Dancing: Same-sex and Gender Roles

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by heist, May 25, 2009.

  1. heist

    heist New Member

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    Did anyone see the 2-guy ballroom pair audition on So You Think You Can Dance? For those not familiar, here's the clip: YouTube - Gay Couple Fail - So You Think You Can Dance 2009 Audition

    What do you think? I'm kind of ambivalent towards this. As a competitive ballroom dancer, I can appreciate the judges' critique, especially Mary Murphy's comment of how mixing the steps with the gendered stylings was confusing. But as someone who knows the folly of the gender binary, I also question the "truth" of the critiques. Is it merely a matter of prejudices and social standards? Or is there something more concrete?

    As a final note, here's another clip of the pair, in a competition:
    YouTube - Califonia Dreamin Oct 18th 2008
    One of the couples has the follower in drag -- food for thought.
     
  2. controlppt

    controlppt New Member

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    I do think that the comments were inappropriate. I also understand the dilemma of switching gender roles, but why cant a man take the place of a woman? We really eed to deviate ourselves from the gender binary and become more accepting of different forms of behavior, cultures, gender roles, sexualities, etc.
     
  3. DiscoBoy

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    First off, the title of the video is misleading. One of them claims to be straight, so they're not a couple.

    I thought they were great individually, but they were really 'clunky' together. That whole sequence from 1:56-1:59 was very clumsy. It looks like he struggles to lift his partner back up.

    I think all the judges were fair with their critiques, although Nigel didn't have to make that "alienation" comment. I'm not disputing it's truth, but I think it's something that should be discussed off camera with other executives. But otherwise, I don't think there's any "gay agenda" to be made. If you listen carefully at the end, the two of them are allowed to try out the choreography, so they weren't immediately eliminated.
     
  4. B_Hung Jon

    B_Hung Jon New Member

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    If you want to check out some amazing guy on guy dancing, just take a look at these boys doing the Lindy Hop in France:

    YouTube - lindy hop
     
  5. controlppt

    controlppt New Member

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    Discontentboy:

    Though I see where your coming from, I think you are oversimplifying the issue.
     
  6. DiscoBoy

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    I really don't think there's an issue at all. They weren't that great together, and I think they could've done much better if the gay one (the one who looked younger) had taken on the female role throughout the whole dance. He wasn't strong enough to lift the other, and his movements were more "feminine"; just look at the very beginning of the dance.

    In spite of all that (and the fall), they were still allowed to attempt choreography. For all we know, one or both of them could've made it to the second round.
     
    #6 DiscoBoy, May 25, 2009
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  7. heist

    heist New Member

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    Discontentboy -- obviously, I don't name the Youtube clips; it was the only one I could find. You also are kind of side-stepping my question -- you seem to agree with the judge's idea that one of the partners should have stuck to the female/follow's role, but does that mean that's just how it should be?

    For example, YouTube - World Out Games-Mens Latin Same-Sex Gold Medal-Willem+Jacob -- they are quite good (they won, after all), but you'll notice that the shorter one is the follow for pretty much the whole thing. Furthermore, he tends to do "female" stylings (e.g. "men" do not ever touch their own heads, except occasionally in jive).

    This is the debate, not the specific case of Misha and Mitch. (Besides, they shouldn't have made it to choreo -- Mary spoke correctly when she said they had a lot to work on, technique-wise. If anything, I think the fact that they were so foreign -- a same-sex ballroom couple -- is what got them to the next round. Nigel seemed hesitant to throw them out, simply because they were a "first".)
     
  8. karldergrosse

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    I'm an aficionado of ballet as an art form, not of popular dance. Thus I can't even pretend to judge how well the dancers in question performed (except for the big booboo!). But I think the judges just couldn't get past the gender-bender shock of two males performing a dance that is imprinted upon everyone's consciousness as for a mixed couple. They therefore couldn't see it simply as a complex set of ritualized movements, regardless of gender--i.e., dance pure and simple as the body become poetry. Though I'll have to admit that I, too, had a bit of a problem with the straight(?) man's overemphasizing of the feminine aspect at times, which caused unwanted thoughts of drag to come to mind. Perhaps I'm just too conditioned to down-and-dirty, I-want-your-body gay disco dancing....

    P.S. For tender, erotic, and strikingly beautiful male/male dancing, see the concluding episode of Season One of Queer as Folk (performed to The Drifters' "Save the Last Dance for Me").
     
    #8 karldergrosse, May 25, 2009
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  9. D_Jerry_Atric

    D_Jerry_Atric Account Disabled

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    This is mainstream America.

    They think that when two men are together in a relationship that one has to be masculine/dominant and one will be very feminine/passive, and that when two men are in a relationship together that they will always be completely homosexual or that both partners are homosexual and that's not always the case.

    I also agree the title was misleading since they're not a couple or in a relationship together even if they are just dance partners.

    As far as the drag goes it's someone's personal choice but if you're going to be on in a dance contest it just further prepetuates a bad stereotype/cliche about queermen in people's minds.

    The judges also don't care about the idea that there's anything outside of a gender binary or even the foolish gay/straight binary that most people are stuck in.

    Ugh of course they had to play "It's raining men" when introducing them on the TV show, So you think you can dance. This isn't the 70s/80s and nobody cares anymore about camp humour. :rolleyes:

    I thought that their dancing was good until they tried the move that made them fall on the floor. I don't know a lot about ballroom dancing but that's not a move in it.
     
  10. HellsKitchenmanNYC

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    There are alot of gay dance socials around. Esp lindy and jive. I've never learned to follow but it could be fun. Dance is dance and fun is fun lindy prob is the most fun.
     
  11. HellsKitchenmanNYC

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  12. controlppt

    controlppt New Member

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    "Discontentboy -- obviously, I don't name the Youtube clips; it was the only one I could find. You also are kind of side-stepping my question -- you seem to agree with the judge's idea that one of the partners should have stuck to the female/follow's role, but does that mean that's just how it should be? "


    Thank you heist for make it clear to discontentboy
     
  13. DiscoBoy

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    Heist/controlppt:

    Sorry for being an idiot and totally missing/ignoring the real question in this case. I was speaking specifically about Misha and Mitch.

    In the case of Misha and Mitch, I do think one partner should've stuck with the female/follow's role, simply because neither of them could pull off both roles.

    But generally speaking, when it comes to same-sex and gender roles within dancing, [as long as both partners are capable of performing both roles] then the gender roles should be interchangeable. It's the one advantage a same-sex partnership could have over a m/f partnership (debatably).
     
  14. D_Jared Padalicki

    D_Jared Padalicki Account Disabled

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    I found it a bit funny to see, just so unusual. Shacking hips like that is funny. But I also admire their courage to do it, especially because one is straight and the other gay. But I rather see a woman-man-couple, because a woman can only do that womanrole in dancing.
     
  15. Wish-4-8

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    Dancing is a form of communication. It works beause everyone understands their roles. The dominant position, AKA, the leader is usually male. The follower, is usually female.

    Tradtionally, the default roles are determined by the sex. In dances, like salsa, you have the concept of the woman being the “picture” and the man being the “frame”. In other words, it is the mans job to highlight the woman and make her look good, even at his own expense. The woman uses her attributes and femininty to highlight that role. That is just dance.

    Same sex dancing breaks that tradition, but I dont see why it cant work if the roles are established. I guess there could even role switching during the dance if the communication is right.

    But, to me, it doesnt look good. You need a man to be the leader and the woman to be the follower. In fact, it is often offensive for a woman to be the leader, or backlead the man.

    The male and female give a contrast. There are certain things that both sexes contribute to the dance because of their sex. Sorry, but a man is never going to pull off what a woman can do, and vice versa. So then the only option is to adjust for the changes, but you run the risk of changing the dance. It aint what it was.


    BTW, this has nothing to do with gay relationships. Often times, in dance competitions, the male leader is gay anyway. This has to to with the look of the dance. Now, I am open minded and I know my view is based in tradition. I am just not used to it. I have not seen a same sex couple be more impressive then the tradtional arrangement.
     
    #15 Wish-4-8, May 26, 2009
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
  16. matticus201

    matticus201 Member

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    I'm a big fan of dance. I go country and western dancing all the time, and it's almost always with a dude (cause I'm gay and it's a gay c&w club), but when I'm dancing with someone, we don't ever switch up the lead/follow position. Even if I'm following and I'm bored as hell because the person I'm dancing with isn't that great... you've committed to the dance for a song, and that's what you need to follow through with. But I'll lead or follow anyone, be it a guy or a girl. I just love to dance and don't really care if I'm leading or following, I just always stick with one position till the end of the song.

    I agree with Mary that they probably would have done a lot better had they stuck with one position throughout the dance. Their movement looked great, but the communication between the two looked like they were fighting with each other at times. And she's right, the technique was pretty rocky throughout.

    As far as the judges comments, it would have been nicer if they'd used lead/follow as opposed to male/female, but that's their frame of reference. I'm sure they didn't intend to be offensive. They did look pretty surprised to see the couple, so they were probably a bit more muddled in their responses than if they'd known what they were going to see.

    So You Think You Can Dance is a great show, and I applaud the guys for trying. If they'd just decide who the lead was and the follow was, I bet they could be pretty damn good!

    As an alternative, take a look at this clip...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQEaI-wkUYY

    These guys stick with the same role throughout, and the difference is pretty obvious. They make a really strong pair and dance great together.
     
    #16 matticus201, May 27, 2009
    Last edited: May 27, 2009
  17. heist

    heist New Member

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    Haha -- matticus201, I put that clip out there as well (see my second post).
     
  18. karldergrosse

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    Wish, I think you bear out what I say about "a dance that is imprinted upon everyone's consciousness as for a mixed couple"...?

    BeardedWoof, I think (hope) you mean the same thing that I say about "unwanted thoughts of drag." I am by no means a fan of drag in any of its forms (merely my own personal taste, no offense meant to any gay brothers or sisters). A major objection is that it does indeed perpetuate the hetero world's misguided idea of gays and gayness. I for one do not give up my masculinity, nor do I have any desire to do so, just because my sexual orientation is toward men...and their maleness.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    As anything but an expert critic of ballroom dance, I see the problem as establishing some sort of new esthetic norm for the male follower's moves--artistic but not feminine. Matticus's terminology "leader/follower" would seem to point the way toward that goal.
     
  19. matticus201

    matticus201 Member

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    Sorry about that Heist! =)
     
  20. blackteendude

    blackteendude New Member

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    I do believe the judges failed to be politically correct in regard to using the proper terms of lead/follow, but I wouldn't say they were homophobic--from past seasons and the stars, you can gather that. However, I do believe they are heterosexist and believe heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality (Nigel's final comment, "I'd like to see you dance with girls. You might like it *wink*"). As if the guy (the other was straight) would just consider dating girls because of the choreography with them. Also that alienation comment was definitely not needed (especially since if they were to make it on the show, they wouldn't be dancing with other guys anyway--what's this one moments "alienation?")
     
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