The Valleys are burning: meet the Welsh Ballroom Community in this new film

Filmmaker Liana Stewart showcases the radical ballroom talent burning up the Valleys

Wales probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of ballroom, but Into the Light, a new short film by Liana Stewart, shows that the country’s ballroom scene is alive and flourishing.

Immersing us in the Welsh Ballroom Community – “a collective of queer individuals who call each other family” – Into the Light showcases its homegrown talent, which has only grown since it was founded in 2020. “Taking the role as the founder, I’m constantly learning,” narrates dancer Leighton Wall. “It’s changed my life, it’s changed all of the members’ lives.”

Bruna, another member of the collective, adds that ballroom helped to bring them out of a “dark place” in their life, and recalls walking their first ball, saying: “I blacked out I was so nervous.”

Of course, the Welsh Ballroom Community isn’t the only UK collective providing a vibrant space for LGBTQI+ solidarity and expression; similar scenes have been popping up in London, Bristol, and Edinburgh. It is, however, the first Welsh community of its kind, providing a unique outlet for those who have grown up in Wales.

“As a Pakistani and queer individual, I feel I’ve finally found somewhere I belong,” says community member Muz. “Where I’m accepted for all my flaws.”

Read more about the Welsh Ballroom Community in Dazed’s deep dive here, and watch Liana Stewart’s Into the Light above.