Balls can change your life.
“My first advice is to come,” says Will Eagle, or Father Titus Nuance, as he’s known within Toronto’s ballroom community. “I know that sounds a little obvious, or perhaps like a hard sell, but if you’ve not been to a ball before, you really owe it to yourself to experience it at least once. It’s not like anything else.”
The House of Nuance was the brainchild of Eagle and Matt Sweet (Mother Trouble Nuance). After attending the First Almighty Ball at the Gladstone, the pair immersed themselves in Toronto’s ball subculture and the “kiki” scene. And although they initially walked the runway for fun, their passion for the form soon evolved into what would become Canada’s second house.
“After perhaps a year or so, the House of Monroe had reached a point where they had really created a scene with traction in Toronto, and people were discussing when a second house would open and who would do it. On a long, snowy drive back to the city one day around that time, Matt convinced me it should be us. We decided that day to form the House of Nuance. It was so, and we’ve never looked back.”
The focus of the popular 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning, the ballroom community and related house system are known for incorporating diverse elements and costumes into performances and for challenging various conceptions of gender and sexual identity. So what can people expect to see at #artlive?
“You can expect to see performers on a runway doing things that you didn’t think were physically possible,” Eagle says. “You’ll see people dressed in ways that make Halloween look like a day at the office. Mostly, you’ll see me a bit drunkish near the stage living for the competition of it all, gasping at the shade and wondering when I should commit to taking my heels off.”