Same-Sex Ballroom Championships in Boston

We already know dance is for everyone. And while ballroom dancing used to be an activity geared largely toward heterosexual dancers in male-female couples, today many studios offer classes specifically for same-sex couples, in addition to welcoming dancers of all orientations into all classes and performances. In October, Boston Open DanceSport will host the second annual North American Same-Sex Ballroom Dance Championship.

Couples of men, women or dancers in reverse-role couples (what lady hasn’t wanted to lead?) can register to compete at levels from beginner to professional and pro-am in international and American ballroom styles. Champions will be named in the categories of international standard, international Latin, American smooth, American rhythm, formation teams and showdance. The event is supported by the North American Same-Sex Partner Dance Association (NASSPDA), and at least one dancer in a couple must be a member to place in a category.

The goal of the event, as stated on Boston Open DanceSport’s web site, is to promote equality, and to enjoy some “artistic and competitive same-sex ballroom dancing.”

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"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

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Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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