Like figure skating and women’s golf, ballroom dancing is not a sport where you’d be surprised if someone announced they were gay. Whatever anyone says about dangerous stereotypes, gay men are known for their moves on dancefloors all over the world, and this translates into the professional movers.
The ABC’s Strictly Dancing is a prime-time attempt to capture the camp glory that is competitive dance. Each week, four couples take to the floor in a battle of sequins and style. The partners compete in some of a range of dances -“ salsa, lambada, jazz, hip-hop, rumba, paso doble, Argentinian tango, cha cha and jive.
Despite the show’s inherent campness, until this week it’s been a fairly heterosexual affair. Yes, a few girl-on-girl couples have competed in the heats without success but there has been no man-on-man ballroom.
But in this week’s show Gay Games gold medallists Darryl Davenport and Paul Crook are going to show exactly what two men can do with each other on a dancefloor.
Both men are part-time dance instructors in Perth and fans of the show.
I like the fact that it’s short, it’s in your face, I like the comments. I loved the episode where Adrian won and then kissed his boyfriend, and it was shown on TV, Davenport says.
In previous episodes, dance teams with two women have been criticised for not following the rules of dance -“ the man leads, the woman follows. Davenport says he and Crook stick to the rules as much as their gender allows.
I lead predominantly and we are definitely very conscious of the lead-follow relationship and showing that in the dancing. We do sometimes swap though so that Paul will lead. We change hold, so whoever is doing the traditional male hold is leading.
Despite this adherence to tradition, Davenport says a two-man pairing brings something different to the competition.
Hopefully we come across very strong and powerful. With a traditional couple where the lady comes across as being very feminine, we can’t do that. We’re two strong people dancing together.