Against a sky blue background, dancer Jamari 007 describes his experience at a ball as chance “let go of not having to be somebody that I don’t want to be at that time.” One dancers says it’s “100 percent pure fantasy.” Carlos Lanvin says that “growing up in the Bronx, you have to carry this tough skin. Finding Vogue allowed me to express myself in a way I couldn’t express myself anywhere.”
Sam Smith sings against an emerald wall. Jamari 007, with glitter painted on his lips, lies back on a chair and fans himself. In a parking lot, several dancers talk by a car. Kevin Stea talks with someone as he walks backstage with several friends.
Smith dances under a golden, twisting lights. Jamari 007 and several other people dance on the wooden floor. A young woman walks to the dance floor. Stea passes several drag queens. In the emerald painted studio, Jamari 007 practices in his studio. Lit in scarlet red, Calvin Harris sits against a wall.
Stretching in smoke, model Winnie Harlow arches her back while she lies on the floor. Two people comb a young man’s wig. Harlow stands up in the dark. A New York City backdrop appears behind her. She puts her hands on her hips while on the runway. Smith walks the runway.
Smith holds his drink while people dance around him. Harris and Smith sit on the railing of a building.
A woman, in a full glitter suit, dances.
A wine red curtain draped in the studio, Harlow kicks up her legs on a stand. The dancers hang out on the rooftop of an apartment building.
Against the New York City backdrop, Smith leans his arm against an ice blue window frame. Glitter falls on the runway while the dancers shake their arms and hips. Smith waves Jamari 007’s fan.
Harris and Smith stand on the runway while the dancers perform behind them.
In the early 980s, several houses within ballroom competed against one another. Performers were recruited and leadership help to create a family for LGTBQ youth. The House of Xtravaganza was one of the early houses and originally had Latino performers and was Meanwhile, the House of Aviance (founded in 1989) focused on self-confidence through dance and quickly became a trendsetter, coining the phrases “Aviance Storytelling.” The House of Mizrahi has become international, It hosted a ball in Paris, France in 2015.
The ballroom community created voguing, which Madonna popularized in the late 90s. DJ’s create their own mixes and post them on the Internet. However, despite vogue being a mainstream term, it still remains an underground culture. The well-known houses maintain websites and social media. Most usually rely on newspapers to publicize their events. Pose, a hit television show on FX, which features trans characters living in a house, delves into the family atmosphere the community cultivates for its members.
Each house is unique and has its own history. However, other than a few scattered articles, ball culture is still unfamiliar to those outside of the community. It remains firmly underground with a few hints from a competition at a local bar or viewing of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Director: Emil Nava Year: 2018