It has all the glamour and glitter of that other famous ballroom dance competition, but the Pink Jukebox Trophy has one discerning feature – it is strictly same-sex.
The internationally renowned event, which will take place at the Rivoli Ballroom in Lewisham next Saturday, is the only dance competition of its kind in Britain.
Jacky Logan, vice chair of the UK Same-Sex Dance Council and founder of the competition, said the event was an opportunity for same-sex couples to compete in ballroom dancing, something they can’t do in mainstream competitions.
“The Pink Jukebox Trophy is an annual opportunity for same-sex dancers to exhibit their talent and show how unique the style is within the wider ballroom and Latin dance world. It is an exciting and entertaining event and a chance to meet dancers from other countries who come from similar clubs all over the world.”
The Rivoli was a “natural venue to choose,” according to Ms Logan. “It is a well loved and respected dance hall, not only by UK dancers, but also for those from across Europe. The venue is a little small for our requirements these days but the idea of moving to a larger venue was muted, the vast majority said that they loved coming to London to compete because of the grandeur and atmosphere at the Rivoli Ballroom.”
Owner of the venue, Bill Mannox, describes the “period atmosphere and beautifully quirky décor” as the perfect location for the Pink Jukebox.
The competition itself was born out of the Pink Jukebox Club, a social ballroom and Latin dance venue for lesbians, gay men and their friends, which started in 1996. Since then the dance contest has grown from strength to strength.
The first competition involved two men from Holland who then encouraged some UK dancers to go to Amsterdam for the gay games in 1998. Now, approximately 70 per cent of participants come from outside the UK.
The international network is helped by the existence of the UKSSDC and the European Same-Sex Dance Association (ESSDA).
George Tzoulas and Michael Hall have competed in the contest since 2000 and were winners in the Men’s Latin Category in 2007. They describe the contest as “one of the major annual events in the same-sex dance calendar.”
Not only is the competition a chance for same-sex dancers of all levels to show off their skills, with its international appeal it’s also a good place to meet people.
Ms Logan said: “The numbers of participants have grown and so have the glittery costumes! My wife and I met originally through the first small competition in the UK before the Pink Jukebox was in existence. We fell in love over a Tango with the audience whooping and cheering! I love the crowd and the feel good factor of the Rivoli Ballroom. It is very special and I hope we can continue there in the future.”