Dancing With The Gays

 

(SAN FRANCISCO) The tag line for the “California Dreaming” dance competition offers a brighter variation on the 60’s Mamas And The Papas ballad: “All the leaves are brown and the skies are Gay.”

The ballroom dance-off gives amateurs and professionals the opportunity to show their skills… but in a same sex setting.

“It’s something that’s barely breaking the surface, I just feel it’s really important that everyone has a chance to dance with a partner they like,” event judge Chris Beroiz said.

Beroiz is also a choreographer for ABC Television.  He says he’s served as dance judge at several same-sex ballroom competitions across California.

And They Can Dance

And They Can Dance

“California Dreaming” is one of three major same-sex ballroom face offs in the state.

Event co-producer Jeff Chandler says the Bay Area is often the anchor of the ballroom universe on the West Coast.

“Prior to this… this competion has happened twice before, and it’s been in the East Bay in Oakland,” Chandler said, “and we really wanted to bring it into the city, and this is the first year we’ve done that.”

More than 150 competitors, some from other states, converged on the Landmark Hotel Whitcomb.   The day’s events include dozens of dance competions in several different ballroom styles.

“Everything from Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Quickstep, Samba, Cha Cha, Rumba,” Chandler said, “everything they do on ‘Dancing with the Stars’, we’ll do here.”

Among the competitors is amateur dancer Le Truong.  He’s been dancing for five years, and for this competition he’s paired with professional dancer Heintje Soriano who has been dancing for more than fifteen.

Truong and Soriano have spent most of their dance careers paired with women.

“Same sex competions, I’ve done only one other one,” Truong said as he prepared for his heats.

The two have only been working with each other for a month.  Soriano says he’s spent much of his career teaching female competitors.

But he says same sex ballroom is actually more difficult than opposite sex competitions.

“In same sex competition it’s different because you basically switch leads and follows,” Soriano said, “so you have to find a partner who knows everything and knows what they’re doing.”

Chandler said these competitions offer dancers and audience members a chance to be who they really are, and get recognized for skills they may have taught others, but never got to celebrate in other settings.

“The same sex thing, I mean it’s so stark in Ballroom Dancing, you know the Fred and Ginger type ideal, ” Chandler said, “and to see two men do a beautiful Waltz, or two women do a romantic Rumba, it really strikes home for a lot of people.”

185 Comments

  1. Ron Jenkins says:

    Great article, Sergio! Thanks so much for covering the event!

    Ron Jenkins

  2. Christopher Beroiz says:

    Sergio,

    Great job! I appreciate you helping in sharing Our Love of Dance, Our Lust for Art, and Our Lifestyle. If you ever need anything , do not hesitate to ask.

    Christopher Beroiz

  3. Shirlene Bolf says:

    You have a new fan! I love your stuff here and will be back again.

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