The seven dancers she chose from open auditions in LA and New York accompanied Madonna during her 1990 Blond Ambition world tour, celebrated in the Truth Or Dare (aka In Bed with Madonna) documentary. They were all in their early twenties. Six were gay. They became celebrities in their own right as they travelled the world with the biggest pop star of the era. The dancers were wildly flamboyant. Most were classically trained.
'They are still very intriguing characters, all of them,' says Reijer Zwaan, whose new documentary about them, Strike a Pose (co-directed with Ester Gould) screens at the Berlin festival. Five of the dancers will be in Berlin for the world premiere. 'To this day, they are great, inspiring and bold characters. These guys, when they were 20, were having the time of their lives. They were travelling the world. They were well known. They were performing in front of 50,000 people.' The dancers and the singers became a very close-knit group. Madonna talked about 'feeling like a mother' toward them.
As a kid growing up in the Netherlands in the early 1990s, Zwaan, now a respected current affairs journalist with Dutch public TV, had been obsessed by Madonna and the dancers. He first saw Truth Or Dare when he was 11 years old.
'At the time, I was just fascinated by the tour, by the concert footage but also by the backstage material - the larger-than-life reality that they were all in. I saw it (the film) many times afterwards for the simple reason that my stepmother had bought the VHS.' What, Zwaan wondered, had happened to all the dancers in the intervening years? He decided to find out.
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