Scroll To Top

It Takes Two Men to Tango

It Takes Two Men to Tango


Steve Valentine has always dreamed of making same-sex ballroom dancing more than a novelty. Now, with his gay ballroom dancing program debuting in West Hollywood in January, he may. But for Valentine, ballroom is about more than having fun and feeling sexy. He wants to compete -- and win.

"There's something about two men dancing together that's so beautiful and powerful," gushes Steve Valentine, the creator of a gay ballroom dancing program debuting in West Hollywood in January. Inspired by the popularity of shows like Dancing With the Stars, Valentine has partnered with the city of West Hollywood and North American International Ballroom Finalist Christopher Beroiz to give amateurs a chance to swivel their hips in the cha-cha, fox-trot, and tango in a fun and easy environment.

There's a bit of a love story at the heart of these classes. Valentine, a dance enthusiast and publicist, had seen same-sex ballroom dancing only a handful of times (often as a novelty) and yearned for the opportunity to try it. But there's more to same-sex dancing than finding a partner.

"There's a lot of issues of who leads and who follows, who's the top and who's the bottom on the dance floor," Valentine explains. One day, while doing errands, he passed by a ballroom class saw "this beautiful man teaching a straight couple to dance" and was blown away. After the class was over, he approached the instructor, Christopher Beroiz, and they struck up a friendship. Valentine pitched his idea of bringing ballroom dancing to Los Angeles gays and Beroiz joined up. The story leads Valentine to confess, "The truth is, this all started when I was stalking a ballroom instructor because he was hot."

These aren't your grandparents' ballroom classes. Local celebrity judges (Bruce Vilanch and Maria Conchita Alonso are confirmed) will be brought in to judge the competition, and class locations can range from a club on the Sunset Strip to the outdoor courtyard of the Pacific Design Center. Classes will cover beginner, intermediate, and advanced styles, and in a same-sex-only twist, partners will be coached on who should lead and who will follow. As the classes progress, Beroiz will be identifying one or two couples who he will take under his wing for more intensive training -- because as much as ballroom is about beauty, it's also about competition. The couples that are chosen for one-on-one training will be the classes' inaugural entrants in San Francisco's April Follies, a same-sex ballroom competition occurring on April 26. Rival teams are slated to come from several other cities around the country.

Another step in the national push to bring ballroom to gay participants came last October, when 33 same-sex dance partners, instructors, and organizers formed the nonprofit North American Same-Sex Dancesport Association (they call it a "working title") to promote the sport. It became the first national organization for gay ballroom.

It's surprising that ballroom dancing, with its combination of athleticism, glamour, and eroticism hasn't caught on with gays yet, but Valentine is determined to spread his passion for the sport to others. And being a publicist doesn't hurt. He's already been approached by a number of television producers, including those of Dancing With the Stars, to bring gay ballroom dancing to TV in some form. But is America ready for gay ballroom? Valentine replies, "When people see same-sex couples dancing, you'd think their hair might bristle, but once they watch it, they always comment on the magic of it -- and it really is magical."

For more information on Valentine's ballroom classes, go to

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Japhy Grant