Fittings’ Unlimited commission, The Unlimited House of Krip, will bring together four dancers / performers who identify as disabled to rehearse and perform in the House of Suarez Liverpool Vogue Ball as The Unlimited House of Krip. Clara Giraud, Unlimited Project Manager, asks Fittings Producer Adrian Turrell-Watts a bit more about the project.
CG: What is a ‘House of Krip’?
ATW: A House is a group of performers who compete using performance and dance in competitions known as Vogue Balls. The ball movement has its roots in 1960s/70s America where young LGBTQ black and latinx gangs would come together and compete for style supremacy using fashion and dance as an alternative to gang violence. These groups were known as ‘Houses’ to mirror the couture houses of Paris and New York. The Vogue movement came to the attention of mainstream culture in the 1980s/90s through Malcolm McLaren and Madonna, and through the documentary Paris is Burning. In recent years, balls have taken off internationally and throughout the UK with major events instigated by House of Suarez In Liverpool and then in Manchester. The House of Krip will be a brand new House bringing disabled performers to the ball scene for the first time.
CG: What gave Fittings the idea to create a performance like this?
ATW: I’ve been working with House of Suarez to produce the Vogue Balls in Liverpool and Manchester since 2012. Part of my remit for HoS has been to encourage new Houses to enter the ball from diverse communities like drag groups, actors, performers and costume designers as well as dancers. I encouraged Garry Robson, Fittings Artistic Director, to come along to one of the balls in Manchester and he was struck by the passion, the attitude, the acceptance of different body types, the fun and the pride. The Balls are very much about identity, self-expression and a celebration of community. Watching from a disabled perspective, it also struck Garry in particular how close some of the body movements, particularly the hand and face gestures were to BSL. All that was missing for us was a house of disabled performers. A House of Krip.
CG: What kind of people are you looking for to audition? Is it suitable for someone who’s not a professional dancer?
ATW: We are looking for a diverse range of performers to audition. They certainly don’t need to be professional dancers but they do need to work as a team with other performers and be open to learning new ways of performing with our directors and choreographers. They should be confident enough to perform in front of a large and very enthusiastic audience but we will spend two weeks in the rehearsal room giving the House lessons is the Vogue dance styles and a background in Vogue history. We’d like performers to relate their own experiences to the ball and in their performances. They will be encouraged to relate to other Houses competing in the ball and take part in a short documentary we’ll be producing about the creation of the House and the Vogue movement.
CG: What will the audition day be like?
ATW: The audition day will be informal, friendly and will consist of a workshop with Mark Smith of Deaf Men Dancing and Darren Suarez from House of Suarez. Garry Robson will be there to communicate our vision for the House of Krip and I’ll be overseeing the day and be on hand for any questions or problems. We will be looking for performers who work well together as the Houses are often seen as families that look out for each other as well as competing with other Houses in the balls. We will encourage the performers in the House to communicate outside of rehearsals to discuss ideas and share their experiences and, although we’re only able to work with four performers at this first ball, we’ll be looking at performers with the potential to join the House in the future and potentially for other projects.
CG: Any top tips for applicants?
ATW: Yes – be yourselves. Don’t be shy. Be comfortable. Look out for each other and be open to new experiences.
Interested? Send in your resume and a photograph of yourself before Friday this week. All information about the call-out, including how to apply, can be found at here.