Get ready for a dance that’s set to lift your spirits, rock you to the rhythm, and maybe even cry tears of joy in a moment of LGBTQ+ affirmation on live TV.
Strictly Come Dancing, the U.K. show that inspired Dancing With The Stars, will soon air its first ever same-sex dance performance featuring two of the show’s lead male dancers, one of whom is gay. And after getting a sneak peak at show rehearsals, one of the show’s judges says the routine will be one audiences won’t want to miss.
“All I can say is have your tissues ready,” Shirley Ballas told Digital Spy. “It's the most magnificent thing I have witnessed in rehearsals.”
Johannes Radebe, a gay South African dancer and choreographer, will take to the dance floor on Saturday with friend and fellow castmate Gianno Di Prima, performing to the sounds of the inspirational new Emeli Sande single “Shine.” The songs inclusive lyrics encourage people to “break all the rules” and “love who you choose.”
“Johannes brings out such a wonderful joy of dancing, and him and Graziano just envelope the whole experience. It warms your heart for sure. It is for sure something to look forward to,” Ballas said.
After getting eliminated with celebrity partner Catherine Tyldesley this week, Radebe thanked the show for allowing him a meaningful opportunity to proudly display his truest colors as an LGBTQ+ individual. Soon after, he went public with a story of survival, detailing a coming-of-age filled with homophobic bullying and attacks. At the age of 17, a classmate beat Radebe with a baseball bat and pelted him with anti-gay slurs.
“I would get home and talk to Mum and tell her what I’d experienced. She said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with you. You go back tomorrow and you make sure that Johannes is happy,’” he told The Sun, noting that he experienced anxiety about leaving the house and felt it was pointless to go outside and be encountered with more hate.
Representatives from the BBC, which airs the series, said that the show is proud to have featured same-sex dancing among the professional dance group numbers in previous seasons. This Saturday’s expected performance with Radebe and Di Prima will shine the light exclusively on one pair.
The performance airs Saturday, November 2 on BBC and will also stream online.