Who are the Prancing Elites?

July 2, 2015

The Prancing Elites. Photo by Jake Chessum, via People.

Ever heard of J-setting? I hadn’t either, until I read this week’s New York Times feature on the Prancing Elites. Hailing from Mobile, Alabama, this group of young, gay African-American men are rising to stardom and crushing stereotypes by performing the blend of ballet and cheerleading known as J-setting. Evolved out of majorette routines in the 70s, J-setting’s style-fusing charm is popular at gay cultural events and is said to have influenced Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” video. Reactions to the Elites have been mixed — they’ve been kicked out of Christmas parades in the South, but were celebrated at last week’s Pride Parade in NYC. They’ve started conversations about identity and performance, and have challenged their haters with their unrelentingly joyous moves. The first season of their reality series, “The Prancing Elites Project,” finishes up this week on Oxygen.

The entirety of the series is on YouTube, so you can get a taste of the Prancing Elites’ sequined routines full of jazz turns and Nae Naes. Though I’m not exactly sure where the ballet comes in, there’s no question that the Elites can dance.