Italy’s First Same-Sex Dance Competition
By Pete Meager, UKSSDC
Eurogames Roma 2019’ brought a Same-Sex Ballroom & Latin dance competition to Italy for the very first time. UK dancer, Davide Di Priete, (who is the founder of social media promotional group: Same-Sex Dance Italia) and now a UK citizen, was proud that his home country would be hosting Italy’s very first equality dance competition with dancers coming from as far afield as the USA. However, this was not the first time Italy had experienced a Same-Sex dance couple in their midst – it gained National media attention when well-known Italian celebrity, Giovanni Ciacci danced in a Same-Sex dance partnership as part of Italy’s TV dance programme, ‘Ballando Con Le Stelle” back in 2018 with professional dancer, Raimondo Todaro. The couple made it all the way to the final despite controversy amongst some members of the judging panel. This level of exposure is something the UK is still longing for with our version of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and hoping that 2019 might be the year we finally see it on our own TV screens.
The Eurogames this year has not gone without it’s organisational challenges, however, what became of the event from a UKSSDC point of view was a strong collaboration from our members to both support, and compete in, an extremely well run international competition. Despite Eurogames Roma not holding the status of a European Championship, this did not deter those who really wanted to take part in the Eurogames to turn out and compete against their fellow Same-Sex dance community.
As we experienced at the Gay Games in Paris last year, this time of year can also bring with it extreme heat, and Rome in middle of July was certainly no exception. With an inside ballroom temperature of nearly 32 degrees, our dancers battled against extreme humidity to deliver both strong and medal-worthy performances. The UKSSDC was represented by 30 dancers in total, collectively taking part in the Men’s and Women’s Ballroom and Latin competitions as well as entering a Showdance Couple, a Showdance Team (Pink Dancers) and multiple entries into the Salsa ‘fun Competition’. The final medal tally reached 5 Gold, 6 Silver and 14 Bronze medals, all of which are now making their way back to the UK. An exciting achievement for everyone who took part.
What always makes these events so special is the way in which the dance communities come together irrespective of where they have come from and what has brought them to a particular competition. Dancers spend all day crowded round the dance floor cheering together for those whom they both compete with, and against, and encouraging everyone to achieve their very best on the day. This sense of family is something that the Same-Sex dance community is very proud of and is always at the heart of our events.
So what now?… well, we look forward to an exciting three years ahead with European Championships scheduled for Düsseldorf (2020), Copenhagen (2021) and Nijmegen (2022) as well as the very first Same-Sex Dance World Championship in Asia at the 11th edition of the Gay Games in Hong Kong in 2022. We are proud to have such prestigious Championships in our calendar and look forward to all of them with huge anticipation.