Experience an unforgettable evening of dance and conversation with two award-winning families of choice. The Legendary House of Comme des Garcons, one of New York’s top ballroom organizations, will demonstrate the art of runway walking and discuss the house system’s importance to Black and Latinx LGBT youth. Prestige, a competitive step team from New Rochelle will perform and discuss the bonds of step, a form of percussive dance that combines foot-stomps and handclaps with spoken word. The program will be moderated by Dr. Shante Paradigm Smalls, professor of Black Literature & Culture at St. John’s University who has published extensively on hip-hop, Black performance, and queer & trans* aesthetics.The Legendary House of Comme des Garcons will be represented by NYC Mother Aaliyah Garcon, NYC Princess Egypt Garcon, and NYC Prince Leyria Garcon
Participating Artists/Groups:Prestige Step Dance Team, led by Karen JohnsonLegendary House of Comme des Garcons, feat. NYC Mother Aaliyah Garcon, NYC Princess Egypt Garcon, and NYC Prince Leyria GarconDr. Shante Paradigm Smalls (Moderator)
The Legendary House of Comme Des Garcon is a ballroom organization founded on the principles of fraternity, education, advocacy, and professional growth. The house encourages its members to be progressive women, men and transgendered adults. Opened in 2008, the house of Garcon has become a thriving family with a strong track record of grand prize wins in domestic and international ballroom competitions.
Prestige Step Team is an award winning high-school step team in New Rochelle, directed by Karen Johnson. The team has been competing since its formation over a decade ago.Role in project: performer; discussant.
Shanté Paradigm Smalls, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of English and Black Literature & Culture at St. John’s University. Dr. Smalls teaches and researches Black popular culture in music, film, visual art, genre fiction, and other aesthetic forms. They are currently finishing their first scholarly manuscript, Hip Hop Heresies: Queer Aesthetics in New York City, which won the 2016 CLAGS Fellowship Award for best manuscript in LGBTQ Studies. Dr. Smalls’ writing has appeared in The Black Scholar, GL/Q, Women & Performance, Criticism, Lateral, American Behavioral Scientist, The Black Scholar, and the Oxford Handbook of Queerness and Music. They received their Ph.D. in Performance Studies at New York University, and their B.A. in English at Smith College.