A new documentary following Brisbane ballroom stars The House of Alexander and their extravagant The Alexander Ball is coming to SBS next month.
Ballroom culture originated 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 Brisbane’s The Tivoli.
At The Alexander Ball, the crowd joins in the celebration of queer performers of colour, self-expression, fashion, art, and protest.
The new documentary 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.
The Alexander Ball is part of SBS’ Curious Australia and starts streaming on SBS On Demand on August 4. It will then screen on SBS Viceland on August 11.
The Alexander Ball is one of seven new SBS documentaries
It’s part of SBS’ Curious Australia, a series of seven new documentaries telling the stories of Australians of under-represented backgrounds.
Other instalments explore the sex lives of young Australians with disabilities, and a First Nations rapper navigating the music industry.
Others feature a female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander coal mine worker who aspires to be a screenwriter and an Ethiopian-born Australian refugee and Olympic athlete in training.
SBS Commissioning Editor of Documentaries Bernadine Lim said each instalment is “distinct, compelling and meaningful.”
“Be prepared to laugh, cry and connect to worlds you might not know,” Lim said.
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