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Courtney Act’s Tango on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Was About Gender

Courtney Act

Courtney Act truly is becoming the queen of television. After appearances on Australia’s American Idol, RuPaul’s Drag Race and UKs Celebrity Big Brother, the star is now appearing on Australia’s Dancing With The Stars. And, they are blowing judges away, having landed top slots on the position week after week. But they also set out to have some important conversations.

This week, after headlining Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Act put on a tango performance with their partner Joshua Keefe to Joe Jackson’s 1982 track “Real Men.”

 

 

“My memorable year was 2014, which was about my own internal battle with my masculinity and femininity and my gender identity and sort of coming to a resolution on that,” they said in a clip before the performance. “Growing up in suburban Brisbane, there’s this idea of like masculinity that was so ingrained in me. I just was taught that men had to be men and women had to be women and sometimes I was a — well I wouldn’t say man — sometimes I was a boy and sometimes I was a girl. And that always felt like a battle, because I wanted to be Barbie and I wanted to be Ken all at the same time.”

In 2014, Chaz Bono introduced Act to the term genderfluid, which they have come to realize is their identity. This week’s tango, featuring Act and Keefe seemingly as reflections of one another, one dressed as femme, and the other as masculine, told that story. Throughout the performance, Act emerges from their dress, wipes off their makeup, and ends the performance, naked.

 

 

The appearance follows some statements Act has made previously about ballroom dancing on television. “I would want to be Courtney and dance with a male partner,” she told Daily Star in 2018 — at the time she was musing about a role on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. “And then halfway through the series I’d come out as Shane and there would finally be same-sex dancing on the show.” Maybe this means we’ll be seeing them out of drag for the rest of their sets?

The pair received high praise and marks from the judges for the performance, receiving at least one score of 9, which is rare for the series.

RELATED | Watch Courtney Act's First 'Dancing With the Stars' Routine

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