Strike a Pose
In 1990, Madonna’s taboo-busting Blond Ambition tour blew the roof off of global pop culture and raised AIDS awareness while turning a sudden spotlight on seven male dancers. “Give me more of you,” the singer exhorted her young troupe, in rehearsals and performances, and they eagerly complied. A couple of the guys, however, hid secrets that withstood the glare and controversy of both the tour and the legendary behind-the-scenes documentary Truth or Dare, with its “scandalous” kiss that liberated so many young gay men. A quarter century after these intense formative experiences, the extraordinary new documentary Strike a Pose reunites the talented corps of dancers—who dispersed as suddenly as they came together—not only to relive a seminal cultural moment through their eyes, but also to try to make sense of the momentous changes they’ve lived through.
Deeper and richer than a mere cautionary fable about fickle fame, Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan’s empathetic portrait conveys the pressures of growing up in public, the difficulty of being a role model, the double-edged sword of ambition, and the burden of family expectations. Embellished with both vintage and current footage of the principals dancing, the film climaxes with a touching reunion dinner (sans the pop diva, with whom they still have an ambivalent relationship). Strike a Pose revisits an era when being HIV-positive carried a devastating stigma, and it honors how far we—and these talented, gutsy artists—have come.
Saturday, August 13
Thursday, August 18