Gay men over 60 dance face to face at ABC Bailão. For Folha de S.Paulo, 2017

"Today, perhaps, the movement is weaker. At the end of the month, retirees are out of money", warns Lourival Cremasco, 60, the millimeter-trimmed gray-haired man responsible for the administration of ABC Bailão. It is 9 pm, and in fact, the movement seems less in the nightclub in downtown São Paulo where, every Thursday, gay men get together to dance with their faces together.

ABC is not a reference to Greater São Paulo's municipalities, but an acronym for "Amigos Bailam Comigo" – Friends Dance with Me. There, it is forbidden to take off your shirt, as you can see at the entrance, and bold displays of affection are gently repressed.

In four years as a security guard at ABC, José Batista de Souza, 57, says he has never seen a severe disagreement: "Generally everyone is very polite and respects the rules, without making a fuss. People come here just to be able to meet friends and dance." The track is composed of forrós, boleros – "Como Tu Mujer" by Marco Antonio Solís and Pasion Vega, seems to play every Thursday – and some country people, like "A Dama de Vermelho" version by Bruno and Marrone.

The darkroom, surrounded by mirrors and multicolored lights, is mostly taken by men from 40 to 80 years old—customers over 60 pay less. The dance floor has a touch of scenery by the American director David Lynch, creator of the "Twin Peaks" series. Beside her, a buffet table called "zero hunger" offers fruits, slices of bread, pies, cakes, and sandwiches, all prepared by the only woman at the ball, bartender Jô.



Focusing on dance, ABC Bailão has a loyal following, people who have frequented the house since its opening in 1996.

D. (who did not want to identify himself), 73, has been a customer for 15 years. In 2017 there was not even a fifth. A resident of Santos beach, he does not give up confronting the almost four hours of bus and subway (round trip) he faces to come and just go dancing

Inseparable friends, Edson, 63, and Araújo, 53, leave São Bernardo every 15 days to "rock the hall" for ten years. They believe that ABC goes beyond a leisure time for seniors: it is a place for regulars to be who they really are. "I feel safe, I know that there is no problem here being judged or assaulted," says Araújo

A significant part of ABC Bailão's customers live a double life; some are married and even have grown-up children. Others did not get out of the closet for fear or because merely of the age taboo.

Bartender Francisco, 55, is 11 years old and also loves to dance especially boleros. The impossibility during the club's "office hours" made Chico dance in another territory. "I take advantage of the days when I don't work, and go to a straight dance club in the Água Branca park. There are no other places like this out there."

1º Programa de Treinamento em Imagem da Folha de S.Paulo

ABC Bailão // Especial Terceira idade

Texto e fotos: Rafael Roncato

Vídeo: Igor Dalbone e Rafael Roncato

Link Folha de S.Paulo

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