In the name of Alexander the Great, House of Alexander is Meanjin’s (Brisbane) pioneering ballroom house, founded in 2019 by Ella Ganza (Mother of the House of Alexander & Daughter of the Iconic Father Javier Ninja) together with Joshua Taliani (Father of the House of Alexander).
Born in the vibrant streets of Harlem, New York, ‘voguing’ or ‘vogue’ is a highly stylised form of dance created by black and Latino LGBTQ+ communities. Between the 1960s and 1980s the culture emerged in competitions known as ‘balls’, with its roots tracing back to the drag competitions in the 1920s. As seen in the documentary Paris is Burning and tv series Pose, voguers would compete for trophies and cash prizes, battling for the reputation of their ‘Houses’.
Ballroom houses offer a safe space for queer black indigenous persons of colour (BIPOC). Most houses have a ‘Mother’ and a ‘Father’ who take on a mentoring role as surrogates, often providing their children with a home and a place where they belonged and accepted, while they compete against the other ballroom houses. Today, ballroom is more than just a competition but rather a way of life, and an act of survival especially for the marginalised voices in our community. With the intention of empowerment and reclamation of our autonomy, its essence ultimately celebrates queer bodies of all shapes and sizes and all identities within the gender spectrum.