Dance, Glitter, and Drag: Unleash Your Inner D.I.V.A.

Pepper Pepper's new show, D.I.V.A. Practice, is both a glitter-filled drag show and part of a research project, from a Portlander with an advanced degree in "fabulousness."

By Fiona McCann April 13, 2016

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Pepper Pepper and Mr E promise dance, glitter, and drag.

Image: Eric Sellers

It’s being billed as a “daring spectacle of dance, glitter, and drag.” But Pepper Pepper says new show D.I.V.A Practice is not just a performance, but also a “research project." This weekend’s performances at New Expressive Works on Belmont will showcase the first of three planned pieces that “explore the relationship between drag and dance as art forms.” The entire project comprises a solo piece, an ensemble piece, and the duet opening Friday, April 15.

For this first show, Pepper Pepper—a trained dancer and longtime staple of Portland’s drag scene, known by many from the annual TBA show Critical Mascara—partners with “Mr E.” “a drag chameleon here in town also known as Erika Stanley.” The two “prance, twist, and get fabulous” to an original score by Cabiria Jones, with a few pop numbers thrown in.

With a solo piece already close to completion, Pepper’s plan is to tour with the first two shows to drum up support and interest in the project to enable the realization of "a fuller, large-scale version of this work so that I can tour nationally, maybe internationally.”

“What I really want to do is to take what I know about the construction of fabulousness, the construction of power, the construction of gender, and share that with other people,” says Pepper.

For a piece of that, check out D.I.V.A. Practice. And yes, that is an acronym—but, says Pepper, you have to see the show to figure it out.

D.I.V.A. Practice is at Studio 2 at New Expressive Works, Apr 15–17 and April 29–May 1.

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