Byron Bay barista Andi Davey never had any trouble with fancy footwork -“ but finding a same-sex dance partner and instructor in regional NSW was a different story.
But once she started dancing with novelist Jesse Blackadder, everything fell into place, including some unexpected support from overseas.
Harry Raiend is a ballroom dancing judge on the New Zealand television show So You Think You Can Dance, and co-owner of the UCAN2 dance studio in Byron Bay, where the dancers are now training.
Raiend flew from New Zealand to train the pair after they won seven medals at the Gay and Lesbian Australasian Dance Championships.
The studio’s founder Kylie Mowbray-Allen says she’d like to see the whole community getting behind the dancers.
What Jesse and Andi are doing is so amazing, we have no hesitation in backing them all the way, Mowbray-Allen said.
But they’re not getting enough public acknowledgement. When my husband played local rugby, even when they lost they got huge support, she said.
Andi and Jesse are practicing so hard for a world event. Everybody should be right behind them.
Meantime, the official Canadian ballroom dancing umbrella organisation The Canadian Dancesport Association has refused to sanction the Game’s dancesport events.
The decision was in line with the International Dancesport Federation policy excluding couples from competition. Dancesport is one of only five Outgames events to have failed to attract official backing.
Despite successful appearances by same-sex couples on ABC TV’s Strictly Dancing, Dancesport Australia’s regulations also state that competitions including same-sex couples are to be classified novelty events, and scores could not contribute to formal standing in the sport.
Men and women have different abilities, Dancesport Australia president Vincent Bain said.
So the gender of the roles is specified, just like you don’t have women competing against men in other sports. There’s nothing to stop a gay man and a gay woman dancing together.
A fundraising afternoon tea dance for Davey and Blackadder will be held in the Coorabell Hall, 62 Friday Hut Road Coorabell on Sunday 11 June from 3pm. Ring 0414 365 500 for information.