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AMERICAN MASTERS: Ballerina Boys

Stream now or tune in Monday, June 28, 2021 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Dancers Duane Gosa (right) and Josh Thake (left) in

Credit: Courtesy of Merrywidow Films LLC Photographer credit: Laura Nespola

Above: Dancers Duane Gosa (right) and Josh Thake (left) in "Stars and Stripes."

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AMERICAN MASTERS “Ballerina Boys” is a portrait of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (“The Trocks”), an all-male ballet company and international dance sensation. For over 45 years the company has shared their signature style and message of equality, inclusion and social justice with audiences around the world.

The men perform classical ballet en pointe and in drag, challenging the art form’s rigid gender norms as they mix rigorous technique with comedy and satire.

Inspired by the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the company was fueled by the spirit of defiance and creative exuberance that the gay rights movement unleashed.

The film follows The Trocks on tour in the Carolinas, an epicenter of continued struggles for LGBTQ rights.

AMERICAN MASTERS: Ballerina Boys: Preview

Discover Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (The Trocks), an all-male company that for 45 years has offered audiences their passion for ballet classics mixed with exuberant comedy. With every step they poke fun at their strictly gendered art form.

“Ballerina Boys” interweaves original interviews and contemporary and archival performance footage to tell the remarkable history of the company and culminates with The Trocks’ 2019 performance at the Stonewall 50th anniversary concert at Central Park’s SummerStage in New York City.

In the words of ballerina Kevin Garcia, “Every time the curtain opens we represent progress for equality. We just do it dancing.”

Interviewees:

  • Tory Dobrin, Artistic Director of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
  • Peter Anastos, founding director/choreographer of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
  • Eric Marcus, author and LGBTQ historian
  • Natch Taylor, former dancer, Artistic Director and founding member of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
  • Roy Fialkow, former dancer with the Les Ballet des Trockadero de Monte Carlo
  • Kevin Garcia, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Albie Pretto, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Jack Furlong Jr., Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Chris Ouellette, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Duane Gosa, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Joshua Thake, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Boysie Dikobe, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Philip Martin-Nielson, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer

What goes through a drag ballerina's mind while dancing?

A dancer from "The Trocks" describes what goes through his mind while dancing the part of Odette in Swan Lake. Is he trying to portray a man playing a ballerina? Or just a ballerina? At the end of the day, it's about relating to the audience.

Watch On Your Schedule:

This film is available for streaming on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast.

Extend your viewing window with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members supporting KPBS at $60 or more yearly, using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

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Credits:

A production of Merrywidow Films in association with American Masters Pictures and ITVS. Directed and produced by Chana Gazit and Martie Barylick. Michael Kantor is executive producer of AMERICAN MASTERS.

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