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Ballerina Boys

A film by Chana Gazit and Martha Barylick

This is the story of little boys who wanted to grow up to be ballerinas.  And did.

A revolution is raging in America, and the barricades are being stormed by men in tutus.  As culture wars ignite over gender fluidity and LGBTQ rights, the story of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo–a company of men who dance on pointe as ballerinas–could not be more relevant.  BALLERINA BOYS will follow these remarkable dancers as they use brilliant ballet technique and irrepressible comedy to achieve social justice one pirouette at a time.  “The Trocks” hail from all over the globe, but they share a passionate sense of mission. All of them are pledged to ballet, all are gay, and all have, as their boss Tory Dobrin notes, “that comic heart.”

The film’s narrative arc is “The Tour,” starting with a bus trek through North and South Carolina, the epicenter of political efforts to walk back LGBTQ rights.  Interwoven with this plotline will be the film’s main threads–the history of the Company as it both mirrored and moved the fifty-year struggle for gay rights, the dancers’ reverence for the expressive and political potential of drag, and deep dives into our characters’ lives.  We’ll meet Philip Martin-Nielson, whose childhood was crippled by autism.  Unable to speak, Philip was a wild child whose autistic obsession was ballet. Miraculously, he collided with a gifted and patient teacher. Under her wing, the wild child grew into an exquisite dancer.  At 23, he is a soloist, acclaimed for his performance of Odette in “Swan Lake.” We will watch Duane Gosa, a young African-American who is keenly aware of the image he projects as a black, gay, ballerina. Duane considers himself a role model for young black men struggling to give voice to their gender identity. His signature role is the “Dying Swan,” which showcases his uncanny ability to be comic and tragic at exactly the same time.  And then there is the Italian, Alberto Pretto.  As a young professional, he felt stunted by dancing male roles “behind a girl.”  Then he saw The Trocks on YouTube and knew he had found his artistic home.  For Alby, whose comic persona channels Lucille Ball, drag is a way of asserting that everyone is beautiful, especially at the ballet. 

The Tour will culminate in a performance of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” a parody of George Balanchine’s patriotic cold war classic.  To the sound of Sousa marches, fifteen drag queens in red, white, and blue tutus will stand up for equality for all.

Associated Members

We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors:

Massachusetts Cultural Council
Lowel Cultural Council
Cabot Family Charitable Trust
Liberty Mutual Foundation
City of Boston Arts and Culture