House of Suarez

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Seven Deadly Sins 2017/18

Costume Commissions

The Legendary House of Suarez is delighted to announce the opportunity for emerging costume designer-makers to showcase their talents at the Vogue Balls 2017/18 in Liverpool and Manchester
through three funded costume commissions.


House of Suarez (HoS) Dance Theatre Company was set up in 2006 by Artistic Director and choreographer Darren Suarez. The company seeks to raise the profile of Vogue Dance styles by creating new works and opportunities for performance and by teaching Vogue dance techniques to professional artists and dancers in training.

Between 2010 and 2016 House of Suarez has produced seven Vogue Ball events in Liverpool, attracting artists and participants from across the North West region, the UK and internationally. The ball was extended into Manchester in 2014 and each year since. The Ball will be extended as a pilot in a third Northern City in 2018.

Inspired by the underground Balls begun in the 60s and 70s in New York’s LGBT communities – that were then popularised by the Documentary film ‘Paris is Burning’ and by Madonna’s hit single ‘Vogue’ – The House of Suarez Vogue Balls are major public events that give opportunities for both professional and community artists to compete using dance, costume, makeup, styling and fierce attitudes.

Groups of artists come together in teams – known as ‘Houses’ – and compete on a runway in any or all of five categories in front of a large public audience as well as a panel of industry judges.

All five categories require participants to present heightened styles and attitudes. Two categories focus on dance style and technique whilst the other three focus on costume, character and presentation.

Each year the Houses compete around a given theme with past themes including ‘Twisted Fairy Tales’, ‘Gods and Monsters’, ‘A Space Oddity’ and ‘The Sugar Ball’. In 2017/18 the theme will be ‘Seven Deadly Sins’.
Costume Commission Brief

In 2017/18 House of Suarez is commissioning three costumes to be presented as part of the three style categories at the balls in Liverpool and Manchester.

The Seven Deadly Sins Ball is inspired by the seven cardinal sins in literature, on film, in theatre and in our imaginations…. Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride. Which one (or how many) will you represent? Are they within you? Are they in others? How do they move? What do they wear? Bring them to life…. Serve Your Sin.

The commission is open to any costume artist aged 18 or over and based within the UK. We welcome applications from artists in training, emerging artists and experienced designers.

One design will be selected for each of the three costume categories by a panel of industry professionals and the artists will be awarded a budget (to include all materials, labour, storage and transport costs) in order to realise the design into a wearable costume. All costumes will be presented as part of the Liverpool Ball on 21st October 2017 and the Manchester Ball in Spring 2018.

The three categories within the Seven Deadly Sins theme are ‘Fantasy’, ‘Realness’ and ‘Sex Siren’. The designs MUST follow the theme of The Seven Deadly Sins.


Budget £750

It’s odd, extravagant or eccentric in style or mode; strikingly out of the ordinary; very strange or unusual. The Fantasy category offers the widest range of creativity and display. The category is larger-than-life. Think  installation as costume that must also be practical in presentation for the performer.


Budget £500

The Realness category celebrates the other, the mask, the illusion. It’s about Rich/Poor, Male/Female, Straight/Gay, Better/Worse. It’s about the performer using a look and an attitude to convince the audience they are what they are and the costume is all important in proving a point.


Budget £250

This category celebrates the body beautiful in all shapes and sizes. Less is more but the costume will need to enhance and beautify. It’s all about seduction but without the nudity.

Costumes can be designed for any gender. House of Suarez will select models/performers for the selected commissions informed by the chosen design. Artists are welcome to suggest their own models/performers but they will need to be available to present the costumes at both Ball events in October and March. There will be no additional payments for performers. Final selections will be based on the quality and ambition of the designs and the panel’s confidence in the ability of the designer / artist to complete the work to a high standard.

After selection the chosen submissions will need to be realised and delivered by the final deadline with up to two fittings arranged in consultation with House of Suarez. The designer will be expected to store their final costume until the end of the second ball in Manchester. The costume will then remain the property of House of Suarez

Time scale

Deadline for all submissions:  Friday 28th July 2017 by 5pm
Chosen submissions announced:  Friday 11th August 2017

Budgets will be released and fittings arranged in consultation with the artist and House of Suarez.

Final delivery deadline for completed costumes: Friday 20th October 2017

House of Suarez Liverpool Vogue Ball ‘The Seven Deadly Sins Ball’ – October 21st 2017
House of Suarez Manchester Vogue Ball ‘The Seven Deadly Sins Ball’ – March 2018 (date tbc)

Submission Information

Artists may submit designs for costumes in any or all categories. One design only will be selected in each category. Each submission MUST include:

  • Two colour sketches (front and back view) scanned in jpeg or pdf format (maximum file size 3mb).
  • A word or pdf document containing the following information:
    • Up to 250 words detailing your past relevant experience as an artist, designer or maker.
    • Up to 500 words describing your design, its concept, relevance to the category and overall theme and how you intend to realise it.
    • A brief breakdown of how you intend to spend the budget for your chosen category ( to include materials, labour, transport and any storage costs).
  • One image of one of your previous pieces of work in jpeg format (maximum file size 3mb)

Each submission should be attached to an email with ‘House of Suarez Ball Commission’ and the chosen category for the submission in the subject line. (ie: “House of Suarez Ball Commission – Fantasy. Realness or Sex Siren”

The body of the email should contain: your name, address and contact information.

Please send each submission to House of Suarez co-producer, Adrian Turrell-Watts, at

Deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 28th July 2017.

Terms and conditions

The judging panel will be made up of Darren Suarez and two members of the House of Suarez company.

The judges’ decisions will be final. We will not be able to provide feedback on the judging process.

Final costumes will remain the property of House of Suarez.

The House of Suarez Vogue Ball and Costume Commissions are funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England


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