The British Dance Council has found itself in hot water after proposing to change the description of UK ballroom dance rules to clarify that it involves "a man and a woman," a gesture that same-sex dancers labeled as being discriminatory. The Associated Press reported Friday that critics fear the rule change proposed by the British Dance Council could ban same-sex couples from mainstream competitions.
As the AP notes, the world of dancesport, satirically portrayed in the film "Strictly Ballroom" by Baz Luhrmann, has traditionally been dominated by couples consisting of a man and a woman, but a small number of same-sex dancers now illustrate their sides in the competition.
The changes were proposed after complaints were made about the all-male couples who are stronger and have more endurance than mixed couples. However, dancers say that they should be judged based on their dancing skills and not their gender.
Sergio Brilhante, a former dancer who participated in competitions with a male partner, said that dancesport relies on technique and choreography, and how couples move. He admits that people do not respond well when they see male couples for the first time, but the judges have finally realized that they were like the other participants.
The Board ensures that the dance rules change does not discriminate and that same-sex couples can still participate in some competitions if the change is approved.
Mr. Brilhante believes, however, that there is little competition for same-sex couples and they are not considered as prestigious as others.
"Dance is about technique and choreography, about moving well on the floor," Brilhante told the AP. "People didn't react very well in the beginning, but after some judges saw us more than once, they came to understand we just dance like any other competitor."