Returning with a bang and a spring in its heeled step, this year’s House of Suarez Vogue Ball was all about the Iconic, the event taking place in the new venue of the Invisible Wind Factory on Saturday 15th October 2016. Mari Jones reviews.
Last year I was given the opportunity to go to the House of Suarez Vogue Ball, an event that I went along to not really knowing what to expect. After 30 minutes of the show I was hooked and a true vogue convert, the event impressing and captivating in a way in which few live events can. So when the announcement for Liverpool’s 2016 event came around, I practically leapt at the chance to once again enjoy this lavish night of dancing, spectacle, and celebration of all things vogue.
For those of you not in the know, vogueing originated in the 1960s when it was created by young, poor, black gay teens who used the catwalks to express their true selves, the fashion ‘Houses’ they joined becoming their one true families. It is this feeling of togetherness, love and uniqueness that House of Suarez so spectacularly recreates within their own Vogue Ball, the evening used as much as a celebration of that culture as a competition.
The theme of last year’s Ball was Sugar and Spice, but for 2016 it was the Iconic that took up the spotlight. Soon the stage was being invaded by icons obvious (David Bowie, Madonna and Beyoncé) and more obscure (Jessica Rabbit and even a couple of Barbie’s), each of them completely captivating the cheering crowds as they battled onstage in different categories, including ‘Realness’, ‘Sex Siren’, and the shining crown of the night: ‘Choreography’.
The costumes themselves were once again astounding, highlights including an extravagant Andy Warhol inspired outfit and a stunning sequined costume complete with vast red-feathered wings. But while these were impressive, what is more enticing is the incredible dance skills on display from all of the Houses involved. Acrobatic and mesmerising to watch, each of the solo performers really gave it their all, with the best being a twisted Wednesday Adams and a sleek, silver-sprayed dancer. Even more astounding were the group performers, drawing the night to a close and showing off their skills as icons such as Beyoncé, Madonna and Britney Spears were used as inspiration for their routines. While all the groups impressed (particularly the House of Horrors with a The Craft themed dance), it was the House of LIPA who were the winners of this Choreography category, their Egyptian themed number spectacularly invigorating the whooping crowd.
Indeed the atmosphere on the night was once again electric, the energy never dissipating thanks to both the superb performances and the ever brilliant Rikki Beadle-Blair as host, who ensured everyone was hyped up from beginning to end. Despite this though, it can’t be denied that the change in venue from the vast Camp & Furnace of last year’s show wasn’t a plus, the smaller venue of the Invisible Wind Factory meaning crowds were a little too hemmed in for comfort in some moments.
Still this minor problem certainly didn’t put a dampener on the actual event itself or on people’s spirits, with the audience enjoying themselves from start to exceptional finish, when the House of Cards were announced as the overall winners – a stunning troupe of dancers who really did bring their all in each of the categories. The crowd was so energised by this well-deserved win and by the extraordinary show that at the end most of them joined Rikki and the dancers on the catwalk to show off their own vogue skills and (in some cases) their own spectacular costumes, with many of them dancing well into the night.
My second time at the House of Suarez Vogue Ball certainly didn’t disappoint, the entertaining show once again proving to be something you have to experience in the flesh to truly feel the phenomenal power of vogue. In fact the event is fast becoming a must-see show for me and a highlight of the year, as it already has done for several other people I spoke to on the night! Here’s hoping that next year’s Ball will be just as fabulous and fun. This Diva will certainly be visiting again to see if it is!
Written by Mari Jones