Forces At Work: Kumari Suraj & Waackfest

Born on the dance floors of LGBT nightclubs in Los Angeles during the 70s disco-era, the theatrical dance forms of Waacking/Punking/Pose/Vogue became a means of expression, typically involving the swinging of arms over and behind the shoulder in rhythm to the music from the DJ. Other elements such as posing, footwork became equally important to the dance style. Popularized by Soul Train, Waacking became a way to compete against others on the dance floor, showing off dexterity, glamor, and understanding of musicality and rhythmic interpretation.

Decades later, the dance form made its way back into the limelight thanks in large part to the incredibly talented and ever-lovely Kumari Suraj, who’s Waacking/Punk choreography was showcased on the national TV hit So You Think You Can Dance. Additionally, in 2010 Suraj created LA’s International Waack/Punk/Pose Festival as a positive response to negative bullying and social turmoil of the global Waacking community. In a celebration of life, breaking down the lines between Disco, Waack, Punk, Vogue, Gay, Straight, Trans, Drag, Black, White and Unicorned, the annual festival has brought communities together and created a safe environment for people to express themselves on the dance floor.

This Thursday Suraj brings her international Waackfest to Holocene, with a Tim Burton theme fitting for the Halloween season. The Tim Burton Ball / Waackfest 2016 will feature competitions in the following categories with various Burton themes: Vogue (Nighmare Before Christmas), Waacking (Gotham City Legends), Fancy Dress (Wonderland Lust), Sex Siren (Corps Bride), Drag King (Best Lead Actor), Best Face (Tim Burton Classics with a Twist), and Best Dressed Spectator. Of course it wouldn’t be a competition if there wasn’t money and prizes at stake, and if there weren’t fabulous judges calling the shots. The expert panel of judges include Lorena V (Mexico | America’s Best Dance Crew season 7, Mya, Jojo, Jody Watley, The Waackers, International House of Artistic Punking), Romeo Ada (PDX | PICA’s Time Based Arts Festival ‘Critical Mascara’ Winner, House of Ada, Buzz Feed Grocery Store Voguers), Carlos 007 (NYC | Arianna Grande, Fergie, Becky G, Mya, The Wiz Live), Kaj-anne Pepper (PDX | Diva Practice, Critical Mascara, Pep), and JaRon Fame (Daft Punk, Mya, and the Legendary Debbie Allen).

DJs SPF 666 and Deena Bee will be spinning jams all night, so put on your best face and come strut your stuff. Or simply come sip some cocktails, dance and watch the magic unfold, as the Tim Burton Ball / Waackfest is an event open to all and certainly one that’s not to be missed! Win a pair of tickets to the ball and save $40 at the door, simply by tagging a friend on our Instagram post here