“Who will wear whom? It’s still complicated! Tonight in September 2018, at the press conference for the ninth season of Dance with the stars, Jeanfi Janssens grinned but was engaged in a mine clearance operation. A few weeks earlier, on the microphone of Big heads on RTL, the comedian said he asked to dance with a man on the TF1 show, but the channel refused, claiming that “the housewife wasn’t ready” to see two men dance together.
“I got text messages from all over, it became pseudo-political, it was a bickering between them,” he complained during the press conference, explaining how overwhelmed he was by events. . “I was not serious, I never expressed this desire, I never even claimed it”, the comedian insisted, saying “I am not an LGBT spearhead”. And to continue: “TF1 offered me to dance with a man and it is very nice because it shows a certain openness. But I’m not the ideal candidate for that, I have a certain modesty that embarrasses me to dance with a man. “
“For me it’s a real showdown”
Four years later, Clémence Castel gives a radically different speech a few days after the first steps on the parquet of Dance with the stars in the arms of a dancer. “I was given the choice. I asked myself the question of who I would feel more comfortable with, compared to my current life. For me it made sense to dance with a woman, because he echoes my story, very simply, “says the one who revealed in 2021 that she was in a relationship with her partner Marie for two years.
The 30 year old, winner of two editions of Koh Lantawants ” [se] challenge and surprise “:” I made myself known in a bathing suit, in the mud, without my hair. I want to show myself in a different, authentic way, as I really am. For me it’s a real showdown. “
Four years ago, when she didn’t come out and the audience identified her as straight, she rehearsed for the show with Anthony Colette. “I wasn’t ready,” she admits. This year, she wanted “a dancer who has the experience and the character to support” to be the show’s first female duo: “I think we’re going to be a little scrutinized, especially in the first issue.”
Bilal Hassani, an “inspiration”
Clémence Castel got the click in part by watching Bilal Hassani last year. The singer, now a member of the jury of Dance with the stars and who is both male and female, he finished second in the competition on Jordan Mouillerac’s arm.
“I was pleased to participate in writing the history of the show in France by dancing with a man, but above all by making him forget it very quickly. People were quite surprised by my performances, beyond who I was dancing with. I wanted everyone who needed to see someone like me on TV to be able to see me and I think many people have recognized themselves through me … “, the artist recently confided to 20 minutes.
“It was very inspiring. The way he approached the adventure with his head held high only encouraged me, “says Clémence Castel. He also wants to send a message.” I want to tell the millions of viewers that you shouldn’t be afraid to show yourself how you are. “When he announced to the audience. her children who would go to dance with a woman, did not react: “For them he was a non-subject, it is natural in relation to the life we have.”
“of public utility”
“Clemence will express something wonderful by dancing with a woman,” applauds David Douillet. Bilal unlocked things last year. I found it wonderfully beautiful. These broadcasts are of public utility. “
Knowing that the first female duo in the history of Dance with the stars appeared in the Israeli version in … 2010 and two men won the Danish adaptation in 2019, wouldn’t France be a little behind? “In the United States, the first homosexual couple appeared only in the 30th season, we are only the 12th in France, we are not that late,” says Bilal Hassani.
Furthermore, in some foreign editions, couples of the same gender have not necessarily been received so well. In 2018, in dancing with the Starsin Italy, a juror had therefore refused to take note of a performance by two candidates, believing it was not “on the same level as a dance with a man and a woman”.
The challenge of choreography
Deborah Nahon, Director of Entertainment at TF1 Productions, assures us that same-sex couples enter Dance with the stars “I am therefore not a subject”. The choice is left to each candidate before each new season: they are subjected to a questionnaire to ask them, in particular, the qualities sought in their dance partners. It is then possible to ask to participate in pairs with a dancer.
“The important thing for us is that the personality feels good, that it is in harmony with its desires, continues Deborah Nahon. The real subject is rather the work of the dancer who has to adapt her choreography. Because, in a mixed couple dance, there is the person who “leads”, a role that generally belongs to the man, and the one who “is led”.
“It was a challenge for my dancer, Clémence Castel acknowledges. I am already a complete beginner. Also, she will have to create new choreographies that she is not used to and she will have to evolve differently on the floor. »The double winner of Koh Lanta he warns: “I don’t want to be confined to a role. We will break the codes. Inevitably, in a dance, everyone has their place. It can evolve over time, or within the same choreography … I think this freedom will be the strength of the dance. our duo. “