Dancing Queen: Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2

Dancing Queen

I saw my first drag show 40 (shudder) years ago in Tampa, Florida, the summer I came out of the closet. After college, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia for six years. I remember Tiffany Arieagus from Tampa and Dawn Dupree from Atlanta. I worshiped their performances. Of course I also remember RuPaul getting his start, but Ru wasn’t what I would call a drag queen back then. He was doing gender fuck – Mohawk, eye make-up, jock strap, and thigh high boots.. kinda of punk sci-fi drag for lack of a better term. I watched a lot of drag shows back in the day. To be honest, they were the only gay clubs that served a bit of elegance. You could reserve a table, dress up, meet your friends, and feel like you were back in the earlier part of the 20th century. Over the years, I grew less interested in drag. It didn’t seem to move forward. So much of it feels like the same shtick I knew and loved back in the day. I know I’m in the minority given the popularity of Drag Race. And I love love love that RuPaul has gotten the recognition he has over the past ten years. I have loved seeing his career take off to the point where he is now a permanent and positive part of our cultural landscape.

So that brings me to Dancing Queen, a show about a young man who owns a dance studio outside of Dallas, Texas.  Justin Johnson whose alter ego is Drag Race contestant Alyssa Edwards deals with Dance Moms and obsessed (mostly) young girls hoping to quench their thirst for stardom. It’s not a bad show, it’s just too cookie-cutter for my taste. And the drag cutaways remind me of drag from my youth. Like I said, not much has changed. It preaches a good message. I could do without the religious references. But it’s all a part of their branding I’m sure. The positive messages are good for young kids. 3 out of 5 because the world needs more diversity.

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