Blond Ambition remains probably the most iconic of Madonna's world tours and the first images of the Queen of Pop on stage that come to mind are all from that amazing show. So no matter if her hair is curly or with a ponytail, this is to many the image of The Idol touring the world. At the same time a male face and body are instantly tied to that show in the memories of fans...

MadonnaTribe had the chance to get in touch with Slam, the Blond Ambition dancer who shared with us his story, from his early days in his native Belgium, the Vogue video, The Blond Ambition Tour, Truth or Dare and the MTV Awards, to his most recent adventures as an internationally acclaimed performer and award-winning choreographer teaming up with celebrities from all over the world. We hope you will enjoy this exclusive interview in which you'll find out what the Real Slam is like.


MadonnaTribe: Hi Slam, welcome to MadonnaTribe. You started training as a dancer in your native country, Belgium, at the Ballet of Flanders in Antwerp. What made you decide you wanted to be a dancer?

Slam: At a very young age, I was always very interested in performing, I loved watching gymnastics, and dance shows anything that would move to music.

I was eight years old, and I started off choreographing small shows at summer camp, I remember one of my first shows was to "Born to Be Alive", I picked four girls, taught them this routine, but I was always the center of attention, putting myself all the way in the front center stage, while they had to dance behind me as my backup dancers, but they still loved it.

First I tried to be a gymnast, but I wanted to do more of what the girls did… men's gymnastics are not that interesting.
So at age 12 I decided I wanted to be a dancer, my Mom took me to the ballet school to audition, and they took me in.

In a way this was a blessing, because I would never be called a "faggot", or deal with bullies anymore, because the Ballet world is so isolated. It made me feel safe it was very peaceful. The irony of it all is that I was the only one out of the closet in school!

MT: At the age of seventeen you then auditioned in Belgium for a scholarship to the prestigious Steps Dance School and were one of the two dancers who were awarded the scholarship.
Was that real beginning for you?

Slam: Well… when I first won the scholarship, with one of my best friends Heidi, I was really excited.


But then when I got here it wasn't as glamorous as it sounded. We were given brooms, and buckets and we had to clean the studios in exchange for classes.

But I would say that moving to America was the real beginning for me.
I wanted to get out of Belgium. But it's funny because I am a very ambitious person, yet I never dreamed of coming to America and make it big, it just sort of happened… My first video, before I even started working with Madonna, was Lisa Lisa's "Lost in Emotion".


MT: When did you move to America?

I moved to America June 20th 1987, and I still remember looking at the stamp on my passport.
I also remember taking a cab from JFK to what was going to be my apartment and the cabdriver kept talking about Michael Jackson, and kept driving… and we passed the airport like three times, and then he finally drove me to the city.
I ended up paying 80 dollars, which at that time was much more than what it is now! I guess that was my "Welcome to America".

MT: So how did you choose your stage name, was it a nickname you had?

Slam: I am really not sure how that happened… I think it happened during rehearsals for the tour, and it just stayed with me ever since!

MT: Speaking of rehearsals, how did you get to the audition for Madonna's tour and do you have a particular memory of that day?

Slam: I saw an ad on a dance newspaper here called Backstage, saying that they were holding auditions for Madonna's World Tour, and I just went to it. The ad itself was funny it said: looking for real dancers, not wannabees.

I got to the audition and I was impressed by how many people went, and they had flowers and presents… and I knew who Madonna was and respected her work, but I wasn't a die hard fan, I was more into New Wave Music.

MT: How was meeting Madonna for the first time? Was she like you expected her to be?

Slam: I didn't really expect anything, I met her, and she was very sweet, and the thing that really impressed me and I will never forget was her work ethic.
She was so strong, disciplined, so together… I could relate to that so I immediately connected with her there.


What I also loved and thought it was so down to earth and laid back was that Madonna herself called us to tell us we got the Tour. I remember getting her call and her saying: Hi Slam, this is Madonna, would you like to come on Tour with me? Like it wasn't a big deal. And I said: - "Yeah, Sure" not knowing really what a big deal this was!


MT: The "Vogue" video was in a way used to introduce the Blond Ambition cast before the tour started. Did you like shooting the video and could you share with us some of the memories you have from that day?

Slam: We flew down to LA to start rehearsing for the Tour (this is where I met Jose and Luis) and while we were rehearsing they told us that we were going to rehearse for two weeks for this new video Madonna was going to shoot before the Tour.

The video was shot at Burbank Studios in LA, there I met David Fincher, and I remember being disappointed because I wasn't in all the dance scenes! (I am a dancer so I wanted to dance) They put me in a suit and make me look like Valentino, and shot my part in 15 minutes… so I thought I needed to maybe work harder to be more featured.
I never knew that they were going to feature me like that, so when the video came out, I was like: - Oh… so that's why I wasn't in all the other dance scenes!

Shooting the video was amazing, Madonna was amazing, and I want to use this opportunity to set the record straight, that most of the choreography from the vogue video was created by Jose and Luis…


MT: Among the many iconic moments of the Blond Ambition tour there's the one in which Madonna does flexions on you during Express Yourself. That pose was all over in magazine back then. How did you feel to be suddenly very famous?

Slam: I was very young, so you don't really get to assimilate what is really going on, because you are going through so many transitions, and through the process of growing up… so it's hard to really try to explain how I felt.


I was very happy of course! I mean, who wouldn't? I am an artist so I love the attention. It felt great!
I also felt that all those years of hard work in Ballet School, and working by myself, for myself, was finally starting to pay off.

In Europe we would all go to the magazine stores and it was always a competition on who's picture was going to be in the magazine and it always ended up being the Express Yourself shot!

MT: We can say that in many of the Blond Ambition numbers you were Madonna's main dance partner.
You even played Dick Tracy in the "Hanky Panky" and "Now I'm Following You" numbers.

Is there a particular reason you were chosen to be her main dancer?

Slam: Because I was the cutest one! LOL! I don't know why, I guess I partnered her well… and I also believed I was good for the parts. I always worked really hard and gave it 120%.

MT: What's your favorite number or dance routine from the Blond Ambition Tour and why?

Slam: My favorite number was "Now I'm Following You" number, first because I would get introduced to crowds of 20.000 people every night, it was also really fun to portray Dick Tracy, I got to act a bit, and lip-sync. I will always remember Donna crying on the side with her little handkerchief! It was so funny to me for some reason.

MT: As a dance teacher and choreographer today what do you think about the work Vince Paterson did on the tour?

: I think that Vince Paterson did an amazing job. All the staging, the choreography, and the feel he gave to the show… We were all classically trained dancers (with the exception of Oliver) and he really used that.

Also he was (with Madonna) the only choreographer involved in the project, so the vision would come across much clearer, because these days people put shows on using three different choreographers, and to me this is like three painters working on one painting, it becomes confusing to the audience.

MT: What's your fondest memory of being on tour with Madonna?

Slam: Getting to travel to all these different countries and experience all their different cultures, and also hanging out with Jose and Luis, I had a blast with them. They introduced me to the gay life and I learned so much from them. They are two amazing guys and I will always remember them.

MT: The Blond Ambition dancers had the chance to become sort of Icons themselves thanks to the documentary Truth or Dare.
Fans had the chance to see them behind the scenes and out of character.

Looking back at the movie today how are you changed from the Slam we see there?

Slam: Well… I haven't really changed that much… I am more mature of course, but the essence is still there. I was always very real, so I don't see myself that different. I don't party anymore! But I am still the same Slam.

MT: Do you have a favorite scene in the movie?


Slam: My favorite scene in the movie is when we are in our dressing room with Jose and Luis, and we were keeeking… and reading what was being published in magazines, and Madonna comes in kind of pissed because Oliver was missing and we were always picking on him… telling us that "He didn't have the survival skills that we did" keee, keee, keee, keee, kee!

: Do you remember of any scene that was filmed and then dropped from the final cut?

Slam: That is kind of a hard question, given that we were being filmed 24/7 and so many things happened that were not included in the movie. But guess what…? I'll Never Tell…!


MT: Blond Ambition was a very controversial show, how do you feel today looking back at that cool mixture of sex and religion that got many people infuriated?

Slam: Well, I come from Europe, so everything there was already much more open, but when I got to America I realized how uptight society was, and I also would say this about the world in general, people were so stuck up on what is right and was is wrong, and this was so liberating!


The fact that two guys were kissing in front of a camera, and all the sex issues, and all the buttons that Madonna pushed, it was something great! I still have people come up to me and tell me what a great help the movie was, when they saw me kissing another guy, so many people told me they realized they were gay when they saw me in the movie!
I guess I am glad I could help them figure it out!

: Fans are dying to have Blond Ambition released on DVD and the show it's also probably the first Madonna tour it comes to mind to non fans.

Why do you think that show you were part of is still so popular today?

Slam: I think that one of the reasons why the Blond Ambition Tour became so iconic is because there was so much talent involved in that production, from the musicians, to the stage crew, to the direction, the choreography, Madonna's vision, the dancers, and it all came together on one stage coming all into perfect sync and create this amazing thing.

Not to mention that this was the time where Madonna broke all the "rules" and took it to the next level, it was by far her break through.

MT: And then came the MTV Awards. Madonna as Marie Antoinette. What do you remember of that particular rendition of "Vogue"?

Slam: Well… it starts with me, Jose and Luis getting our legs waxed at Madonna's house, because we found out that we were wearing these really short pants, so she got us a wax… and Ouch! That hurts!

And then when Madonna, Donna, and Nikki had to throw their fan, that was so rehearsed, so when that moment came we all kind of held our breaths and looked around to see if the three were still holding the fans!


And it was amazing to me how original this was, this wasn't another "dance" number that looks like all the rest, it had a concept, it was telling a story and it was fierce at the same time.

MT: Did you happen to see Madonna's tour after Blond Ambition? What do you think about them?

Slam: Well, I saw the Girlie Show, and it was "neat", just kidding! No, I really liked it, I thought that "Justify My Love" was a great number and her coming up on the platform in the opening with the whip hitting that pose, was fierce!
And honestly I haven't really seen her last ones… Ooops! But I am sure she still rocked like she always does.

MT: Madonna's new upcoming album is all about Dancing; it's called "Confession On A Dance Floor". What do you think about dance music today? Can it still be innovative along with bringing fun?

Slam: I think that this is a great chance for Madonna, to again take dance music to the next level, I mean, come on, she is the queen of innovation as far as that, and then they all follow… And still Ray of Light is my favorite album.

I think that William Orbit's collaboration was amazing. Dance music today, got a bit boring… One artist comes out with one hit and they all follow that line and try to do the same… it became very monotonous. Every time I see all these new female artists videos, I realize that the concept has been completely copied from some Madonna video.

From "Bedtime Story", to "Express Yourself", to "Material Girl", her looks… and they try to be slick, but there is only one Leader. No one can ever touch her in that field.

MT: You danced in videos for the most famous stars in the music industry such as George Michael, Aretha Franklin, Vanessa Williams, BabyFace, Courtney Love and Taylor Dayne to name just a few. Which is your favorite?

Slam: Well… I have two, Deborah Cox, and Vanessa Williams. Vanessa is an incredible person. She is so sweet, talented and down to earth, such a great mother. It was so beautiful to watch her with her kids, she is so devoted to them. Not to mention her professionalism.

MT: In your career you also had the chance to work with great photo-graphers such as David LaChapelle and even the late Herb Ritts. How were those experiences?

Slam: With David LaChapelle I did this Phillip Morris thing for Switzerland, where I portrayed a Tango Dancer, but I'd rather talk about my experience working with Herb Ritts, who was so amazingly talented and no one ever talks about him anymore.
I shot the Versace campaign with him, but I met him at the "Vogue" video shoot. I remember meeting this guy with a very nasal voice, but very sweet.
After the Tour I booked the Versace Campaign, and they flew us to Hawaii. It was so much fun! I used to go to dinner to his house in Malibu a lot, and that is where I met Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford. He was a great guy all around, and an amazing artist who should maybe get more credit… I miss him very much…

MT: What are you currently working on?

Slam: I recently finished my run in Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, where I got to work with Deborah Cox, Toni Braxton, and Michelle Williams from Destiny's Child.


This is where I got to the chance to get to know Deborah more in depth and I have to say that she is one beautiful woman in every sense of the word. So dedicated, talented and beautiful! That voice would bring the Palace Theater's crowd to their knees every night.

I am currently choreographing a new piece to be set on the "Orlando Ballet" Company under the artistic direction of the one and only, the amazing "Fernando Bujones", This piece will be performed at this year's Hard Rock Live, at Universal Studios in Florida. And at the same time working on two other projects that haven't been confirmed yet, so I will have to get back to you on that later!

MT: Slam, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us, it was really great to meet you. All the best!

Slam: Thank you for your interview it's been really fun to go back in time and search through memories…
Great site! Keep up the hard work, LOVE SLAM.


For more info on Slam, and updates on his projects, please visit

Thanks to Facundo Gabba for his precious help and assistance.

Copyright 2005 MadonnaTribe
Photographs by Kelly Sane courtesy of Slam used by permission.


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