Kiki/IFC Films

Paris Is Still Burning In The Gagworthy Ballroom Documentary “Kiki”

The sublime new doc revisits New York's ball scene in the 21st century.

It’s been a quarter-century since Jennie Livingston’s Paris is Burning, but New York’s ballroom community is still thriving: A hit at Sundance last year, the documentary Kiki chronicles the new scene and comes to theaters and VOD on February 24.

Kiki/IFC Films

The world has changed a lot for the LGBT community, but queer youth of color still find community in the larger-than-life dance competitions showcasing choreography, pageantry, costumes and of course, fierceness. And they still battle homelessness, illness and prejudice, but now its in a world where they can find visibility, political power and support for their gender identity.

Kiki/IFC Films

Swedish filmmaker Sara Jordenö gained unparalleled access to the scene, capturing exhilarating performances and touching personal stories over a four-year period. While Livingston has been criticized in some corners as an outsider, Jordenö worked closely with ball veteran Twiggy Pucci Garcon on Kiki, giving it the authenticity only an insider can provide.

Kiki by Daniel Bergeron
Daniel Bergeron

“I used to say that I want the film to change the conversation,” Jordenö told IndieWire, “but I also want people to want to dance, to feel the joy and empowerment—the shift that I think is happening.”

Kiki arrives in theaters on February 24.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.