Make a Way Out of No Way: Club
Make a Way Out of No Way: Club
Is it possible to dance our way out of the hardened stances and identity prisons we are locked in? A 4-hour MikeQ set and performances by three of the greatest performers of black working class dance in the USA.Read
What we wrote about it at the time: A special 4-hour set by MikeQ: the ‘crown prince’ of modern ballroom music with performances by three of the greatest performers of black working class dance in the USA.
Is the club a world within a world? Can it be a space in which we can organise our bodies, our selves differently? Is it a space in which we might still be able to dance our way out of the time-traps and identity prisons we are locked in? What happens if we think of house music or social dance forms as ways to organize our bodies in relation to this quote from the Krumper Dragon – “most people think: they’re just a bunch of rowdy, ghetto, heathen thugs. No, what we are is oppressed”?
A special 4-hour set by MikeQ: a member of the House of Ebony and, according to FACT Magazine, the ‘crown prince’ of modern ballroom music. Ballroom music is an intensely physical, body-dropping, spine-snapping re-fashioning of house music, built explicitly for and in response to black, latino, queer, trans, gay, lesbian, bi or straight bodies in movement. It activates those bodies into motion. And in doing so, ballroom music helps to create spaces in which those bodies can be organised – sometimes as a refuge from violence, sometimes allowing different wayward, unpredictable socialities to be practiced.
Miss Prissy is the Queen of Krump, a black working class dance form emanating from LA. When we watch her dance we’re reminded of the great black scholar WEB DuBois’ idea of frenzy that Fred Moten turned us on to. Frenzy, as a collective expression of (religious) black experience, isn’t only a kind of mania; it varies from “silent rapt countenance or a low murmur and moan to the mad abandon of physical fervour”. We think of this idea of frenzy in relation to pain and community and a kind of understandable fury, and we think of Krump as a form of social organising that translates damage and disarray into dance.
The Legendary Pony Zion Garçon is the master of Vogue Femme Dramatics within the Black & Latino LGBTQ Ballroom community. Fred Moten talks about DuBois’s idea of the preacher in the Black Church – not as the leader of that community or an already established individual subject, but as the emanation of the congregation that bears the trace of the sociality that produced them. Getting at dance this way, we think of Pony’s movement as eloquently expressing what his community already knows, momentarily re-presented back to them by one body before it falls back into the community, so that another emanation might rise out of it.
Kia Labeija is a member of the Iconic House of Labeija in the Ballroom Community in New York. She won the Women’s Performance category at this summers Latex Ball, and collaborated with us all on the Masters Ballstar Weekend events in April. Open about her HIV status, she is becoming an increasingly important voice and representative in the youth AIDS constituency. Her performances sit at the intersections of nightlife, community and a form of fantasy – a kind of danced, bodily commitment that reminds us to something Fred Moten has said – “I believe in the world and want to be in it. I want to be in it all the way to the end of it because I believe in another world in the world and I want to be in that. And I plan to stay a believer, like Curtis Mayfield.”