Thursday, January 6, 2011

Macho Dancing Boot Camp?

My last post on Knee Pads has an example of a dance routine in a macho dancing gay bar. Almost all macho dancers do this kneeling-on-the-floor action, I guess, to add variety in movements to finish off a four-minute song.

Thinking about it, I notice that in general, macho dancers do have a certain routine – their slow walk on-stage, their side-to-side swaying movement, where they position their arms and how to move them, when to bend down, kneel down, stand up, and at which point to exit the stage.

I often ask the young guys I table (yeah, I like ‘em fresh meat) where and how they learned their moves. I previously imagined newbies having like a week-long boot camp or in-house training for macho dancers of sorts.

I was wrong. Obviously (duh, where in the Philippines would you find a macho dancer boot camp? Young boys topless, but in camouflage underwear. Wait, that stirred something in me...)
So where is this boot camp? Gorah!
[Image from]

In the bars I’ve been to, the boys usually say that they learned how to dance by simply observing the veterans and imitating how they move, emote, and entice on-lookers. There was no formal training. Sabak agad, as one said. A novice would just be “pushed” to the stage, and try to do their best routine based observations and stock knowledge.

That’s why an expert gay bar-goer can distinguish a beginner versus an old-timer, based on the dance. The beginner’s moves will just be an imitation of the better-choreographed, oft-rehearsed routines of an old-timer.  The beginner struggles to finish a whole song, in just one standing position, while an old-timer can do pa-sirko-sirko from straight up to lying down, from left stage to right stage. A beginner can entice you just because of his looks and body. An old-timer, despite the not-so-fresh look, can make you stop any on-going conversations, put down your bottle of beer, and just watch.

But give the newbie a few more weeks or months, and he'll have his own routine, his own signature move, and chosen ballad to dance to. That is if he's still working in the bar (and not get suspended or fired because of zero MD-drink sales).

GB Goer
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila
email:; Follow at twitter: @gbgoer

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