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 "Austin Powers".
So, don't you stand there, let's get to it, read this page, there's nothing to it...


MadonnaTribe: Hi 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 time?

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 dancers.

MT: What was like meeting her for the first time?

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.


MT: 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?

Vogue-ing 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.

MT: Madonna's 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 David Fincher.
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?

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 ended.


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 tastefully done.

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.


: 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 performance.
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.


If anything we made it that much more provocative. If we were going to jail, we might as well go for something really naughty.

: 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.


How 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.


MT: 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.


We've 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 again.
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?

: 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.

MT: 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.


MT: Do you remember any funny episode that has been filmed by Alek Keshishian during the tour that did not make the final cut?

: It wasn't funny but a fierce performance.
My drag performance in Spain when Madonna met Antonio Banderas for the first time.

MT: And do you have a favourite moment in the film maybe?


LC: Our "kee kee" session with Slam was reading about Oliver and Madonna being lovers and the press thinking it was Slam.

: During the Blond Ambition you have travelled through Japan, Usa and Europe.
Did you find differences in the reaction to the show of these audiences?

And what do you think about the fans that attend Madonna's concerts. Many people say they are different from fans of other artists.

LC: The Japanese audience and fans were reserved.
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.


MT: 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 shooting?

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.


MT: 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?

Queen's 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.

Madonna liked the idea and said she was down to sing the hook.

: 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?

: "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?

I 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?

LC: Absolutely.

MT: Among the other incredible artists you worked with throught the years, do you have a favourite one?

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.

As an award winning choreographer what advise would you give to young people who have the dream to become dancers today?


LC: Follow your dreams. Dream the impossible dream. It came true for me, it will for you.

MT: Madonna's forthcoming album is called Confession On A Dancefloor? Are you looking forward to see her dancing on the dancefloor again?

LC: I am looking forward to hearing her new album and the creativity that will come with it.

MT: Luis, thank you for sharing your memories with our readers.

LC: More than welcome and thank you all for your kind words and support.


For more info on Luis Camacho please visit his official website

Thanks to Dan Gore for his precious help and assistance.

Copyright 2005 MadonnaTribe


Idol is presented by