Hot off the heels of Logo’s RuPaul’s Drag Race Lady Gaga reveal, the network has announced the first of the Logo Documentary Films for this year will be Strike a Pose, which will premiere on Logo on Thursday, April 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The film catches up with seven young male dancers – six gay, one straight – on Madonna’s controversial Blond Ambition tour and her subsequent Truth or Dare documentary, as they unwittingly become icons for gay rights and sexual freedom. Twenty-five years later, the dancers reveal the truth about life during and after the tour and the significance of their courageous, but harrowing journey to, as Madonna sings, “Express Yourself.”
The critically acclaimed documentary, from filmmakers Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan and the Emmy Award-winning Logo Documentary Films, was an official selection at the 2016 Tribeca, Berlin and Hot Docs Film Festivals.
“These seven dancers from the Blond Ambition tour inspired a whole generation. From the halls of the ballrooms to center stage, their bold self-expression was a true pop-culture inspiration,” said Taj Paxton, VP of Logo Documentary Films. “We’re proud to showcase the men behind the woman and to stir the next generation of leaders and tastemakers in the LGBTQ community.”
Meet the Dancers
Oliver Crumes III – Born and raised in the projects of New Orleans, Oliver admits to being homophobic when he first joined the troupe and thanks Madonna and the other dancers for opening his heart.
Carlton Wilborn – In “Truth or Dare,” Carlton became the personification of proud self-expression – laughing loud, dancing wild and jumping into Madonna’s bed bare-naked. But carrying a big secret, his extrovert personality was more a pose than true confidence.
Luis Camacho – In the 1980’s, Luis and his dance partner Jose Gutierez were striking poses in Harlem’s house ballrooms – a gay and drag scene in which men compete against one another for their dancing skills, style and catwalk presence. He and Jose taught Madonna how to vogue and performed the infamous “Like A Virgin” number with her during the tour.
Salim “Slam” Gauwloos -Born in a small Flemish town by Belgian-Moroccan parents, Salim made an impression in “Truth or Dare” by kissing fellow dancer Gabriel Trupin – the first gay kiss ever to be shown in a major movie. It is only lately that he has come to see what both the tour and “Truth or Dare” have meant to people around the world: “We helped the world to come out of the closet!”
Kevin Stea – Only when another dancer was kicked off the tour by Madonna was Kevin asked to come on board as a dancer and dance captain. He now sees the tour as both his coming-of-age and coming-out party. Kevin has worked with stars like Prince, Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, Cher, David Bowie and Lady Gaga.
Gabriel Trupin – Gabriel, the most quiet and least outgoing of the dancers, died in San Francisco in 1995 at the age of 26, after losing a silent battle with AIDS. Gabriel kept his sickness a secret until he could no longer hide it from his mother and close relatives. When Gabriel heard that the famous “Truth or Dare” scene of him French-kissing with Slam was to be part of the film, he begged Madonna not to use it. When she did, he sued her for forced outing, and the case was settled out of court.
Jose Gutierez – Jose continued to work with Madonna for years after the Blond Ambition Tour and was featured in the “Justify My Love” video. Jose & Luis choreographed the “Vogue” video, resulting in a nomination for an MTV Award. Jose is still a renowned figure in the voguing scene and teaches it to LGBT youth in New York and worldwide. He recently contributed to the Baz Luhrmann series “The Get Down.”
Logo Documentary Films acquired the television rights to the film after the Tribeca Film Festival. The film was released earlier this year. Overseeing the television premiere for Logo’s documentary division is Pamela Post & Taj Paxton.