Leith is Burning - Vogue Ball and Celebration of Ballroom Culture

Lotte Walters
Last modified: 
Monday, November 7, 2016 - 12:04

A huge thank you to everyone that came along and supported Leith is Burning at Thomas Morton Hall on Sunday!

We kicked off with a film screening of Paris is Burning to give us some insight into Ballroom Culture. Screened in the 'Wedding Suite' at Thomas Morton Hall it was an interesting and insightful documentary about a sub-culture that originated in Harlem, New York and has been making its way around the world since the 1990s. The interest in building a ballroom scene in Scotland has become more engaged in the last few years, and that has been boosted by the arrival of Kevin Revlon from Sweden this year.

The Q&A that followed the film was hosted by Ali Wren from LGBT Health and Wellbeing, she was joined by Annabelle from Dive Cabaret and Kevin Revlon. They answered a variety of questions concerning not only the film Paris is Burning, but also addressed the need for artistic expression as a means of self discovery and resilience in marginalised communities.

After a short break the Vogue workshop kicked off with Kevin in the atmospheric Thomas Morton Hall. Watching from the sidelines the participants looked incredible, and everyone agreed it was a pleasure to be taught by someone with such a wealth of experience in the ballroom scene and Vogue dance skills.

Another pause for everyone to get refuelled (and into their outfits) and the ball commenced in the Crush Foyer. The participants walked four categories - Runway, New Way vs Old Way, Face and Vogue Fem. Kevin hosted the ball, and gave all of us newbies clear instructions and demonstrations of each category. Trophies were awarded to Claricia KR, Matt, and Harry. But the crowd agreed that everyone who walked looked amazing, no shade.

The competition was supplemented by a special performance from Pepper Bakewell, who was performing a Waacking Punking Dramatics routine. Waacking is another dance style that was born in the LGBT community on the West Coast of America, and while not strictly a part of Ballroom Culture, kept us all mesmerised.

A special award was made to Kevin Revlon for being the Fiercest Host, and his Vogue Fem showcase was met with rapturous applause.

This event was only possible with the support of our partners - Ali from LGBT Health and Wellbeing, all the ballroom culture knowledge and guidance of Kevin Revlon, support from Leith Theatre Trust, photography and graphics from Deborah Mullen, DD the DJ who heroically stepped into the breach, and most importantly the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival whose small grant took the entire event from a possibility to a reality.

We want to keep this going! So are interested in hearing from anyone who would like to host a ball, a workshop, or who would be interested in taking a regular Vogue class in Edinburgh.

The next vogue event will take place in Glasgow, watch this space for more details...