Jaguar Ball brings Ballroom Culture to Homecoming

Chasatte+Simeon+performs+for+the+judges+at+the+Jaguar+Ball.

Nuha Abdessalam

Chasatte Simeon performs for the judges at the Jaguar Ball.

Nuha Abdessalam and Jazmine Grisby, Phoenix Staff Writers

The Jaguar Ball brought the ballroom culture to GSU’s Homecoming celebration, and what a ball it was.  The event was filled with students and staff cheering without a care; it was a safe place for such a gathering, just as it first began.  The Ballroom scene originated as a way to provide a safe place for those primarily within the black and Latino communities who identify as LGTBQ. A ball consisted of talent competitions in posing, walking the runway, and dancing to a trophy. The gatherings and their history instill free spirit and expression of all kinds; inclusivity is welcomed with open arms, much like the embrace received at this event. 

Held in honor of LGBTQ history month and garbed in history as well as couture, numerous Jaguars participated in a three-category competition. Students showcased their best “pose” and “runway stroll” in a series designed to illustrate a history lesson, a technique tip training in runway walking, and a chance to perform. At stake were a trophy, bragging rights and recognition from judges who are activist members of the LGBTQ community. Commentator KenTrell Gucci and other judges assessed students partaking in the following categories 

  • Runway 
  • School Spirit 
  • Best performance.  

The first category of the night was the runway walk; student Nekia “Kiaa” Driver left the crowd cheering for more. She wooed the judges as she effortlessly and smoothly landed the title of the best runway stroll. 

Marquis Park took the win in the school spirit category, not only winning over the judges but the audience as the crowd roared at his energy-filled struts and twirls, giving audience members the actual ballroom feel.  

The last category of the evening was for the best performance; student Chasatte Simeon snagged the win in this category, bolting judges and audience members right up from their seats applauding.  

The audience cheered throughout the evening’s performances, which highlighted the history of ballroom and its influence on modern society. The night’s ambiance was joyous, giving students a moment to take their minds off upcoming exams and deadlines and a chance to perfect their runway strut.  

Dr. Robert Clay, coordinator of the ball and Executive Director of Center for Student Engagement and Intercultural Programs, said: “Considering the state of the world; we are bringing in new traditions and new opportunities for students to connect and engage on campus. I’m pleased with this event and look forward to the rest of the week’s festivities.”