Upcoming show celebrates Philadelphia ballroom community

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- For 22 years, Jacen Bowman has been the timeless face of Philadelphia's ballroom scene. He's helped take the once underground art form to a global stage.

"It's a great place where we come and we compete and we win trophies - just for bragging rights - to say we are the top face of the night, we are the top runway of the night," said Bowman, who's the founding King Mother of The Supreme Haus of Moncler.

This is not the ballroom you're thinking of. Jacen describes ballroom like a sport for the LGBTQ+ community, where teams are called houses and competitions break up into categories like face and voguing.

"It's an expression of the queer movement, it's an expression of femininity, it's an expression of how your body kind of moves and cultivates with the beat," he said.

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Ballroom has been in Philadelphia for more than 30 years. Jacen was recruited to the scene when he was 16 and he says it changed his life.

"To be in a space that was created for us, by us, where we were celebrated for this uniqueness, it was like a light bulb went off in my head," he said.

He's elevated his status to hall of famer and soon will even appear on the HBO Max show "Legendary."

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On July 6, Boman and his house will be hosting the Ballroom scene's first full show since the pandemic. The show, which will be at Punchline Philly, is called "Philly Nostalgia" and it will honor the founders of the ballroom scene.

"It opened up a world of curiosity and art that I never knew existed," said Bowman. "They walked so that I can run and I'm running so that the ones after me can fly."
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