Q: TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
A: My name is Tine, my pronouns are she/her and my ballroom name is Kissa. It's a Finnish name because my main category is New Way and I learned most of it from Joonas Ninja, who is Finnish. It's kind of a little tribute to him. I've experimented a lot with other styles like Old Way, which I learned from from Suzume/Sandra and Vogue Fem thanks to Lynn Ninja. I even walked a little bit of Sex Siren but New Way is really where my heart is and where my body is the most at peace. It feels the most natural to me.
I sell sex toys and give vulva centered sex education along side with it. I also make a lot of clitoris illustrations to make people more aware of that very important organ, which became a little side business of mine. I think it's essential to accentuate the pleasure of the vulva, because we cannot have consent if we do not enjoy ourselves and to do so we need to educate ourselves.
Q: HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE BALLROOM?
A: For me ballroom is ..community. That's the biggest thing for me, even now in times of Corona. I really come together a lot with my ballroom community in Gent, we jam, experiment and train together. It is a reason to get out of the house and do something, connect with people. Right now, in these times, that's really what it means to me. But in general for me ballroom means demanding space. When I'm walking a ball I really can't be insecure, I cannot show even a little bit of doubt because the judges will notice and they will chop you. So you really need to be confident and own your space, take up your space, claim your moment and just own everything you're doing. Making decisions in every movement. It's really important that we learn to take up space, since ballroom is a predominantly black, Latinx and Queer movement, voguing is and always has been a protest. Joy, community and expression are a rejection of an oppressive system and an essential way to stay alive in a society that doesn't want you to.
Q: HOW DID BALLROOM INFLUENCE YOUR LIFE?
A: I came out as bisexual recently and being part of the voguing community made it a lot easier. It gave me a safe space before I even knew I needed it and that has done a lot for me really. I also learned to reclaim my femininity, sexuality and was able to rediscover myself away from the male gaze. I conquered a lot of fears, and built a lot of confidence. Ballroom has been an important contribution to my life and strength, and always will be.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR MISSION IN BALLROOM? ARE THERE GOALS YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE?
A: It's really important to me that while the ballroom scene is expanding in Belgium, we maintain respectful of the culture and the history. I want all of us to be mindful of what we are representing, keep treating this artform with the dignity it requires, and centre the people who created this safe space out of need in the first place. I think one of the things that can still improve within ballroom is the fact that a lot of the categories are still very binary. It's noticeable that more and more people are voicing their discomfort with those limitations, so I'm happy those restrictions are being questioned.