Culture

Dashaun Wesley and The House of Garçon Team Up to Celebrate Ballroom Legacy

Celebrating Washington D.C.’s Pride Parade with “The Ballroom Is Open.”

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Dashaun Wesley and The House of Garçon Team Up to Celebrate Ballroom Legacy

Celebrating Washington D.C.’s Pride Parade with “The Ballroom Is Open.”

For the past 48 years, Washington D.C.’s Capital Pride Parade has celebrated the history of the LGBTQ+ community by honoring and respecting the origins of the community’s continued fight for equality. To amplify this mission, Marriott International turned the spotlight on D.C.’s ballroom scene, solidifying the parade’s theme and overarching mission by coining it “The Ballroom Is Open.” The underground ballroom scene which has served as a place of refuge and safety for Black and brown LGBTQ+ youth, has remained as a declaration of autonomy and affinity for the community at-large. 

As a part of this year’s annual parade, ballroom legend Dashaun Wesley and The House of Garçon, an internationally-established and locally-rooted organization, joined forces to spread cheer and love atop the Marriott International Pride float. Adorned with an iridescent chandelier and decorated with flags, fans, and T-shirts proclaiming “Open to love, Open to expression, Open to all,” the float served as an acknowledgement of ballroom’s influence on feeling confident, included, loved and uplifted. 

While Wesley made his first Capital Pride debut this year, he is a pioneer of the ballroom scene and was introduced to the community through the self-proclaimed “Mecca” that is New York City’s West Village. Serving as a site for balls in the ‘90s, Christopher Street was a destination for knowledge, renewal and uninhibited self-expression. His passion grew to purpose as he was credited with bringing ballroom back into the mainstream with his performances on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew in 2009. Most recently, he served as the MC on HBO Max’s ballroom competition Legendary. From teaching classes to sharing oral histories, Wesley’s dedication to visibility and prosperity for the ballroom community and its history never wavers. 

Looking back at his experience leading the parade, Wesley expressed his gratitude. “It’s such a pleasure and honor,” he said. Usually houses don’t have members or people outside of their house to be a part of moments where they can celebrate with each other.” Sharing the stage with the “legendary, sophisticated” House of Garçon and honoring their impact was a big moment for Wesley. Going forward, he is excited to see future generations continue to “support the growth of Black and brown ballroom participants,” he added. “We are now in a place where we can now support our upcoming leaders and front runners of the community in educating everyone about the growth and history of ballroom.”

In the gallery above, see what went down during Washington D.C.’s Pride parade. 

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