Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Umberto and Roberto: Love in Motion

I've mentioned once before that I view today, May 2, as my Coming Out Day. This is because it was on May 2, 1996 that I first presented and performed In the Footsteps of Springs, the visual/performance arts component of my Master of Arts in Theology thesis that explores the coming out process of gay men as a spiritual journey. This performance took place at the College of St. Catherine – St. Paul, before an audience of around 40 people, including my thesis adviser, theologian Joan Timmerman, then a professor of theology at St. Kate’s.

Of course, I had already begun to “come out” to others by then – including my family back in Australia (my “coming out” letter to my parents – and their response to it – can be read here). Nevertheless, my sharing of my coming out journey – and the theological underpinnings of this very human experience – through my presentation of In the Footsteps of Spring was definitely a significant (and very public) milestone in my coming out journey. In a way, it was an intentional moment of reflection, thanksgiving, and celebration of God’s guiding and liberating presence in my life as a gay man.

To mark the 22nd anniversary of my coming out, I share today a very special coming out story from Italy, one that beautifully and powerfully incorporates dance.

It's the story of two young gay men named Umberto and Roberto who dance as a duo called You & Me. Their brave coming out on live TV is the subject of both the video and article below. Enjoy!

This Couple's Performance on Italia's Got Talent
Is About Much More Than Dance

By Joel Lyons

Note: This article was first published April 7, 2016 by the website A Plus.

Italia's Got Talent is much like America's Got Talent and its other counterparts from around the world. Performers who possess a wide array of talents take the stage and show off to the audience in the studio and at home, often wowing them with pure skill, and sometimes even bringing them – and judges – to tears.

But a recent Italia's Got Talent performance kind of did both.

Two young men – whose names are Umberto and Roberto – appeared on the show and gifted viewers with something special.

Their duo, called You & Me, was getting ready to perform a contemporary dance routine set to Sleeping at Last's cover of the Cyndi Lauper song, "All Through the Night." But even before the showcase began, viewers were already falling in love with You & Me's story.

When asked "Why are you here?" by one of the judges, Roberto replied, "Because tonight, together, we want to do something we've been wanting to do for a long time."

"What we'd love to do tonight is show what we are, our everyday lives, our story," Umberto adds in translated captions in the clip.

And then the two soon began dancing – demonstrating not only the technical moves to carry out the intricate and sometimes complicated-looking steps in their routine, but also displaying a heartfelt tenderness that exists between them.

After the moving interpretive dance – which breaks more than a few boundaries as to how men and women are supposed to dance – the two gave each other a passionate hug, revealing just how in love they are. The pair almost seemed to be lost in the moment, but the audience was only adding to their joy, giving them a standing ovation along with three of the show's judges. And, naturally, a few tears were shed, too.

"As soon as I saw you, I could tell there's a lot of love between you," said judge and singer-songwriter Nina Zilli.

"We wanted to show the love we've been sharing every day for the past two years," Umberto reveals, noting that only each of their mothers knew about their relationship. "Now everybody does," he added.

Because of the emotive performance and their skills, all four of the show's judges voted to move You & Me on to the next round of competition.

"And there [are] still people in Italy that think this is against nature," actor, comedian, and judge Claudio Bisio says, to which actress and radio host Luciana Littizzetto replies, "They're just people."

It was a touching display and one of the most emotional from the Got Talent series, proving that love has just as few boundaries as dance.

For another great coming out that took place on Italia's Got Talent, click here.

Related Off-site Link:
Gay Couple Comes Out to Their Dads on Live TV – Sean Mandell (Towleroad, March 28, 2016).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Coming Out: An Act of Holiness
Ian McKellen’s Two Greatest Achievements: Playing Gandalf and Coming Out
Darren Hayes, Coming Out . . . Oh, and Time Travel
A Girl Named Sara: “A Person of the Resurrection”
Coming Out in Africa and the Middle East
No Matter What
Quote of the Day – July 16, 2010
The Raising of Lazarus and the Gay Experience of Coming Out
David Whyte: "To Be Courageous is to Stay Close to the Way We Are Made"
The Longing for Love: God's Primal Beatitude
Making the Connections

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