‘We are the new mecca’: can New York’s underground ballroom scene survive the hype?

As the ballroom community attracts mainstream attention – and influence – many within the scene view the growing popularity with skepticism and trepidation

The temperature was barely below freezing on the night of 19 February, but inside a converted warehouse in Queens, New York, thousands of people had gathered for the Coldest Winter Ever Ball – one of the largest ballroom events to ever take place.

Over eight hours, members of the House of Gorgeous Gucci, House of Lanvin, House of Balenciaga and House of Garcon among others faced off to the sounds of R&B, hip-hop and house music, competing for trophies and cash prizes in categories such as Runway and Queen of Sex before a cheering crowd of predominantly queer and trans people of color. Ballroom is a competition, but it’s also a community – a space where people can live unapologetically and be celebrated for doing so.

Continue reading…