UK Dance Program Showcases Male Dancers in Emotional Performance

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday November 5, 2019

BBC One celebrity dance reality show "Strictly Come Dancing" shattered a glass ceiling when it allowed two men to take the floor. Viewers swooned.

The BBC reports that the two men are both dance professionals. Johannes Radebe, who is openly gay, was recently eliminated, but he returned to the program for a special performance in which he and straight fellow pro dancer Graziano di Prima had a chance to strut their stuff.

The male pair were joined by a second, mixed-gender couple, reported UK newspaper the Daily Mail, but the history-making first dance between two men drew instant attention, much of it glowing with praise.

A past winner of the program, Joe McFadden took to Twitter to offer his congratulations and note that "two men danced together and the world didn't end."

Radebe spoke out on the moment, telling Hello! magazine that he felt "liberated" by being able to dance with another man. Radebe added, "For the first time, I feel accepted for who I am." He went on to say:

"To be able to dance with a friend I respect and adore is joyous. There's bromance galore between us, but there were no male and female roles, just free movement. It was beautiful, classy and elegant."

"Elegant" was also a word used multiple time in the Daily Mail story, which described some of the dance moves the men accomplished.

Di Prima also took to Twitter, where he posted a clip of the dance and noted, "REPRESENTATION always matters!"

Di Prima — who recently proposed to his girlfriend while live on stage — added:

unforgettable moment — loved to dance with you

Haters, of course, hastened to attack the moment, media sources noted. Some swore to abandon the program if more dance routines featured pairings of the same gender.

But pro dancer Robin Windsor — who was on the program himself in the past — dismissed the bile and broadsides, posting on Twitter that the routine was "stunning," and encouraging trolls and homophobes to "enjoy the artistry."

The program did show two male dancers, Pasha Kovalev and AJ Pritchard dancing together last year in a routine that featured a whole group of dancers, the Daily Mail reported. But this was the first time two dancers had the floor, and the focus, almost to themselves for a whole routine.

None of the program's same-sex dance moments have featured celebrity guests to date, the Mail noted; they have been performed by the show's professional dancers.

Watch a clip of the 2018 routine featuring Pritchard and Kovalev below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.