Residents of a small Alabama city likely thought they'd experience some of the more traditional sights and sounds of the Christmas season during their annual Christmas parade on Saturday. But they were in for a monumental surprise when a gay, all-male dance troupe joined the procession, wearing scantily clad attire while performing controversial dance moves.
The Prancing Elites appeared at "The Friends of Semmes Christmas Parade" in Semmes, Ala., wearing tight white shorts and make-up, and strutting down the street performing thrusts and hip movements that some in the parade audience simply didn't appreciate, Alabama.com reported.
As the Daily Mail noted, "The team specializes in J-Setting, a lead and follow style hip-hop dance style that involves movements some may find lurid or provocative."
Watch a portion of the performance below:
It seems organizers were as surprised and frustrated as some of the attendees.
"I had no idea that they would be dressed the way they were and that they would think it's appropriate for a community Christmas parade," said Karen McDuffie, a board member with Friends of Semmes, the group that created the parade. "Their costumes and the style of dancing were inappropriate."
McDuffie later apologized to the community after receiving complaints and said that The Prancing Elites used moves that were both "vulgar" and "not appropriate for a children's Christmas parade."
Kentrell Collins, leader of The Prancing Elites, though, said that he believes there is a double standard and that his group is no different from any other dancing ensemble.
"We want people to stop looking at gender and focus on the talent," he told Alabama.com. "It's okay for a woman to put on tights and play football, but when a man wants to put on a leotard and tights, it's a problem."
The group also posted a formal letter on its Facebook page, apologizing to anyone who was offended in the Semmes Christmas parade audience, though they defended their right to perform, rhetorically asking, "Why can't a man put on a leotard and dance?"
In a separate post on Sunday night, The Prancing Elites wrote, "With all the negative backlash we get, we still do what we do because we love it, and for our fans..."
The obvious question is: If even the parade organizers were so frustrated by the group's presence, how is it that the dancers made it into the parade in the first place?
Jack Tillman, president of Friends of Semmes, told WALA-TV that the organization was contacted by The Prancing Elites two weeks ago and that they were welcomed to perform -- but that no investigation of their past work was conducted beforehand.
So, apparently no one knew much about the The Prancing Elites beforehand.
When the dancers showed up, Tillman said that parade organizers didn't want to be sued, so they let them perform.
Regardless of how it happened, it's safe to say that The Prancing Elites likely won't be invited back to next year's parade.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
Featured image via Alabama.com