Strike a Pose

Director: Ester Gould, Reijer Zwaan

Country: Netherlands/Belgium

Runtime: 85 min

Rating: PG

Festival year: 2016

Strike a Pose

Genre(s): Documentary
Spotlight(s): Catalysts

In 1990, before embarking on her hotly anticipated Blonde Ambition tour, Madonna had to choose a group of back-up dancers. With her selections, the lives of seven men—all Black, Latino, Asian, and six-sevenths of them gay—would never be the same.

The tour and the documentary that chronicled it, 1991’s Truth or Dare, showcased images that were “too gay” for some, including the famous kissing scene and an impressive deep-throat wine bottle tutorial. “I’m just showing life,” Madonna said at the time, but as a news report in the film decried, “There are even images of two men kissing!” Whatever your opinion of Madge – whether she appropriated gay and underground vogue dance culture, or gifted us with her star power and allyship – it’s undeniable that she unapologetically thrust gay sexuality into the mainstream spotlight. Controversy continued long after the tour, when three of the dancers sued Madonna after Truth or Dare was released.

Twenty-five years later, six of the dancers remain, their collective stories at turns illuminating and heartbreaking. Skilled documentarian Ester Gould (Shout) and co-director Reijer Zwaan bring a touching, intimate tale of seven men who flew very close to a brightly shining but impossibly scorching star.

Post-film Q&A with special guests Blond Ambition World Tour dancers (Aug 17 screening only):
Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza
Kevin Stea

Screening Sponsors: DailyXtra.com, West End Business Improvement Association