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For a few years now I’ve been thinking on and off about taking up dancing of some kind. Maybe it’s my hardcore theatreness flowing over, but well-executed movement and story give me such a rush. I’ve had issues with the gendering, though, because it looks like the women in partnered dancing are always being led around in skimpy outfits and submissive to their highly masculine partners (and there has to be one of each, of course, because teh gay must be kept away from the dancing!!1!). With the prevalence of dancing shows like So You Think You Can Dance on TV recently, that perception of mine has only been reinforced. So often I feel shows like Dance are partially there as a display of inequitable power dynamics, because you see the same thing playing out over and over. (I recall one dance routine from the last American series in which one dancer in her character as the “evil ex-girlfriend” had to be dragged around and have a door slammed in her face. If the usual wasn’t enough for you.) But there are times when this dynamic shifts. I noticed that particularly Charlie and Penny, a popular couple on the Australian show, had a few routines that didn’t feel the head to spend every second enforcing gender roles. Here’s one which wasn’t too bad (I had another in mind but I can’t find a good video of it):

Vodpod videos no longer available.


They seem more like… equals. I like the mirroring of the others’ movements. The focus shifts between them. It’s not pseudo-romantic peacockery; it’s kind of nice.

I’ve held off on publishing this, but now it’s quite timely as Penny has had to leave due to injury. Which in turn gives rise to a whole new issue. Hexy’s blogged it, so you’d better go read that rather than me repeating it. Suffice it to say here that from last week, coming into the top 10, the judges no longer had a role in deciding which constestants were kicked off, only the votes from the viewers. The first three people kicked off were the three black people on the show.

No, really.

One of the reasons I’d liked Dance was that it was far more racially diverse than most of Australian television. Often I’ll be watching dramas, the news, commercials and will be conscious of a false image of Australian society being presented. These white families and presenters and smiling models just do not reflect the Australia I see walking down the street. So Dance made me feel a bit lighter of heart. Now, not so much. Yeah, Australia’s totes multicultural and happy in the sunshine and stuff.

ETA 29 April: Hey, a woman, Talia, won! Hellonhairylegs reports.