School of Music, Dance and Theatre events celebrate ballroom culture


Danielle Munoz

Come AZ You Are, a minifestival celebrating spaces of affirmation and radical joy through art as social (inter)action, kicks off Oct. 23.

The interdisciplinary festival is inspired by the vogue and ballroom culture rooted in LGBT communities and is open to all. The program bridges the diverse communities on campus and outside of Arizona State University to foster transformational community through arts and culture. 

This year's festival hosts dynamic local and national artists and includes a performance, exhibition battles and a panel discussion. The event is part of the School of Music, Dance and Theatre’s Sol Motion series and cuts across the disciplines of dance, fashion, theater, design, music and more.

This year's Come AZ You Are series of events focus on connecting communities together with an online experience through two days of Zoom events. 

The first day includes a docuseries screening of “My House” featuring Precious Ebony, Tati Mugler, Alex Mugler, Jelani Mizrahi, Lolita Balenciaga and Relish Milan, and a panel discussion featuring Marlon Bailey, Enyce Smith and alumni Caress Russell and Rylee Locker. 

During the second day, attendees will get the chance to meet eight members of the West Coast ball scene and watch them represent their category in a demo ball. "Face," "runway," "realness" and "vogue performance" are in the lineup for the night. Other festivities include performances, a vogue workshop with Enyce and a session on learning how to make your vote count. The event will include Calypso Balmain, Rosie Ninja, Torie Balmain, Legendary Mike Mike Escada, Teyana Garcon, Jaylen Balmain, Pink Escada and Rigo Ninja.

The event is co-sponsored by Performance in the Borderlands and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

In conjunction with Come AZ You Are, Performance in the Borderlands is also co-sponsoring “Soul Claps in the Sanctuary: Black Performance as Black LIberation in the '80s and '90s” on Wednesday, Oct 28. The virtual event features DJ and scholar Lynnee Denise in conversation with Marlon Bailey, associate professor of women and gender studies in the School of Social Transformation. Both Denise and Bailey focus their work on queer Black cultural movements as places of Black survival. 

During the event, Denise and Bailey will explore Black music and performance as radical sonic landscapes of Black liberation and share their perspectives on Black feminism, the cultural politics of blues and techno music, and ballroom dance in Detroit. Bailey will talk about his scholarly work on underground ballroom culture as a creative space for Black joy, and Denise will talk about house and techno music as sonic landscapes of Black liberation connected to the politics of identity.

Other co-sponsors for “Soul Claps in the Sanctuary” include the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy and the School of Social Transformation.

Both events are free and open to the public online. The in-person event is open only to registered ASU students. 

Come AZ You Are 

Day 1: 5–9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23

Day 2: 4–8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24

Via Zoom

A limited number of students who have registered via ASU Sync may choose to attend in person until the cap is reached. 

Soul Claps in the Sanctuary

10–11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 28

Via  Zoom