“Hot to Trot”
Same-Sex Competitive Ballroom Dance
Gail Freedman’s “Hot to Trot” takes us inside the world of same-sex competitive ballroom dance as it follows a small international cast of four men and women, on and off the dance floor.
Ballroom dance is once again becoming popular here in America, as well as abroad and it has even become a widespread competitive event, known “dancesport”. Same-sex couple dancing is also becoming popular.
The film is “an immersive character study and an idiosyncratic attack on bigotry”. This world of dancing is one in which personal passion meets political muscle. Away from their extraordinary dance feats on the dance floor, the characters’ back stories frame their struggles and conflicts in life.
We meet Ernesto, a Costa Rican former meth head; Emily, a severe lifelong Type 1 diabetic, who wears an insulin pump 24/7, even while performing; Russian dance champ Nikolai, who came out only a few years ago and longs for family acceptance; and Kieren, whose identity was created in a strict New Zealand military environment. The film follows them over time and through their relationships with others, and themselves.
Here we see dance as a form of personal power and political engagement that simultaneously shapes and reshapes their identities and helps them overcome personal challenges. As these dancers evolve, we really understand the real impact of the LGBT politics.
“Hot to Trot” is about empowerment and is therefore, a film for all of us including those who do not self-identify as members of a historically marginalized community. We see that our identities are multi-faceted, that they don’t just depend on gender, race, religion, etc.