What’s it like to be in a gay men’s dance company?
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Since the rise of dating and hook-up apps, the gay scene for people is harder and colder.
A lot of venues can have bad atmospheres. People can be standoffish, cliquey, and sometimes rude.
When did, and why does, saying hi to someone instantly mean you want to sleep with them? It’s Grindr, and all those other apps, that made that the case.
A lot of people now seem to lack the skills to communicate with people past ‘hi’, ‘top or bottom?’ and ‘breed my gaping hole’. If you wouldn’t say it to someone in person, why say it online?
How people are setting themselves up to fail
On apps, people can hide and in person, they’re exposed. They’re exposed to the possibility of failure and rejection.
Training as a dancer, before setting up the Gay Men’s Dance Company, we learned very early on you have no way but to expose yourself. Out of failure and rejection comes strength, growth and success. People need to learn to get over the fear.
In LGBTI clubs and groups, you start off in a slightly less scary place as everyone is there with a common purpose and interest.
Don’t expect everything instantly. We have people that give up on dance classes after one lesson exactly because of that. Did you expect to be Beyoncé from one class? I’m good at teaching but I’m not a magician. People expect that from relationships. Any relationship takes time and work. If you’re not prepared to put in the effort, then it will likely fail.
Benefits of meeting people IRL (in real life)
Before I set up the GMDC, I was aware of a few other LGBT groups like the London’s Gay Men’s Choir and the Titans football club. It’s partly what gave me the idea for setting up the company. Since opening, groups for almost everything now exist.
In that first dance class, it was about meeting some like-minded people. Over the first year I really saw (hard as it is for me to admit) that the ‘dance’ or the lesson part of the company isn’t as important. People come for the social aspect. Yes we go for drinks at the pub after classes to socialize but no one is ever expected or pressured to drink. There’s also dinners, brunches, cinema, theatre trips, a sports day and other events. At Halloween, we’re having a big party. I really want everyone included.
We’ve had some members who don’t drink for various reasons join and they appreciate the community and ethos we’ve created.
A majority of our members have benefited from having a group and a space where they can go and meet people that’s outside of the pressures and stress of the ‘scene’. Where else can you really meet new LGBTI people outside of that?
We push people to just be themselves. There’s a home at GMDC for everyone regardless of gender, age, size, religion or even sexual preference. I guarantee, with around 300 active members, you will make friends and build relationships here. Our first GMDC wedding is happening later this year.
‘We’ve become so used to being online we’ve forgotten you can find better friends in person’
We’ve become so used to being online we’ve forgotten you can build better relationships ‘in the real world’.
Because of the heteronormative world we live in, LGBTI groups like GMDC are incredibly important. It’s not just about teaching a specific hobby or sport, but it can help build relationships and social skills.
Nobody was ever taught how to be gay. We didn’t have role models, we grew up keeping secrets and lying and hiding ourselves. So many people just never really got to fully accept who they were and how their sexuality fits in to them as a person.
I include myself in this. I’ve grown and changed massively since starting the GMDC. All of the members have helped me.
It’s like I came out of the closet, only into a locked room. Finally, I’m finding my way out of that into the world.
Alex Scurr is the founder of the GMDC.
This term, there are brand new classes other than Dance, Yoga and Drama. You can learn how to dance in Heels (for both men and women), learn Musical Theatre, and there is a Performance Choir. Find out more.
If you can’t make one week, class swaps are easy. There will be an optional Christmas show in December for anyone that wants to perform.
Read the full article on Gaystarnews: :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/how-lgbti-people-can-find-friends-away-from-the-hard-cold-dating-scene/