Willem De Vries and Jacob Jason.
Following controversy around the depiction of a same-sex dancing duo in May, another same-sex ballroom dancing couple has been welcomed in a new season of the US television show So you Think You Can Dance.
Earlier this year, Judge Nigel Lythgoe apologised for comments he made after an audition by Misha Belfer and Mitchel Kibel.
Their routine featured the two men dancing together; a twist on traditional ballroom dancing that Lythgoe was not impressed with.
“I think you probably alienate a lot of our audience. I mean, we’ve always had the guys dance together on this show, but they’ve never really done it in each other’s arms before. I’m certainly one of those people that really like to see guys be guys and girls be girls on the stage. I don’t think I liked it,” he commented after their performance.
Later, after considerable pressure from organisations such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Lythgoe repented: “I sincerely regret the fact that I have upset people with the poor word choices and comments I made both during the taping of the So You Think You Can Dance audition and on my personal status update. I am not homophobic and it was extremely upsetting for me to be classed as such,” he said.
This week, the show got another chance to consider a same-sex dancing couple, namely Jacob Jason and Willem De Vries. The two men’s moving routine brought judge Mia Michaels to tears.
It was Lythgoe’s comment, however, that was most notable. “…thank you for showing me that same-sex ballroom dancing can be very strong and very good,” he said to the couple. The judges advanced the pair to the next round.
“We are pleased with the overall tone of the comments and that Lythgoe and the judges responded favourably to GLAAD’s outreach. This outreach will affect how millions of everyday Americans will experience the show,” said GLAAD in response.
It’s been reported by EW.com that openly gay director and choreographer Adam Shankman will be joining So you Think You Can Dance from October 27.