There’s something rapturous about watching fabric spin so fast that discrete shapes dissolve into the blurred trails of after-image. Even a few seconds watching a gifted flag dancer are enough to flip a switch in your mind, unhooking part of your consciousness; it’s the outer border of trance.
Throughout gay history – whether hiding, rioting, grieving or celebrating, we’ve always had dancing. Music styles, DJs and venues come and go faster than the flash of a strobe light, but as sure as a mirrorball spins in every club, dance culture itself has and will remain a staple of gay life.
You’ve seen them. Standing on the edge of the stage, or atop a platform or a box at a circuit party, or at a club or on a “Sea Tea” circling Manhattan. Commanding your attention, yet they’re oblivious to it, defiant of it, dousing themselves as they do in spotlights or laser beams or a rainbow of flashes. They might be painted madly; sparkling, glittering, luminescent. Chances are, they’re buff, in tight shorts, usually shirtless, working themselves into a fluid, otherworldly frenzy of movement, music and rhythm.