Slow music, sensual atmosphere, a man appearing on the dance floor wearing just a pair of trousers… good start?
We have all watched dance shows performed by a countless number of dancers, where a man was performing topless. In fact, a few months ago I was at a pro-am show competition in Italy where three consecutive male performers danced semi naked. And that made me question the purpose of it… Here are some points for you to think about.
Role of a performer’s outfit
Costumes are such an exciting part of Ballroom, Latin, Smooth and Rhythm dancing. Everyone loves the dresses and crystals. Just like in theatre, costumes should give a clear message to an audience. Colours, textures, fabrics act as powerful statements in themselves giving a specific look to dancers and also creating the mood.
What about dancing without a shirt on?
Dancing topless immediately creates a sensual mood that implies erotic connection between the dancers. In fact, that is the most obvious way to show it. Sometimes I wonder, whether the performers actually even thought about the meaning of their clothes. Or did they just say “Oh I will dance without a shirt, and you will wear a sexy dress“- recipe for a rumba show. Well, it’s definitely a striking look.
As beautiful as dancers’ bodies may be, dancing without a top does not always make the performance better! In fact, in most cases, it shows desperation. Perhaps a way to distract audience from the artistic side of dancing, and simply making them focus on a dancer’s physique instead. But in our styles of Ballroom/Latin/Smooth and Rhythm, should it not be about a partnership? And if you do pro-am, putting the amateur’s skills at the forefront?
However, I don’t mean that every male dancer should cover themselves up. Just simply, they should think of what message they are trying to give. If perhaps their body actions and use of muscles are to be the primary intention of a performance, and they are so damn good at it, then it may be the right decision to dance without a top. Costumes should add value to the artistry of dancing and not take away from it. If dancing topless, is the only thing that comes to mind when trying to portray sensuality, then we may have a problem.
To summarise, next time you watch a dance show, pay attention to the costumes. Do you love them? Do they make you feel in a certain way? If the gentleman is topless, do you think it adds to the performance or completely overpowers it?
If you’re preparing a dance show, it’s useful to spend some time thinking of your performance outfits. Use them as a tool to take the audience on a journey where they can imagine and create their own stories, rather than serving everything on a platter. Let the dancing do the “talking”.
So here is my little reflection on dance shows with topless men. What is your opinion? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment or drop me an email.
If you liked this article, make sure you read my previous post on colours of dance shoes and putting crystals all over them HERE.
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Photo credits (top): Maggiore Fotografico
Photo credits (middle): Elena Anashina Photography