Originality is a term that is valued markedly by students at the College. This Saturday night, individuals from the student body — and all over — will have the opportunity to let loose and show their unseen colors at the ninth annual Drag Ball.
p. “You never know who’s going to show up,” junior Robert Tisdale said. Tisdale is the president of the College’s chapter of the Lambda Alliance, the organization that has hosted the dance for almost a decade. In addition to offering an eccentric night of entertainment, the Lambda Alliance holds the event to promote Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender awareness in the Williamsburg community.
p. This year’s Drag Ball will be at 10 p.m. Saturday night at the University Center. Admission is $5 at the door, and the theme of the night is Burlesque. For those who don’t know, “burlesque” implies that the atmosphere will be filled to the brim with humor, mockery, charades and possibly a striptease or two.
p. Students often take the event as an occasion to be fabulously creative with their apparel. There is no formal dress code of any sort, so themed attire is optional. “You don’t have to go in drag,” Tisdale said. “Some people do, and some don’t. It’s always fun to see different takes on [the costumes].”
p. While the College provides some funding for Drag Ball, the admittance fee goes toward entertainment. Four professional performers from the area have been hired for the evening: Miss Naomi Black, Faith Devereux Warner, Sydney Devereux and Fushia Deville will unveil their talents as professional drag queens.
p. While the event is slated to have a typical turn-out of approximately 200 to 250 students, there are expected to be a few surprises this year. “You can do a lot with Burlesque” Tisdale said. The host of the evening, Black — a performer who has hosted all of the College’s Drag Balls in years past — is said to have “a little surprise with her,” according to Tisdale. Whether this mystery implies that Black is updating the dance moves in her standard show or simply adding a few new costumes to her wardrobe is unknown.
p. “Naomi is one of the best in the region,” said senior Sean Barker, Office Manager of the Lambda Alliance. “[She’s] one of the best I’ve seen.”
p. Black never intended to become a drag queen. After pursuing a career in modeling, she got into the business due to the influence of a couple of friends and encounter with a professional drag queen. Now, she lives a life that she describes as “Hollywood on a smaller scale. It’s kind of like having the best of two worlds. I’m your average, everyday person at home watching TV and I also have the glitz and glam of celebrity notoriety.”
p. In terms of how the College’s Drag Ball compares to other venues at which Black has performed, the entertainer claims that “it’s not the best drag in the world, but it’s interesting.” Though Black has fond memories of every Ball that she has hosted at the College, the very first one was her most unforgettable experience. “I get there, and it’s like ‘TRL.’ These kids were crazy and excited. That show was so amazing to me.”
p. According to Black, her act is toned down because of the dance’s location on a college campus.“The Drag Ball is a little taste of what the performance is like,” Black said. The bars and taverns where she normally performs allow for a more comprehensive display of her talents.
p. Not only do students in the Williamsburg area come to support the event, but people have been known to travel to the College from different states. “We always get students from other colleges,” Tisdale said. He also mentioned that students from a other Virginia schools such as Virginia Commonwealth University and Old Dominion University have flocked to the Ball in past years.
Though Drag Ball is not the typical party, students at the College are usually very receptive to the dance. “I haven’t seen instances when people were against it,” Tisdale said. “It’s a different kind of party than the usual [fraternity] dance parties.”