The documentary "Strike a Pose," directed by Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan, serves as a bit of a "Where are They Now?" for the dancers of Madonna's 1990 Blond Ambition tour, which was a lightning rod of controversy, immortalized in the classic backstage documentary "Truth or Dare." But "Strike a Pose" isn't just a simple update — it's a sensitive examination of what that experience meant for these men, six gay and one straight, and how it affected their lives since, for better and for worse.
Madonna's tour was a defiant celebration of outré empowered sexuality in the midst of the AIDS crisis, and "Truth or Dare" turned her and her dancers into icons of the moment, offering representations of gay humanity in a time when those images were rare and controversial. They were the epitome of strength, grace and vitality onstage, but "Strike a Pose" pulls back the veil to reveal the male dancers' secret struggles.
For all of their cultural influence, these artists aren't rich or famous now. They lead normal, everyday lives, some having been hamstrung in their creative output; dreams deferred by drugs, alcohol, health issues and the emotional and mental trauma of the AIDS crisis.
At times the personal, intimate scope of the film results in repetition, but the ideas bear repeating. It's a loving, honest portrait of these men who were world-famous for a bright moment, and most importantly, what happens after the limelight goes away.
'Strike a Pose'
Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts Theater, Beverly Hills