5 Questions with Ace

Choreographer and Dance Captain for SBS Mardi Gras float

So Ace, what’s this extra role you’re taking on?

Well, I’m taking part in my 6th Mardi Gras with SBS, however this year’s parade is even more special as I’m honoured and privileged to be the Choreographer and Dance Captain for our amazing float. This involves not only coming up with the routine we’ll be performing as we make our way down Oxford Street on the night, but also teaching the routine to our 70 plus participants made up of LGBTIQ+ staff members and allies.

This will be SBS’ 7th year marching in the parade. Why is SBS so involved?

SBS is an organisation which wholeheartedly lives and breathes diversity and inclusion, so taking part in the Mardi Gras is a no brainer really. We have embraced and championed LGBTIQ+ inclusion for many years; in fact we have been awarded the LGBTI Brand of the Year 3 years in a row. But it all starts within the organisation: through our staff led Pride and Allies Group; the leadership of the Media Pride initiative; and of course from the content we create, publish and broadcast, reflecting the world in all its shapes and colours. There’s no better example than being the proud host broadcaster of the Mardi Gras parade! However, what I’m most proud of is our thought provoking and inspirational content offering, as we go beyond just the glitter, feather bowers and Instagram selfies. We tell the real life stories of every day members within the LGBTIQ+ community, from the struggle to the celebration and everything in between.

Why are you involved in Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras is so special as it’s a celebration of how far we have come as a community but also an important reminder of how much work there’s still to be done, to ensure there is greater acceptance and inclusion all over the world. Sadly there are still parts of the world and unfortunately even in our country, where so much discrimination exists. Mardi Gras is a showcase of diversity in all it’s forms, showing the world that we not only see you, but we embrace and love you entirely.

Tell us more about this year’s coverage?

It’s actually very exciting this year as we are broadcasting the parade LIVE for the first time on television and on SBS On Demand. In fact, our streaming on SBS On Demand will be free from geo-blocking, which means we can share the magic of the night with members of the LGBTIQ+ community and allies from all over the world.

What excites me most about this is that it shows people, particularly people from parts of the world where they might not be able to live their full truth yet, that there is a place and time where you can live your truest self. That it is possible and that it exists. To never ever give up because you are loved for being you, because let’s face it, there is no greater joy than being able to just exhale and wholeheartedly be your most authentic self.

I know for a fact that people will see the broadcast and experience the importance of seeing themselves on the screen, as I was once one of those people. I remember vividly my younger self tuning into the coverage and just being wowed by the parade and also inspired to one day take part. So if you would have told my younger self, who spent hours dancing to the divas of the 90s and early 00s, that I would one day not only take part in the parade but also choreograph a float, I would never have believed you. So when we hit Oxford Street this Saturday night and we perform the routine that we have worked so hard putting together, it will not only be for SBS, the community and its allies, the person I am today but also my younger self. I will never forget him.

So how have the rehearsals been going and what can we expect from the SBS float on the night?

The rehearsals have been going so well and have been a lot of fun. Everyone is putting in a lot of hard work, but also having an amazing time. I’m so proud of everyone’s effort and the support they have been giving one another. It’s very special to be a part of it.

I tell the participants every rehearsal, especially those taking part in their first parade, that it will be something that they will treasure for the rest of their lives. Most importantly though, to remember the feeling of being a part of something so special and to spread the love and joy experienced on the night beyond the parade and in their everyday lives. Let’s be real here, the world could always do with a little more right?

As for the float and performance itself, I won’t give too much away. But I will say that we will reflect the worlds diversity, whilst performing to an upbeat dance track that everyone will recognise. At it’s core though, it’s all about celebrating love in all it’s forms and with all the colours of the rainbow, after all, Love is Live on SBS, so tune in.

See you soon!

Ace.

" I am proud that SBS tells the real life stories of every day members within the LGBTIQ+ community, from the struggle to the celebration and everything in between."