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Did the BBC edit the pro dance on Strictly Come Dancing to seem ‘less gay’?

Did the BBC edit the pro dance on Strictly Come Dancing to seem ‘less gay’?

Strictly Come Dancing finally had a same-sex routine. Ish.

Fans are applauding last night’s Strictly Come Dancing professional dance, which featured same-sex dancing.

But is it really progress? Or just a morsel of representation to keep us quiet from demanding something more?

The modern take on a Paso Doble, set to Imagine Dragon’s Believer, included male-male and female-female couples.

But in the dance, that took 2 minutes and 30 seconds, the same-sex coupling lasted for only 40 seconds.

That’s around 26% of the routine.

Unbelievably, this is double the amount of same-sex dancing we’ve ever seen on the BBC dance competition.

In 2014, a cops and robbers routine saw only 20 seconds of same-sex pairings. That was four years ago, and the last real ‘representation’ we’ve had.

That routine was stronger in some ways, because it had the professional dancers perform in ‘hold’. In ‘hold’ is the classic ballroom posture, the leader’s right hand is on the partner’s back, while the follower’s left hand is on the leader’s shoulder. The two then hold hands with their free hands.

However, the Believer routine was arguably more ‘passionate’ and sensual.

Did the BBC edit out ‘gay’ moments in Strictly Come Dancing? 

What we saw was not exactly what could have been.

One person, who was in the audience, saw the routine. They claim the edit left out some incredible, more passionate moments.

‘AJ and Gorka’s highlight contained some very impressive lifts, which didn’t make the final edit – you can see a tiny glimpse in the background,’ they said.

They’re right. You can see Gorka lifting AJ at the very back of the stage, out of focus, at the back of the stage.

Writing on the Digital Spy forums, they said: ‘It was very clearly choreographed as a same-sex routine for the second half of the dance.

‘Anton dancing Paso with Giovanni was a bit of a treat and worked incredibly well.

‘From the audience point of view, it was intense and emotional. Someone sitting near me was moved to tears.

‘I don’t know what happened in the edit but it feels like a decision was made to play safe. I saw a better dance than the one that hit the screens.’

‘Removing the story of gay love from mainstream television is to deny its existence’ 

Why is the BBC so scared to show a man lifting another man?

Week after week, British TV watchers are treated to the same celebration of heteronormativity.

Even if dancers aren’t romantically involved, they’re acting as if they were a couple.

Removing the story of gay love from mainstream television is to deny its existence.

Gay people might make the dresses or choreograph the routines or hang the lights or watch the show, but they have to stay in the shadows. Their stories are not something to be celebrated, it’s something to ignore.

Baby step to something more

This dance from last night was a baby step.

Hopefully, the widespread celebration from fans and critics will inspire the BBC to do more same-sex representation on Strictly.

We got a little something. Maybe a scrap. But it’s time we got two men or two women dancing for a majority of the allotted time in the routine.

Imagine if we got something as undeniable, unafraid, and creative as this tango? It would prove to the public that same-sex dance can work on screen.

Strictly Come Dancing continues next Saturday on BBC 1.

Joe Morgan is the editor-at-large at Gay Star News. Follow him on Twitter

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