In the Philippines, transgender beauty pageants are big business. Joshua uses choreography to explore what this (sub)culture can teach us about gender, identity, beauty politics, and hidden colonial pasts.
The Philippines is a bona fide record holder in the realm of international beauty pageants, boasting no fewer than fifteen wins in competitions such as Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Earth and Miss International. And beauty pageants are serious business in the country itself. In the city of Cebu, for example, the Queen Philippines contest takes place every year, the largest and most prestigious event of its kind for transgender women. In ‘MISS’, dancer Joshua Serafin explores the politics, culture and practices behind the queer beauty industry.
Zooming in on the strict regimes and choreographies of the industry, Serafin casts a critical eye on the codes of performativity typical of the transgender beauty contests of the Philippines, ‘where queerness explodes any fixed categorisation of femininity and fantasy’. Serafin based this work on interviews with a number of regional queens. In this way he unravels not only the mechanisms behind these contests but also the religious and colonial influences that can still be felt today.
Joshua Serafin is a multi-disciplinary artist that combines, dance, performance, visual arts and choreography born in the Philippines. His works deal with questions about identity, transmigration, queer politics and representation, states of being and ways of inhabiting the body.
Joshua is a graduate of Philippine High School for the Arts where he majored in Theatre Arts. He studied at Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and at P.A.R.T.S., and is currently taking his Masters in Fine Arts in Visual Arts in KASK School of the Arts Ghent.
Joshua Serafin has collaborated with multiple artists in Asia and Europe ranging from performance to visual arts such as Arco Renz, Eisa Jocson, Manuel Pelmus, Bruno Isacović, Ming Wong, Adrian Wong, Choy Ka Fai, Leeroy New, Korakrit Arunanondchai, and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, and etc. He has presented his work in Deltebre Dansa in Spain, Queer Zagreb Croatia, Centre National de la Danse in Paris, Wing Platform Hong Kong and Bouge B Festival in deSingel.