How good was figure skater Adam Rippon doing the cha cha to RuPaul’s Sissy That Walk on Dancing with the Stars? Snappy hand movements framing his face, strutting like he was on a catwalk. A giant pair of silver glittery wings undulating in the background. I dare you not to dance in your seat while you watch this.
Voguing itself harks back to the drag balls of the late 80’s and early 90’s (way before Madonna decided to ‘strike a pose’).
For anyone living under a rainbow rock, Adam Rippon is an openly gay figure skater who competed in the 2018 winter olympics. During this time he stood up to online abuse and harassment, and went on to win a bronze medal for the U.S. Clearly, the next step in his plan for world domination is to slay on DWTS.
After awarding them the highest score of the night, it’s encouraging to hear a judge in the clip acknowledge there can be great dancing chemistry between a gay male and (presumably) straight female partner. Rendering the concept of chemistry broader and more nuanced than the hetero/ sexual standard.
Now all we need is for the conservative world of ballroom dancing to allow same sex couples to complete! When the question has arisen of same sex pairings in the past, the swift response is that it is a male/ female sport. Nowhere, it seems, is the gender binary more strictly enforced than in ballroom dancing.
Which is interesting considering the amount of hairspray, mesh and fake tan sported by male dancers. Now where have i seen that before?…
Ballroom dancing has specific steps and roles allocated to male and female dancers. There’s a leader and a follower right? And you can guess who inhabits each role. What fertile ground for playing with gender.
I will end with a video of a tango done by two women at a same sex dancing competition. Creating space for more diverse expressions of desire and passion in dance will only create a richer form of expression for all.