Sunday Sessions presents Respect the Runway: The Red Carpet to Mastery, a celebration of the history and pedagogy of New York City’s House and Ballroom scene. The event foregrounds twined notions of mastery—namely, virtuoso artistry and the labors of teaching and learning—by engaging with the history of the Ballroom community. To walk the runway is to engage a tradition and announce terms for the ongoing project of the community. The dialogue between runway and community, unlike the conventions that govern most relationships between performance and audience, weaves a thread of debate, influence, and inspiration that is the living memory of the scene.
Respect the Runway: The Red Carpet to Mastery is part of a series of events that has emerged from a multi-year investigation undertaken by the Vogue’ology collective, which includes members of New York City’s House and Ballroom scene and the sound-art collective, Ultra-red. Vogue’ology is grounded in the Ballroom scene’s history of autonomous, self-organized struggle and a shared investment in collective art practices. Among the collective’s concerns is how the history of the Ballroom scene intersects with the multiple and often divergent struggles for freedom in the United States and elsewhere. This question guided the performance of five protocols for listening to the sound of freedom undertaken at the 2012 Whitney Biennial by Arika, the Scottish experimental arts organization, in collaboration with Ultra-red and Vogue’ology.