Beyoncé and ‘Legendary’: Ballroom culture went mainstream. Now it looks to preserve its roots
Beyoncé is poised to make history on the most momentous night of her career, when she performs Sunday night at New York’s Barclays Center. The spectacle will be the first time she will perform before a live audience of more than 500 people since 1995, when during one performance at the Miami Pop Festival she performed with pop star Whitney Houston, who also came onstage in her undergarments.
For decades, the pop culture world has talked about the rise of the ballroom culture. They have described the phenomenon as a result of the cultural power of the ladies on television, the music industry and even to date, the Internet. In a recent review by music critic Mark Anthony Neal of the documentary The Ballroom Invasion, he described the show’s concept as being “about how the new-found power of women to access pop culture is shaping all of our lives.” Neal wrote that Beyoncé is like a “female Bill Gates.”
In her own words, she sees The Ballroom Invasion as a “very important show for women who have been fighting for their right to have access to the pop culture that we’ve been buying off of television, as we’ve been buying off the Internet, for the last 15 years.”
During her appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, it was also revealed that she will be the first to perform at the Barclays Center arena in New York – which seats 500. In addition, the singer/actress is scheduled to appear as a co-host on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where they will perform a tribute to Prince.
Beyoncé, who turns 31 on June 20, was the most-watched performer on TV in 2014, according to Nielsen ratings data, earning more than 12 million viewers in June. She was also the most-watched TV performer of the year, ranking as the most-watched artist in the country, behind only Alicia Keys, who headlined the Grammys.
Beyoncé’s role on the road will include performances at the Barclays