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BBC Strictly Come Dancing: ‘Watching John and Johannes dance was amazing and puts LGBT+ people like us on the map’

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Alex Scurr, a 37-year-old professional dancer from South London, founded The Gay Male Dance Company (GMDC) back in 2015 after he struggled to combine his profession with his desire to find his place within London’s LGBT+ community.

The GMDC operates classes across London in numerous dance styles as well as pole dancing, lessons musical theatre and even a class dedicated to performing routines in heels – led by a London drag queen.

There are studio spaces across the capital including Elephant and Castle and Kennington, as well as a Pole Dance studio which is hired out across North London and the company have even branched out to a Brighton based extension of the group.

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Following the successes of John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, this LGBT+ dance company teach gay men across London how to make moves on the dancefloor.

The group have praised Strictly’s same sex pairings

Alex said on the LGBT+ representation on this year’s Strictly: “Producers have shown same sex dancing in such a positive way.”

Latin and Ballroom classes are on offer at The GMDC so you can follow in the footsteps of this year second-place Strictly contestants.

Alex trained as a dancer at the Urdang Academy and the London Contemporary Dance School before embarking on a ten year professional dance career that saw him travel abroad as well as teaching dance on the side.

Alex revealed that as a young gay man he found it hard to find his place in the London LGBT+ community due to his travelling for work.

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Following the successes of John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, this LGBT+ dance company teach gay men across London how to make moves on the dancefloor

The idea for the dance company came from his desire to combine his passion for dance with his want to create a space for gay men to express themselves and form new friendships.

Alex said: “I thought it would be good to connect the LGBT+ community more.

“I expanded the company from this idea and it blew up in popularity so quickly as there was clearly a need and want for it in London.”

In September 2015, when the first group of gay men signed up to dance, the company would offer one class per week.

Whereas now the company has a cohort of 220 members taking to the dancefloor across London and classes even began in the group’s Brighton expansion.

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Alex was enamoured by the popularity of the dance classes but it was the social side of the company which cemented the group’s strong sense of community.

Alex said: “I always wanted it to be relaxed and the idea of going out for a drink after class was just something I thought would be nice.

“It became really obvious how important the social side of the company was.

“Most people initially sign up because of the dancing or singing, but what people stay for is the social community we’ve built.”

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There are studio spaces across London including Elephant and Castle and Kennington

Attached to the dance company is the Rainbow Nation Foundation – a charity organisation set up alongside the dance classes to give back to the LGBT+ community.

Money raised through fundraisers, charity gala’s and profits from the company’s clothing line goes to nine LGBT+ charities, namely: 56 Dean Street, London Friend, East London Out Project, Opening Doors, Positive East, Wandsworth Oasis, Diversity Role Models, Micro Rainbow, and Mind Out.

The Rainbow Nation Foundation’s aim is, in its own words, ‘to increase support for the LGBT+ community in London, helping all to live better lives.’

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The group perform annually at London Pride

The classes carry a fee to learn from the professional dancers who work with Alex, but there is a scholarship scheme for those who wish to participate but may not be financially able.

Alex said: “Any gay person should be able to get involved in the community, regardless of their financial situation.”

Alfredo Scognamiglio, 28, said: “When I first heard about the GMDC, I was immediately excited at the idea. I thought it would be an excellent way to socialise and have a good time while exercising and keeping fit.

“I was still very nervous when I stepped into my first class, I was surprised at how relaxed and friendly the atmosphere was.

“The class was interactive, fun and probably the best cardio session I have ever had in my life! It was refreshing to see such a diverse group of people coming together to share an exciting new experience.”

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The next large event for GMDC will be their charity gala at Alexandra Palace, raising money for the nine charities affiliated with the Rainbow Nation Foundation

The community aspect of the group was able to continue growing throughout the lockdowns, and though dance classes became all but impossible the group performed lip sync performances to one another over video calls to keep the social element of the company alive.

Earlier this month, the GMDC was able to perform for the first time in two years at Infernos nightclub in Clapham, featuring musical numbers, dance performances and pole dancing in a huge Xmas Extravaganza.

The next large event for GMDC will be their charity gala at Alexandra Palace, raising money for the nine charities affiliated with the Rainbow Nation Foundation.

To get involved in the GMDC head to their website and sign up to the classes here and you can see a list of their January term classes here.

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/bbc-strictly-come-dancing-watching-22556290