Cultural Frontline – House of Kenzo

BBC World Service

House of Kenzo are the underground dance collective revolutionising Texan nightlife. We join Breezy, Roxy, Flo, Gemel and Toni over a weekend, as they perform at the opening of a queer film festival in Austin and in their hometown of San Antonio.
Each performance is a conceptual piece of artwork with built in messages of radical self-expression, body positivity, ecology and community. Constructing a DIY stage on the dancefloor, House of Kenzo blend jaw-dropping dance moves – voguing, krumping, break dancing in ten inch heels – with avant garde club music, shouting explicit mantras at the audience – inviting them to join in a communal, often cathartic, dance battle.

For local artist Ben Aqua, they represent the future of queer culture. Their volatile energy, flamboyant fashion, and total freedom of expression are inspiring a movement in Texas – a traditionally conservative state. Their events are often a springboard for other LGBT artists of colour in the underground nightlife scene.

Local journalist and DJ, Dan Gentile, believes House of Kenzo have a real future not in just music but in performance art, the type of higher end culture that would traditionally be difficult for an underground art collective to break into.

To date, they’ve performed showcases at Austin’s SXSW, Day For Night Festival in Houston, and are beginning to tour all over the US, and will be travelling to Europe for the first time this October.

Producer: Victoria Ferran

Broadcast Date: 15th September 2018