Performers bring high-energy songs and dancing to drag show

Pangina Heals dances during a performance.
“From Thailand to the Palouse: Pangina Heals will give a special performance during the show.”

Popular drag queens from Thailand and Hawaii will headline a free drag show at 9 p.m. on Friday, April 7, in the CUB Senior Ballroom on the WSU Pullman campus. People can attend in‑person or online as the show will be livestreamed by the WSU Global Campus.

The WSU community will also have an opportunity to learn a street-style dance called “waacking” during a pre‑show workshop at 4:30 p.m. in Student Recreation Center 245. The workshop will also be livestreamed.

Pangina Heals, the show’s headlining drag queen famous for hosting the popular television show “Drag Race Thailand,” will perform two numbers.

Supporting guest artist Omnia Nova will perform and co‑emcee the show with Aquasha Delusty from Moscow’s TabiKat Productions. Omnia Nova is a 2019 graduate of Central Washington University who then relocated to Oahu; in just two years of performing, Omnia has become the island’s top-booked drag performer.

Libby Akin, an advisor in the Office of Student Engagement, promises the show will be exciting and fun for the entire WSU community.

“These drag queens are very talented dancers, performers, and multidisciplinary artists,” Akin said. “In pop culture, drag involves amazing costumes, high energy songs and dancing, even acrobatics — there’s a lot that goes into it.”

Video submissions from Global campus participants will be projected in between the live performances.

Eman Ahmed, program coordinator for Global Connections, said he is excited to make these events virtually accessible to the LGBTQ+ community.

“Events like these are necessary to honor and center our marginalized members’ joy to build and support a vibrant community,” Ahmed said.

The show comes at a time when more than a dozen states have introduced legislation to ban or restrict drag performances. Akin said the groups organizing WSU’s event are aware of these developments and are committed to creating space where both performers and the audience can have fun.

“It is about making space for people to feel safe, have a good time, and let go,” Akin said.

The show has garnered broad support across the university and is sponsored by the Student Entertainment Board in partnership with the WSU Global Campus, University Recreation, the President’s GIESO Commission, and the Office of the Pullman Chancellor.

Learn a street-style dance

During the pre‑show workshop, Pangina Heals will teach participants a dancing style called waacking.

Set to disco music, waacking is a street dance featuring arm movements and poses that originated in LGBTQ+ clubs in Los Angeles during the 1970s. Emphasizing self-expression and confidence, the workshop will teach participants performance basics.

“We want to go beyond entertainment with this workshop and bring an educational experience to our Cougar communities,” said Joseph Martin, coordinator of group fitness and instruction in University Recreation and workshop organizer. “It will provide a safe and brave platform to honor and celebrate both our trailblazers and newcomers.”

The workshop is limited to 50 participants, and registration is required.

First exposure to drag

Akin said for many people, especially those from rural areas, drag shows like WSU’s often provide their first opportunity to see performers like Omnia Nova and Pangina Heals, or perform drag themselves. She encourages everyone who has not seen a drag show (and those who have) to check it out.

“It’s amazing to see them get on stage to perform in huge costumes, big heels, and do crazy jumps,” Akin said. “Their athleticism and willingness to put themselves in these precarious situations for the sake of a moment on stage is what I love.” 

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