The talented human shakin’ these pastel #CakeWalk shells is Seattle dance educator and Bomb Squad babe Tracey Wong. Tracey is formally trained in waacking, voguing, hip-hop, and house, and minored in dance at the University of Washington, where she took courses in modern dance, jazz, and ballet. She also currently reps more than one dance crew; Malicious Allure, a waacking and voguing performance group, kiki house, and crew, and Chinatown After Hours, a collective group of street dance battlers and organizers for the community.
She’s also the event organizer for Funkee Monkee’s monthly open sessions, as well as the organizer for the annual all-womxn dance battle Queen of the Hill @ Folklife Festival – the largest waacking battle in Seattle, Punk & Funk. She also works at a local and POC-owned boutique called Moksha, located in Seattle’s International District. Not just a boutique, Moksha collaborates with and gives artists platforms for their work.
As if all of that isn’t already completely badass, she’s also training in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and has recently taking up DJing. You can probably understand why we wanted to learn more about her.
Make sure to keep reading after the Q&A for Tracey’s upcoming classes and dance battle events, plus a sweet behind-the-scenes video of Tracey showing off her moves for this photo shoot!
Have you been a dancer your whole life? What got you into it?
A year after my training in the studio, I began learning more of the foundation in hip hop and other street and club-style dances.
actually started training in dance at almost the age of 21. I had always loved to groove and get down with my friends at functions and dabbled a little in Lindy hop whenever my mentor would take me, but I never had the financial privilege or knowledge about dance classes that I could take. I took my first hip-hop choreography class with my homie, Alexa at Westlake Dance Center. After that, we kept coming back every week to take it because it was so much fun. After class, we would just be so pumped. We did a student performance called Sign of the Times and after that, I kept dancing more consistently.
More and more opportunities kept coming my way to move towards performing, competing, joining crews, and I kept saying yes and worked hard at whatever I committed to. I worked really hard! What kept me STAYING was learning about the rich culture in street dances and knowing that there was way more than what I thought street dance was. There was a community that worked hard to keep the culture going and help elevate folks.
Did you have any heroes in the dance community growing up?
Dang, a lot of folks inspired me in the community. I looked up to folks for different reasons and could learn a lot just from watching ’em. One person who comes to mind right now is Rina Pellerin from Vancouver, CA. She inspired me to want to learn how to waack and I took my very first waacking class was with her a few years ago.
Two other people that I look up to as mentors are Kumari Suraj and Dani Tirrell. Both Kumari and Dani have taught me about the importance of understanding the history and roots of street and club-style dances. All these street/ club-dance styles came from black/latinx communities and a lot of the times many folks don’t know much about the culture so there is a lacking of the feeling and essence for the dance styles. I am definitely still learning, but I appreciate these two a lot for being able to challenge me to do better, to explore what inspires me, what the dance means for me, and to keep diving deeper in my own individuality.
One more hero…my boyfriend, Lonnie! He has been with me since day 1 of my dancing and before I thought to continue dancing, he saw the fire in me and told me to always go full out 100% in it because he believed in me. If I never had that push, his constant love and support, I would probably not be where I am today.
You instruct classes on waacking – is it your favorite style of dance?
Waacking, Voguing, and House are my favorite styles of dance. These are all club-style dances and the dance styles I typically do when I am at the club. These are my favorite because these are styles that help heal me. When I do these dances, I feel feminine and empowered. I feel as if I am re-claiming my body, my sexuality, myself. A decade ago, I was struck and dragged by a speeding car as a pedestrian and had major physical injuries to the body and mind. Functioning physically and mentally were difficult. It was a lot of trauma I was trying to heal from and I am still trying to navigate my healing process with this.
These dance styles are more than dances, but a culture – conversations I share in exchanges with my friends in the dance community. It is so releasing to be able to free myself completely through expression via movement and my experiences to drive my movement.
You recently posted a video on Instagram of you DJing – how long have you been DJing? Are we about to see the rise of bb DJ HAI CHEW?
I am definitely a bb when it comes to DJ-ing. However, I am feeling really grateful for so many opportunities being given to me so it drives me to work even harder. I started learning from DJ magicsean in the fall and had my debut in February of this year. I have 3 gigs lined up for next week and it’s so much fun being able to create good vibes especially for my dance community to get down to! I am still trying to decide what my DJ name is going to be, but leaning towards DJ Mac Tray!
If you had a chance to collab on a music video with any musical artist, who would be in your top three choices?
(1) Erykah Badu
(3) Louie Vega
Last but not least… Favorite Bombsheller design?
#Seattle1890 – I have so much love for Seattle as I grew up in Beacon Hill. Of course, so much has changed since then, but I have mad love for my community of folks that still keep it 206.
#killbill – The Bruce Lee leggings because he and martial arts are huge inspirations for waacking. He is also my role model and makes me feel proud to be a Chinese American.
Thank you so much, Tracey, for taking the time to let us get to know you better and for a great photo shoot! You can find Tracey on Instagram as @Mactrayy to stay up to date on what she’s up to next, and make sure to check out some of her upcoming events below this adorable behind-the-scenes video!
Tracey recently placed in semi-finals in a solo competition and her group Malicious Allure placed 2nd in the crew competition! Check out these events if you need a little help with your dance moves or just wanna cheer her crew on at their next battle!
FUNKEE MONKEE :: Funk, Soul, and Disco Open Session
MONTHLY OPEN SESSIONS
Upcoming Dates: Tuesday, 5/1 and Tuesday, 6/12
830-10pm @ The Beacon: Massive Monkees Studio
PUNK & FUNK (VOL II) :: Waacking and Open-Styles Dance Battle and Party
A FUNDRAISER FOR QUEEN OF THE HILL
Saturday, May 5th | 4-10pm @ The Beacon: Massive Monkees Studio
*4pm-5pm: Waacking Workshop with Sheena
*530pm: Battles Begin
QUEEN OF THE HILL :: All-Ladies 7-to-Smoke Openstyles Dance Battle
DANCE WORKSHOPS/ PRE-PARTY/ QUALIFIER BATTLE
Saturday, May 26th
12pm-3pm Dance Workshops @ Washington Hall (open to all)
430pm-8pm Qualifier Battle & Dance Party @ The Beacon: Massive Monkees Studio
Saturday, May 27th 2-330pm @ Seattle Center’s Mural Amphitheater
“Special shout-out to Trichome Seattle… a local and POC-owned shop in Chinatown/ID that also supports me and will be helping to sponsor Queen of the Hill. Please go support!” – Tracey