Words: Alastair James; picture: BBC
Strictly Come Dancing’s first all-male pairing - John Waite and Johannes Radebe - have spoken about their coupling for the first time since the new series started last Saturday (18 September)
On Saturday’s pre-recorded show it was revealed that the two had been matched after weeks of speculation. The two make history as Strictly’s first male same-sex partnership.
Last year Olympic boxer Nicola Adams and professional Katya Jones became the first same-sex couple in the show’s run.
John, who won The Great British Bake Off in 2012, had previously indicated he’d like to be paired with Johannes, thinking that it would be a “powerful message” for two gay men to be seen dancing together.
“This is my guy!”
Appearing on Steph McGovern’s programme, Steph’s Packed Lunch, the pair discussed being in a dance couple on the show.
Asked what it meant to him to be a part of this pairing, Johannes emotionally said it was something he had been championing for all his life. He added: “I saw Nicola and Katya do it last year and I was like ‘yay!’ So when it does come around I would love to be a part of it. And when John said ‘I want to do this and proudly so’, I was just like ‘this is my guy!’. It has to be me and him. I’ve been speaking to my ancestors ever since.”
Making light of the fact that both Johannes and John are big, tall men, the professional dancer said they “need to find the balance,” but that the basic principles of dance remain the same.
However, Johannes continued, there is an interesting dynamic that the couple has: “We switch between roles, and you can’t get that in a female-male partnership, but we twist and we do things.”
Posting a snapshot of the couple rehearsing for their first dance (a tango no less!) earlier this morning (22 September) John said: “Working with this chap is a godsend.”
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Prior to the launch of the new series John had said he’s like to be paired with Johannes, after previously speculating that he would have to be paired with either Johannes, Graziano de Prima, Kai Widdrington, and Aljaz Škorjanec given his height.
John, who now runs a segment on Steph’s Packed Lunch, spoke to McGovern about being a part of Strictly’s first all-male couple saying it was an “honour”. He added: “I think if I’d seen two lads or lasses dancing together on Saturday night TV and nobody made a fuss about it, I don’t think I’d have grown up with quite so much shame for being gay.
“I just hope that there are kids out watching, who don’t even question it, who watch it and think ‘I am who I am and I’m comfortable with that and I’m accepted, and I’m loved, and I can be loved for who I am. It’s a massive privilege.”
Last year, Olympic boxer Nicola and professional Katya had to pull out of the competition after Katya tested positive for coronavirus.
In 2019 Graziano and Johannes also performed together on the show as the first professional male same-sex couple.
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