When you think of ballroom dancing, you think of glitter balls, sparkles and Blackpool, but ultimately you think of a man twirling his partner around on the dance floor; Fred and Ginger, Astaire and Judy, you don’t really think of Gerald and George doing the foxtrot do you?
For me, growing up in a world where men and women always danced together, and also being a young gay man where heterosexual imagery is always always in place and dancing with girls myself from a young age, even thought of ever dancing openly with a man in ballroom dancing, wasn’t always easy. I was always taught that boys and girls belonged together, from the adverts I watched on TV, to the fairy tales I read as a child, to the Disney movies I watched at the cinema and even my own dance world taught me that, ‘the man leads the lady’.
It is refreshing to see now that in 2016, those trends are changing in the traditional ballroom world (slowly but surely) and not only in dance schools and dance clubs around the world, but it is becoming more openly accepted for girls to dance with girls and boys to ballroom dance with other boys on the competitive dance floor. I myself teach my own ballroom classes in my own studios with my brother as my co-coach and no one really bats an eye lid.
It is very sad to see however, that not all reactions are as welcoming on social media to the sight of same gender partners as most people I surround myself with. It saddens me to think that a lot of people believe that it is ‘sick’, ‘wrong’ or even ‘perverted’ that two men should dance together… I mean, come on, it’s just dancing.
It was my privilege therefore to be asked to help change traditional perspectives on ballroom dancing and to be a part of a new advertising campaign by Freed of London, who are the one of the World’s biggest leaders in dance shoe footwear, as they move forward with setting a new form of advertising trend in ballroom dancing by showcasing two men dancing together. Freed were established in London in 1929, and teaming up with West End Photographer, Paul Nicholas Dyke and my dance partner Callum MacDonald, we step on portraying a different take on ballroom dancing, ‘the same… but different’.
Freed of London said, “We are a traditional company with a lot of history. We see dance moving forward and regenerating to capture modern lives and passions. It is a privilege to be able to develop with this ever changing industry and to promote same sex dancing to a worldwide audience celebrating its equality and diversity. We want all dancers to have the Freedom to express their creativity and diversity.”
Take a look at the video below. I have thoroughly enjoyed bringing my love of dancing to the forefront and showing that ballroom dancing is held at the heart of our LGBTI community as well.
Well Done Freed of London for supporting our community.