrical screen for the
first time in years.
been told the screening was a huge success, how was watching
the documentary after 15 years?
LC: It was good seeing it on the big screen
Re-living the larger than life aspect of that time in my
life. It was also good to hear all the positive things had
to say about the film.
I was amazed that people still remembered me.
MT: How was watching yourself on the screen
now? In the meantime Madonna has evolved a lot. How did
Luis Camacho evolve over this period?
LC: The tour and the film definitely changed my
life. I was just a naive kid from the lower east side of
New York City.
And now I like to think that I am more mature with a more
stable head on my shoulders.
And how was touring with the documentary crew?
LC: It was all good until that knock on
your hotel room door with a camera in your face.
Do you remember any funny episode that has been filmed by
Alek Keshishian during the tour that did not make the final
LC: It wasn't funny but a fierce performance.
My drag performance in Spain when Madonna met Antonio Banderas
for the first time.
And do you have a favourite moment in the film maybe?
Our "kee kee" session with Slam was reading about
Oliver and Madonna being lovers and the press thinking it
MT: During the Blond Ambition you have travelled
through Japan, Usa and Europe.
Did you find differences in the reaction to the show of
And what do you think about the fans that attend Madonna's
concerts. Many people say they are different from fans of
LC: The Japanese audience and fans were
The American audiences were the biggest noise makers.
And the Europeans were absolutely crazy.
They were fainting and you could see their limp bodies pop
up from the crowd and float forward towards the security
guards and medics.
Along with dancer Jose Guitierez you had the chance to often
work with Madonna again after the tour. Let's talk about
the Rock The Vote commercial for MTV. By watching the clip,
it looks like you had a great time shooting it. How was
being on the set and do you have some memories from that
LC: We shot that commercial in Greenwich
Village in a brown stone. The most memorable moment for
me was watching Madonna in red bra and panties with the
American flag and the controversy it was going to create.
In 1993 you were one of the co-writers with
Dj and producer Junior Vasquez of the cool song Queen's
English that was released on a Sire/Warner records compilation
called "New Faces" and also as a single.
It features backing vocals by Queen of pop herself. How
did that project come to life? And how Madonna got involved?
English is another term for our "gay pig latin"
that we use to speak. We thought it would be funny to capitalize
on this way of speaking because we spoke it so much to each
other. Whether it was reading some other queen or just trying
to communicate with each other without the other person
knowing what we were talking about.
the idea and said she was down to sing the hook.
MT: So that's the concept behind the song and
the lyrics "Queens that read are the best".
LC: Yes, we would use this type of language
to read other queens thus we were the best at it.
MT: Do you have a favourite Madonna song?
LC: "Angel" and "Everybody".
MT: What did you learn, both as an artist
and as a human being, from the chance you had to meet
someone like Madonna on your path?
LC: That all is not what it seems.
Never take anything at face value.
Tenacity, focus and hard work.
MT: Was becoming a choreographer a sort
of natural evolution starting from being a dancer?
Do you feel they are separate things or just two different
sides of a same art?
feel they are two different sides of the same art. Choreography
is just an expression of ones self through the art of
their own dance and creativity.
MT: And what about acting? Did your experience
in Truth or Dare help you to feel comfortable in front
of a camera?
MT: Among the other incredible artists
you worked with throught the years, do you have a favourite
LC: Besides Madonna, Lisa Velez from
Lisa Lisa & The Cult Jam is one of my favorites.
MT: What are you plans for the future?
Music, Dance, Acting?
LC: I would like to get into directing
and I have started to do so by directing various cabaret
shows with my partner Dan Gore and our company ICONS.
MT: As an award winning
choreographer what advise would you give to young people
who have the dream to become dancers today?
Follow your dreams. Dream the impossible
dream. It came true for me, it will for you.
Madonna's forthcoming album is called Confession
On A Dancefloor? Are you looking forward to see her dancing
on the dancefloor again?
I am looking forward to hearing her new album
and the creativity that will come with it.
Luis, thank you for sharing your memories
with our readers.
More than welcome and thank you all for your
kind words and support.
For more info on Luis Camacho please visit his official
Thanks to Dan Gore for his precious help and assistance.