Moscow’s first queer dance festival challenges homophobia

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03/14/2020

In a dance studio tucked away off a Moscow side street, a couple dozen people are working on their tango. While the footwork is their focus, the dancers also have a wider aim: They are part of the Russian capital’s first queer dance festival, which hopes to change attitudes toward the LGBTQ community in a country where pride marches are illegal and LGBTQ-related hate crimes are on the rise. “I do what I can, with beauty as my tool,” said festival organizer Marina Ventarron, ahead of the four-day festival spread across the Valentine’s Day weekend. Despite the series of masterclasses and parties being openly advertised on social media, Ventarron said she has had no problems from authorities or extremist activists, who in the past have targeted Russian LGBTQ-themed plays and film festivals.

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