Dancing While Queer

By Liz | August 12, 2022

Note: OUT to Dance welcomes people of all sexual orientations: heterosexual, queer, etc. We offer both Dance Classes for Everybody and LGBTQ Classes. This post focuses on the dance classes we offer specifically for LGBTQ folks. 🙂

LGBTQ, same-sex, queer, gay, bi, trans and lesbian partner dancing has a rich history in Boston dating back over 30 years. However, although LGBTQ couples can legally marry, many lesbian, gay or queer folks in the greater Boston area feel extremely self-conscious when learning to dance in a class of presumably heterosexual dance students. It’s a unique time in history: our social acceptance hasn’t quite caught up with our legal rights!

Whether a would-be dancer identifies as lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, agender or genderqueer: gender and sexual orientation should be a non-issue on the dance floor. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case, even in progressive Massachusetts. OUT to Dance is a queer- and lesbian-owned and operated studio, and we have been using the dance terms “leader and follower” forever, (while many dance studios still refer to dancers as “men and ladies”, with the assumption that men always lead, and “ladies” always follow.)

OUT to Dance carries on the tradition it helped establish in Boston in the 1980s of providing a safe, welcoming, fun and fabulous atmosphere for all people who want to learn to dance. We offer Dance Classes for Everyone, which are open to all, and GLBT Dance Classes which are geared specifically for dancers who identify as LGBTQIA, lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, trans, non-binary or more. At OUT to Dance, leading or following is a choice, not a restriction.

OUT to Dance has been a pioneer in offering queer and queer-friendly dance classes as a proud contributing member of the LGBTQ community for over 25 years.

OUT to Dance warmly welcomes adults of any age, race, sexual orientation, body size, or level of dance experience.

Lead or Follow?

One of the joys of same-sex or queer partner dancing is the choice of whether to lead or follow. (Although heterosexual dancers also have this choice, a majority who bring their significant other to dance class are currently choosing to dance in the traditional roles of men leading and women following. Someday this will probably shift. We salute the straight renegades who exercise their freedom of choice at our studio!)

Your choice can vary in each dance you learn; you’re not relegated forever to any one role.

Leading is a bit more intellectual than following. Although all new dancers will need to engage their brains while learning, leaders do a little more of that than followers. Followers have no less interesting tasks; they do more spinning, less anticipating, and when the dance calls for it, more traveling backwards (though not necessarily in high heels!) The leader is the choreographer, and the follower dances the choreography, although all this choreography in social dance is spontaneous, never memorized. In a nutshell, I simply suggest that the leader is the Control Queen (or King) and the follower isn’t. 😉

Can You Have It All?

Learning the lead and the follow of a single dance in a single lesson is often confusing, and progress is slow. If you are interested in learning both roles in one dance, we strongly suggest you learn the lead in one class or lesson and the follow in another lesson. Or learn to follow in salsa and lead in swing, for example, then eventually learn the opposite role another time. However, no one is obligated to learn both roles if you prefer one over the other. Do what feels right for you. We want you to experience maximum joy in your dance class!

Dance Classes For The Gay, Lesbian and Queer Community

What style of dance lessons do we offer the lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer community? Look for classes in Queer Swing, Queer Ballroom, Queer Latin Dance, Queer Tango, Queer Salsa, Queer Two Step (isn’t all two-steppin’ queer in Boston?), Queer Waltz and Foxtrot, Queer Wedding Dance, and much more! What makes these dances queer? Your freedom to dance with the person of your choice, in the dance role of your choice, with other LGBTQ folks. Of course, we also offer classes for everybody, not exclusively LGBTQIA, queer, gay, lesbian or trans dancers: Swing Dance, Salsa and Merengue, Ballroom Dance, Wedding Dance, and all of the above dances for everyone.

Our queer and LGBTQ dance students drive to us from far and wide to enjoy our dance classes.