Inside the fascinating but little-known world of same-sex competitive ballroom dance, HOT TO TROT follows a small international cast of four magnetic men and women, on and off the dance ...
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Inside the fascinating but little-known world of same-sex competitive ballroom dance, HOT TO TROT follows a small international cast of four magnetic men and women, on and off the dance floor, over a four-year period. An immersive character study - and an idiosyncratic attack on bigotry - this rousing, powerful story unfurls with the rhythms and energy of dramatic cinema.
The international ballroom dance competition scene was largely unfamiliar to me when I sat down to watch Gail Freedman's documentary Hot to Trot. There was no way to anticipate that, by the end of nearly 90 minutes, I'd find tears pooling in my eyes and realize I cared deeply about the people Freedman had so gently, carefully introduced to me. A lesson in a niche of a niche of the dance world offers a space to think about what it means to be human.
The film follows the twists, turns, dips and changing partnerships in the lives of same-sex ballroom dancers--like the charismatic, creatively ambitious Ernesto Palma, raised in poverty in Costa Rica, a former meth addict for whom dancing is emotional self-care; the Russian Nikolais Shpakov who blossoms as a performer as he grows more confident in his gay identity; and Emily Coles, battling diabetes as she strives to create beauty. "It's Fred and Fred and Ginger and Ginger," quips a judge at California's annual April Follies competition. But it's more than that: It's people you might know. The personal is political, as we used to say, and the intimacy--enhanced by Freedman's team of cinematographers and her editor--makes for compelling viewing.
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