A new documentary following Brisbane ballroom stars House of Alexander and their extravagant The Alexander Ball is now streaming on SBS On Demand.
Ballroom culture has its roots decades ago in New York, founded by Black and Latinx trans women in response to the racist, homophobic and transphobic discrimination of mainstream pageants.
Each event features fierce, cutthroat competition as the “walkers” compete on stage in various categories for the grand prize.
In recent years, TV series like Pose and Legendary have introduced the ballroom subculture to new generations.
And in Brisbane, the ballroom scene exploded in the city in 2019, thanks to the House of Alexander.
The group prepare for months for The Alexander Ball, their main event, bringing catwalks, extravagant outfits, poses, and voguing to The Tivoli runway.
At each Alexander Ball, the crowd joins in the celebration of queer performers of colour, self-expression, fashion, art, and protest.
The new 30-minute documentary of the same name follows house mother Ella Ganza, a Samoan-Australian trans woman of colour, and her ballroom family.
“Our existence is celebrated here,” Ella says of The Alexander Ball in the film.
“This event will change how the queer community see not only queer people of colour, but how we see ourselves.
“And they’re going to walk out that door believing.”
Father of the House of Alexander, Joshua Alexander, explains that “when we’re not a part of something, we feel lost.”
“The world tells you you’re nothing, but when you come up here and you walk, you’re making a statement for yourself,” he says in the film.
The Alexander Ball will return to The Tivoli on September 24, during the Brisbane Festival.
The Alexander Ball is streaming now on SBS On Demand
The Alexander Ball is part of SBS’ new Curious Australia series and is streaming now on SBS On Demand. You can also watch it on SBS Viceland channel on August 11.
The documentary’s director Jessica Magro wrote on Instagram, “A massive thank you to Ella and the House for letting us into your world and capturing your raw beauty.”
“We couldn’t have made this without you and I’m so happy your story gets to be shared in the spotlight to the nation,” Magro said.
“Here’s to more positive representation for our QBIPOC family, especially our phenomenal trans women of colour. You all deserve every success and more!”
Curious Australia is a series of seven new documentaries sharing stories of Australians of under-represented backgrounds.
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