I’m not a fan of competitive dance, particularly Ballroom, but I have no objection to it’s existence. Many people love it and more power to them. When I write about it, it’s because something in that world has captured my attention.
Same sex dancers still strike fear into some
I’m having a hard time believing that, at a time when many sports are reversing long held homophobic beliefs and policies, the British Dance Council is considering a proposal to define dance couples as consisting of a “man” and a “lady”. Maybe some of the women will then be disqualified on the grounds that they are too crass to be considered ladies. I mean, just take a look at some of those costumes. Would a lady wear that?
Country Western Dancers preceded Ballroom
I miss the Country Western dance scene which has all but disappeared from my neck of the woods, but I don’t miss the homophobia. After a couple of gay men were so good that they started winning too many competitions, the powers that be did indeed pass a rule banning same sex partners from competing. The flourishing gay competitive dance community, on the other hand, had no problem with opposite sex partnership. Everyone was judged on dance skills. Period.
Women banned from dancing lead
Homophobia was so rampant in the early days of Country dancing that women could not lead in the lessons. At the now defunct but then thriving West 40, where I was studying advanced Country Western dancing in earnest, you had to find a partner with whom to take the lesson because there was no changing during the lesson. There were always extra women who wanted to be in the lesson but couldn’t find a partner. Even though I would be doing the service of providing an opportunity for 2 extra women to take (and pay for) the lesson, the teacher made it clear by a combination of ridicule and ignoring us, that women were not welcome to learn the lead in his class.
It saddens me now to see the same thinking mirrored in the ballroom community. A big hue and cry complete with petitions, of course, is occurring in response, so maybe they’ll have a change of heart in time. The internet was a baby during the time of the Country Western policy change, so nobody knew about it until after the fact. Stay tuned for the aftermath when the decision is made!
by LaurieAnn Lepoff
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