Legacy Vogue Ball

Auckland Town Hall, Auckland

20/03/2021 - 20/03/2021

Auckland Arts Festival 2021

Production Details

Strut, Serve, Spin and Dip!
From its birth at Te Puke o Tara hall in South Auckland, ballroom culture in Aotearoa has grown over the past seven years as a safe space for queer communities to celebrate and grow.
For the first time, the three main houses of ballroom, AITU, COVEN and IMAN, are collaborating to continue this legacy, and open their doors to all.
In partnership with FAFSWAG, the Auckland Vogue scene invites you to strut up to Auckland Town Hall for an extravagant evening of runway divas, stunty vogue battles, gaggy effects, seductive sex sirens, competition and cash grand prizes.
Whether you’re a ballroom cheerleader, a runway walker or a balcony voyeur, this is a fashion and dance extravaganza not to miss. All are welcome!

Come learn the fundamentals and build your confidence in preparation for the Auckland Arts Festivals Legacy Ball. Learn from the pioneers of the Auckland Vogue scene and equip yourself for the floor. Places are limited so please register to attend.

FAFSWAG in partnership with fa’afafine, takataapui and drag communities. 

LGBTQIA+ , Dance , Cultural activation , Boylesque ,

60 mins

Intersecting Currents

Review by Dr Mark James Hamilton 22nd Mar 2021

In the closing days of Auckland Arts Festival, just as the Pride celebrations drift away, the city’s Victorian town hall reverberates to heavy bass lines. A super diverse crowd gather around the raised runway for an extraordinary vogue ball. This cultural phenomenon began in 80s New York and its tentacles of slick moves, glitzy outfits and gender fluidity have reached across the planet. In this renaissance global scene, the houses of Aotearoa have an exceptional place. These collectives thrive at the rich intersection of the distinct Pacific lineages of our fa’afafine, takataapui and drag communities. Fiercely nurturing mothers and fathers lead these whanau of creatives. Together, they are making vogue’s amped up version of ‘fashion show cum dance battle’ into a queer Pacific expression of belonging.
The arena focuses on the stone-faced judges who melt into jubilation when someone unique and fabulous takes to the runway below them. A crush of ecstatic enthusiasts swarm at its edge, fluttering their hands and reaching out to their idols. Amidst a smattering of less prepared newbies, a large rank of slick pros walk with the looks, moves and swagger that the ball scene calls forth. When it’s high, the fashion is sheer genius. When the gloves are on, they are whipped through the air with supersonic gesticulations. And when the imagination is given free reign, then inexplicable beings emerge into the lights. I adored the three-horned creature who won the bizarre category, and wonder quite what I saw. Some participants messages are crystal clear — emblazoned on jacket backs, painted sleeves and printed shirts: “QPOC lives matter”; “I whakapapa therefore I am”; “Land Back”; and (held high on four sails following an entrant) “A I T U” – the name of one of the three houses collaborating for the ball, the others being Iman and Coven.

Dance is sometimes compared to the huge demands of sport, often to get the less interested engaged. Some of the Legacy walkers strut and pose. Yet many leap, twist and contort with a stadium-scale of presentation that triggers audience eruptions. Dipping is the hallmark vogue ball instance; dropping smoothly to the ground, back first, on one leg only. The move pulls the whole gathering’s focus in, forward and down. Undulating like trees sucked by a vortex, the fans by the runway lean in and flick their fingers high, to acknowledge this shocking, gravity defying feat.
At one point, a compere pairing up contestants speaks of making a selection based on “Gender identities as such”. This is the ball’s magic. Rules that filter and align most of our day-to-day selves are loosened to the limit. Indeed, such terms become irrelevant when speaking of the people who walk. In the most sexualized section of the evening, twerking becomes the signature act to make the most of lots of bare flesh on parade. Add to those arresting tremors the distinct markings of tatau on thighs and buttocks, and we see too that cultures are also melting into new shapes and forms in Tamaki Makaurau’s scene.
Pride was enriched enormously by the prominent inclusion of vogue events. It is a notable moment of bold programming that put this Legacy Vogue Ball in the Arts Festival. Some tides turn slowly but there is a new cultural flow rising rapidly from this unique scene. Art, identity, and community flow into one another in ways that can only urge us all to become more authentically individual. 


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