It is in dance that our bodies and minds come alive, so it comes as no surprise that even as early as the 1800s, into the drag ball scene of the 1920s, then the Harlem Drag Balls and House Balls, to Paris is Burning and RuPaul’s Drag Race, gay, trans and queer people of color have found a space for each other to celebrate identity and embrace their chosen family in creative movement. Now Ballroom—not ballroom dancing, but the larger-than-life performances, the fierce fashion, and more—finally gets its time in the spotlight.
On June 10-11 and June 17-18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., dance film platform Fifth Wall and the Philippine Ballroom Community come together for “Ballroom 101,” hosted by the Trailblazer of the Filipino Ballroom Scene, Xyza Mizrahi and Nunoy Revlon. Through this engaging learning series, one can gain a deeper appreciation for the historical significance and cultural impact of Ballroom. One can learn how walking in the ball, and its specific categories, holds special meaning for the Ballroom community.
“It is of utmost importance to give respect to our elders and peers because without them we would have never been part of the ballroom community. They fought to pave the way to where we are today,” says Nunoy Revlon, semi-finalist on Legendary Season 3 and Prince of the House of Revlon. “Hence, it is crucial to have more educational events for the ballroom community so that we can impart to people that ballroom... is a lifestyle and culture deeply connected to the POC LGBTQ+ community and it shows the hardships that we are currently overcoming step by step.”
“Ballroom 101” is the first in-person session of Fifth Wall’s Warm Up Classes. “Our ties with the Ballroom community date back to our first (and virtual) Warm Up Class together in 2021. It was a crash course on the history of Ballroom and was a success, to say the least. Students from the Philippines, Vietnam, Mexico, and even as far as Greece engaged in the brief but meaty discussion,” says Madge Reyes, Fifth Wall Festival founder and director. “Fast-forward to today, and with the burgeoning local Ballroom scene, the Fifth Wall goal remains: for its platform to link communities through the universal language of dance.”
Learn how it all began on June 10 as Xyza Mizrahi and Nunoy Revlon dip into the historical roots behind the vibrant Ballroom Scene and see how the ball culture has shaped up to be what it is today in History of the Ballroom Culture.
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On June 11, know more about the Ballroom scene by learning about the balls themselves in The Ball: Old Way, New Way, Vogue Fem with Xyza Mizrahi and Nunoy Revlon with special guests Jaja Revlon and Venus Revlon. With houses, roles, titles, and more, the balls have staple elements that give shape to their structure. This session also jumpstarts conversations on the different ball categories. This class will explore the essence of the different performance categories (Old Way, New Way, Vogue Fem) through dancing and dialogue.
The second Ballroom 101 weekend begins on June 17 as Revlon and special guests Jade 007, Maia Revlon, and Ponla Mizrahi spotlight Realness, Face, Body, Sex Siren. These categories have made a strong impact on the Ballroom Scene and remain among the most significant categories in ballroom. To walk in these categories is to tell a story and express identity.
On June 18 is The Ball: Runway, Fashion Delight, Best Dressed +. Nunoy Revlon and special guests Aman Sinaya Ninja and Ozkurr Mizrahi will dive into the history of the Runway, Fashion Delight, Bizarre, and Best Dressed fashion categories to fully understand the splendor and creativity behind donning elaborate garments at the balls.
Ballroom 101 will be held at Stay Up Espresso Bar, Kapitolyo and virtually on Zoom on the weekends of June 10-11 and June 17-18. Single in-person sessions start at P350 while package rates start at P1,200. Each purchase of an in-person ticket comes with one complimentary drink. Zoom participation is on a pay-what-you-can basis. Follow fifthwall.ph on Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram for updates.