Drag Workshop Teaches Performance Art to Students

Friday, September 30, 2016 Drag Workshop Teaches Performance Art to Students

More than 100 students gathered in the Unity Room at the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center on Thurs., Sept. 29, for the How to Do Drag Workshop. The LGBTQA+ Resource Center and the UNL Spectrum student organization hosted the event in place of a regular UNL Spectrum meeting. At the event, Michael Johnson and Trent Battershaw, experienced drag performers, taught attendees different types of drag and gave tips for on stage performance and how to choose the right name, music, makeup and clothes.

“Drag is making fun of gender,” said Johnson. “It’s a beautiful form of self-expression for queer people. It’s very ours, it’s very expressive, and it brings our community together. Drag’s a good time, whether you’re gay, straight, anything.”

After an educational presentation, the presenters gave attendees the choice of learning more about either drag queens with Battershaw or drag kings with Johnson. In smaller groups, Battershaw and Johnson answered questions from participants and explained their performance art in greater detail.

Students participating in the Night of the Living Drag Show on Oct. 28 got insight into how to fine-tune their performance. Others attending the workshop to learn more about the art got an in-depth explanation on what drag is and what goes into a performance.

“I haven’t really had much experience with drag related stuff in the past,” one attendee said. “I’ve watched a few drag shows that were so engrossing and so much fun that I wanted to learn more about it.”

“I’ve only been a drag queen before, so I wanted to learn about how to be a drag king,” said Arianna, another student attending the event.

The workshop was a rewarding experience, not only for those who were able to learn more about drag, but for those who were able to pass their passion on to others by teaching. Johnson, a senior, was ecstatic to see many passionate, eager-to-learn students showed up for the event. After becoming a drag king a few years ago and attending the How to Do Drag Workshop at UNL, now she performs under the name Travis Tea.

“Drag has helped me grow more confident in myself as a person and more comfortable in my body,” said Johnson.

Although there are many factors that go into a drag performance, one tip stood out from all of the rest: if you be yourself and have fun, the audience will love you.

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