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Jazz – Mad Dash: Le Cirque


    This submission pertains to the weekly drag show that I directed over the summer of 2021, titled Mad Dash: Le Cirque. The show had 12 iterations. Points of reference which relate to “Rare” are derived from ideas of ephemera, traveling shows, and the evolution of figures of comedic relief, ranging from harlequin court jesters, to mime/clowncore, and how they relate to our (my) performance of our (my) queerness/transness. The ensemble consists of a patchwork argyle chiffon dress embellished with twenty faux-fur tassels, multi colored pailletes, micro-sequin fringe, freshwater pearl & hematite spaghetti straps, a Burgundian Hennin inspired red velvet conical hat with chiffon streamers, and a set of custom jewelry.

    The compressed timeframe for preparing a costume wardrobe for two performers, in an ever changing, themed weekly show is one of the fundamental conditions that relate to themes of rarity. The design process became a representation of my material ecosystem, calling upon questions of access, budget, and scarcity (scarcity of funding, materials, and time; time for fittings, finishings, and alterations) In New York we are fortunate to have access to some of the most comprehensive material landscapes imaginable. This allows for radical ideation, even within the confines of a limited window of time/limited access to capital. Designing within these restrictions complicated the wardrobe and styling decisions making process, affecting outcomes related to choreography, synchronicity, ideas of accessorizing, or the function of accessories/props/performative tools)

    To bring focus to our incredibly open performative prompt during that weekly period, we developed an accumulating archive of reference images. This helped us plan for upcoming themes, and narrow our choices as they would relate to specific musical genres. For example, we had a Country Western themed week inspired by the Dolly Parton album titled “Halos and Horns”, for which I designed a very fitted ankle length column gown with a built in step-in-body ( prosthetic breasts, waste cincher to mimic Dolly) because I knew that my choreography would be predominantly static, relying on myself singing live. For this submission, the Le Cirque outfit, I took into consideration a desire for broad dramatic forms of movement.

    Production Credits

    Wilson Lives BK

    Hair Design – Diana Dash