Queer As Foxtrot
Queer as Foxtrot’s mission is to create a supportive space where people can meet for social dance classes and events in a non-threatening and friendly environment for lovers of dance (or the dance curious), within the LGBTQI community.
Anny Salerni has been teaching same-sex dance classes for over 25 years. In fact, she has spent most of her life in dance studios, starting lessons at age 5 at May Down’s Dance School. Along the way she performed in pantomimes and took part in song and dance competitions. She studied jazz ballet, tap, contemporary and classical, R.A.D ballet and folk dancing up until the age of 18! Anny then took up Ballroom and Latin.
At the age of 19, Anny took a full time position with Rio Dance Studio and became a professional member of the Australian Dancing Society (ADS), shortly thereafter. After a few years as a novice teacher, Anny began freelancing at various studios around Melbourne including Essendon Danse Academy, Granada Dance Centre. In the mid 90’s Anny decided to open her own space – which was eventually named Dance Cats Studio. This studio took many years to build and develop, but was a success after lots of hard work and determination, against the odds.
Success came in many forms, such as various Bronze, Silver and Gold medals being won at key international Same-Sex competitions, as well as the growth of student numbers over time. By the late nineties, the ‘little battler’ studio was a full time concern and operated 6 days a week as a permanent LGBTQI studio. Something Anny was always very proud of, as they doubters said it couldn’t be done. In 1998 came the start of a long tradition, with Anny organising the first of the now well established Midsumma Festival event – The Australian Same-Sex DanceSports, held in Melbourne annually. Anny was Choreographer with the 2010 Midsumma Festival Play Tango Femme, playwright Merrilee Moss (a previous student of Anny’s). A rigorous and gruelling rehearsal schedule but well worth the experience, a great cast and crew to work with!
In 2011, an ABC documentary was made about Dance Cats Studio with Anny as its protagonist, thanks to Waterbyrd Films. The documentary is called ‘Ballroom Rules’ which aired as part of the ArtScape series by the ABC.
Many heartfelt thanks to Nick Bird and Eleanor Sharpe at Waterbyrd Filmz, for this wonderful honour.
Anny sold Dance Cats in 2012 planning on retirement from the dance industry, but as with many things in life, things changed. Her love of dance was too strong and drove her to return to what was thought to have been left behind forever. Missing the energy and enthusiasm of a busy class Anny has returned, if only in a small way. Offering lessons on a social level and only on a few nights per week, for the foreseeable future. Hence, the inception of Queer as Foxtrot in 2016.
So, Anny’s back to continue her contribution to the Same-Sex dance community of Melbourne. Hoping that her return will tempt some past students back to the dance floor. Hopefully also bringing new life and new students to this wonderful world of Same-Sex dancing, whilst not wanting to detract from anything Dance Cats is doing as this is still a functioning studio. Anny hopes that the further promotion of Same-Sex dancing will only benefit both studios in the long term, by building a stronger community of Same-Sex dancers in Melbourne.