Gay Men’s Dance Company launch new classes for women
Looking for a new hobby? We’ve found just the thing…
If the new series of Strictly has got you dusting off your dancing shoes, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the Gay Men’s Dance Company has launched a new term of women-only classes. This London-based company has been running classes for men for almost two years, and are now expanding offering women of all abilities the chance to get active and make friends. We got our lycra on and caught up with Alex Scurr from GMDC to find out more.
DIVA: Tell us about the GMDC.
Alex Scurr: The GMDC began nearly two years ago with just one small weekly dance class. We now have 22 classes per week in various subjects – Dance, Drama, Choir and Pole Dancing – and we're also now getting into fitness classes. New classes are being launched all the time! As well as the classes, the GMDC has become a community of like-minded people. We create a safe space where members can be themselves and feel welcomed and supported. We arrange various socials too, from brunches, theatre trips and pub quizzes to nights out, sports days and much more. We aim to assist all members to integrate into their class, make friends and have fun. We're so much more than just a hobby/class – we're a family! We even have a handful of GMDC couples and cannot wait for the first GMDC wedding.
Why have you decided to start up a class for women?
We saw the impact we made in the (gay male) community; how much our classes helped people to adjust, to fit in, to overcome insecurities and social anxieties and just inserting more fun and silliness into peoples lives. We thought, why should we restrict that just to men? Women could get something out of this too, and after doing some research it seemed that there was even less out there for the female/lesbian community. Fewer social groups, events, bars.... we thought we could make a difference within the lesbian community, create a space for women to meet in person, make friends, and exercise in a safe and enjoyable way.
What kind of dance do you teach?
We mainly teach modern jazz-based techniques, but we cover literally everything; musical theatre, hip-hop, contemporary, ballroom and Latin. We mix it up to keep it interesting and to let people experience all facets of dance. Every class, we take members through an aerobic warm-up, and stretching and strengthening exercises before teaching a routine. We generally teach a routine for two weeks, so people can go away and work on it/let it settle into the body and come back the second week and nail it.
Do you need to bring a partner?
Not at all. Most people join the classes by themselves – you will soon get to know everyone. But if you do have a friend or a partner that enjoys the same things then it would be a great activity to do together. We encourage everyone to go for a drink after class, as this helps with the bonding and is a nice way to wind down after being put through their paces by our teachers and build confidence within the lessons. Whenever we do partner work we will always pair you up so there's none of that awkwardness of being picked last.
What if I’ve never danced before?
Then you've come to the right place! Our general level class is perfect for beginners. We teach things slower and encourage members to speak up if they want to go over something again. Once people have been with us for a few terms or have had previous experience we also have an advanced class that will push them a bit more if they want.
Do you think Strictly should allow same-sex couples to dance on the show?
Absolutely. I think it would make for a more all-round inclusive show and highlight that gender (and sexuality) shouldn't matter when it comes to dance. It's about expressing ourselves and the show should help to promote equality and modern ideals.
What’s your signature dance move?
I don't know about a signature dance “move” but we have a few dances that stick out as most popular, both to our members and audiences. One being our version of Single Ladies, which we call Single Laddies. The crowd always go crazy for that. The other popular one is a Magic Mike-inspired routine to Pony which involves harnesses, stripping, chairs and audience participation. One of my personal faves is anytime we do the waltz. It's just such a beautiful dance and it's so powerful seeing a same-sex couple doing something so stereotypically “straight”.
Interested? Sign up now at thegmdc.com.
Only reading DIVA online? You're missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It's pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.