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Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2051-7068
  • E-ISSN: 2051-7076



In 2012 Pat the Dog Playwright Centre held a two-day workshop for First Dance, a devised theatre and dance piece that explored the rituals of queer marriage through the protagonist, as he endeavoured to select the first dance to be performed at his wedding. Reflecting on the workshop process, this article examines the traditions of the first dance, in terms of both the appropriation of a heterosexual ritual, and the role dance has played in the queer community, as a means of designating queer space and belonging. Recognizing the ‘first dance’ as a Eurocentric, heteronormative, performative ritual, expected within a white, western wedding, the necessity and expectation of a first dance in a ‘queer’ space is interrogated. The fundamental question that is addressed is then: are members of the queer community performing the rituals of heterosexual weddings in order to gain inclusion, assimilate and conform to dominant cultural values, or are they appropriating these rituals in order to subvert them and recodify them as acts of resistance against homophobic bigotry and heterosexist cultural practices?

I am currently dramaturging a play entitled, First Dance. It is a devised piece of theatre loosely based around a gay man trying to decide what dance to perform with his partner for the first dance at his wedding. On 5–6 March 2012 I attended a development workshop for the play with Pat the Dog Theatre Creation2 in Kitchener, Ontario. The piece is being co-created by Trevor Copp and Jeff Fox, who are performing the piece, and Lisa O’Connell who is writing it alongside them. Trevor is a ballroom dancer. He is a performer and this story is very much his own. It is not a play about him and his husband, but him and his dance partner, preparing for the wedding. While the play is not based directly in real events, it is clear that he is closely connected to the subject matter.


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