Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-03-03



Salim Gauwloos: Slam I Am
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 4892 times since Tue Jan 1, 2008
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

In 1990, Belgian Salim Gauwloos ( a.k.a. Slam ) was an esteemed dancer with New York City's acclaimed Steps Dance School when he was suddenly thrust into the limelight as a background dancer on Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour. Not only did he travel around the world, but the handsome dancer was featured in her videos ( notably, Vogue ) and her documentary, Truth or Dare.

Now, almost two decades later, Gauwloos has found his niche teaching his favorite passion, dancing. He talked with Windy City Times about choreography, Madonna—and Jennifer Lopez's butt.

Windy City Times: Now you've been to Chicago, right?

Salim Gauwloos: Oh, yes. It's such a cold city in January—oh my God. It's really funny. Before I went on tour with Madonna, I was actually supposed to move to Chicago ( in '89 ) . I auditioned with Hubbard Street Dance, and the director at the time was Lou Conti. I was going to live there for a few years. But the city is nice—it's like a clean New York.

WCT: How did you become interested in dance?

SG: At first, I wanted to be a gymnast; I started training at 12 and did it for about three years. But then, I wanted to do the girls' stuff; guy's gymnastics have no music, and I wasn't interested in that.

I then decided to give dancing a shot. It was a way of expressing myself through music and movement. I did classical dance ( ballet ) in Antwerp, Belgium, where I grew up.

Then I auditioned for Steps in Belgium. My friend and I both auditioned, and we both won it; that's how we ended up in New York City.

WCT: And then there was auditioning for Madonna.

SG: Actually, my first job in America was Star Search! It was me and two girls in a group called In Effect. We lost in the finals.

Jennifer Lopez auditioned for our group—but her butt was too big! [ Laughs ] Everybody else's butt was so small that it didn't work out. But look at her now.

The whole Madonna thing was very simple. There was an ad—"Madonna is looking for dancers." I went, and it was crazy. I liked a few of her songs, but I was never a diehard fan. I never thought it would be such a big deal. She was there from the beginning to the end—with her little self.

WCT: Would you say that Truth or Dare [ accurately portrayed ] you and her?

SG: I mean...yeah. I guess so. With me, I was young, gay and in a big city. But she was the editor at the end of the day, and there were six months of footage. I didn't agree with what they put in the movie, but you have to take it all with a grain of salt.

WCT: The movie made [ the other dancers ] look like you were picking on [ fellow dancer ] Oliver.

SG: Yeah, but he wasn't the easiest to get along with. People don't always get along; at work, there's always somebody who annoys you, right? [ Laughs ] I don't think he was homophobic; he just seemed to have little homo moments himself. ... When I look back, it just seems cute.

WCT: When was the last time you talked with Madonna?

SG: Oh, I haven't talked with her for about 15 years. We kind of drifted apart. Maybe our paths will cross again; I'm a choreographer now.

WCT: Let's talk about you being a choreographer. What have you done?

SG: People ask what my dance style is; a woman wrote about me and described it as "dance nouveau," so I [ took ] that.

For two years, I did Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida on Broadway; I worked with Toni Braxton, Michelle Williams from Destiny's Child and Deborah Cox. What a voice, that lady. I choreographed Aida for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS, and the response was out of this world; I won a "Gypsy of the Year" award for doing that. That was when I said, "Oh, my God. This is what I want to do."

People ask me why I left the commercial world. I left it a little but it just wasn't feeding me anymore. I'm a little sick of it. Today's music seems to have no soul. I just want to work with different companies.

I then worked with Fernando Bujones, a really big deal in the ballet-dance world. He was the artistic director of the Orlando Ballet and that's how I got involved with [ that troupe ] .

WCT: So where do you work now?

SG: I'm located in New York but I fly around the country, teaching [ dance ] workshops. I just came back from Texas [ said with a twang ] .

WCT: And how was that?

SG: It was good. It's very redneck-y. I took my partner with me, and we rode out to the airport. We went to the bathroom and we heard these two rednecks say, "Now we just have to get rid of these gay parasites." But I just have to laugh at it.

WCT: Who are your favorite dancers/choreographers?

SG: Martha Graham—oh, my God. What a brilliant woman. Even Madonna [ shows some influences of ] Graham. What was that video in the desert—Frozen! Even now, Graham is influencing people. I also like Jiri Killian and William Forsythe.

WCT: What does dance mean to you?

SG: Dance is everything to me. If I didn't have dance, I would've lost my mind.

See for more info.

This article shared 4892 times since Tue Jan 1, 2008
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.

Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.