Football coach, alumnus and former SU VP, Education & Welfare and now Head of Coaching at charity Football Beyond Borders, Jack Badu and Queer Tango activist and historian, Dr Ray Batchelor have been running The Football Tango Project since 2014.
Funded by Bucks New University, supported by Stonewall and informed by dialogue with the Football Association, Jack and Ray ran a sequence of ground-breaking research workshops with Bucks student footballers which established the viability of combining tango and football.
“It improves players’ physical co-ordination on the field – a kind of second by second, spatial ‘social intelligence’” says Jack.
In addition, the unsettling experience of asking players to dance with each other – men with men, women with women, women leading men and occasionally, men leading women – makes people think.
Last year they ran a successful workshop for Homeless FA who offer football to people affected by homelessness. “We used the workshop to open up discussions about sexism and about homophobia and its causes” Ray says.
This year they have been invited by successor organisation, Street Football to run another workshop. “Challenging homophobia in football is tough” according to Ray, “especially breaking into professional football, with some saying it can’t be done” “Yeah!” adds Jack, “About as likely as Leicester winning the Premiership!”
For more information please contact either:
Co-Leader, The Football Tango Project
Head of Coaching, Football Beyond Borders
Photographs by Joana Freitas