Tonight’s Billboard Music Awards ended with a special tribute to Prince, performed by the late icon’s close friend, Madonna.

After a beautiful introduction and tribute read by Questlove, the Queen of Pop performed a moving rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U” wearing a purple Prince-inspired look while sitting on a purple throne chair. She was later joined on stage by Stevie Wonder for an emotional duet of “Purple Rain.”


At the end of their performance, Madonna thanked Stevie Wonder and then concluded the evening by thanking Prince, “Most of all, thank you, Prince Rogers Nelson, for all that you have given us.”

Watch a clip of Madonna and Wonder’s moving “Purple Rain” duet below:

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Madonna Silenced The Haters With Her Touching Prince Tribute

Stevie Wonder and Madonna

After an intense week of fan furor over the Billboard Music Awards’ choice to have Madonna perform a tribute to Prince, the pop icon closed the show with a solid, not-terrible tribute — and showed why she was a smart choice for the job all along.

She didn’t exactly sound wonderful — pitchy at times, screeching at others. But Madonna’s never really been a vocalist. She’s a performer and entertainer, and that’s where she succeeded. Madonna didn’t match the purple one’s vocal prowess, but she did give us a feeling (almost) worthy of Prince: dramatically revealing herself in a purple throne; wearing a shimmery purple suit; and white lace that harkened back to the era when he became a megastar.

“Nothing Compares 2 U” was the perfect choice of opener, and the montage of gothic, cemetery imagery flashing words including “Immortality” and “Brother” helped convey the appropriate (if a bit creepy) level of sadness. Their closing rendition of “Purple Rain” was decent, unremarkable even, but the fact is that very few people on the planet can do justice to a Prince song, especially now.

But what Madonna most got right was sandwiching herself between Questlove and Stevie Wonder. She was in a tricky spot, since the people who petitioned against her felt Madonna had little in common with Prince, versus more skilled musicians/vocalists. Friends of Prince including Wonder, Chaka Khan and Sheila E. came to mind. Accusations of “whitewashing” (when a white artist becomes the face of a form people of color invented) were bubbling up — a charge Madonna herself had heard before, especially after “Vogue.”

The controversy got so intense that Billboard Awards executive producer Mark Bracoo felt compelled to release a statement: “I think everybody is entitled to their opinion… but I will say that we are honored and could not be more excited for Madonna to be on the show.”

Madonna had to do something to silence the haters, and bringing out Questlove, who DJ’d for Prince and became a friend, to do a touching intro; and then living legend Stevie Wonder was a masterstroke. She got to do what she wanted (as always) and put other artists who have the cred she lacks (again, as always) into her work.

In the end, she deserved to be there. Madonna invented the blueprint for pop music celebrity alongside Prince and Michael Jackson. Apart from Janet Jackson, she’s arguably the only living performer even in that league still alive. To boot, they were actual friends: Madonna was on stage at a Prince concert just last year, and according her manager, she was enthusiastic about touring with him. She’s earned her place and right to do whatever the hell she wants, including standing on stage to sing a song in honor of her friend.

Prince’s bands were racially mixed, intentionally. His tradition of playing with boundaries and fixed identity (“Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay?,” he sang on “Controversy”) suggests that he’s probably in heaven shaking his head at racial fighting, when the entire point of his musical catalogue was enlightenment and people coming together out of love.

So Madonna proved herself, and silenced the haters. The better question, though, is why there was only one Prince tribute. Prince had at least 40 – 40! – Hot 100 Billboard hits, at least 10 of them songs we all know well enough to sing in our sleep. Prince literally helped change the music business, Billboard’s primary area of focus.

Surely the “greatest musical talent of his generation,” as the magazine called him in an April tribute issue, could’ve got a little more time to shine. Surely Justin, Rihanna, Ariana, Britney, Pink and all the other young performers at the ceremony know they owe Prince a massive debt for his influence on their music, marketing and look. It’s a shame producers didn’t show they felt the same way.


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Madonna & Stevie Wonder Pay Tribute to Prince at 2016 Billboard Music Awards

The announcement that Madonna would be paying tribute to Prince at the Billboard Music Awards caused no shortage of controversy — perhaps understandably. After all, Prince was probably the greatest musical genius of his generation; while Madonna is a phenomenal talent at many things, her chops as a musician are maybe not at the top of that list.

But the tribute is much more fitting than it might seem to some. More than any other music stars, the two defined the ‘80s, and they enjoyed a kind of frenemy relationship that saw them collaborating several times over the years and hanging out even more — the most recent time that we know of was a late-night private concert at Paisley Parkin October that was attended by around 60 people, about half of whom were Madonna and her entourage, when she was in Minnesota on her Rebel Heart tour.

And while just one song has emerged from their brief period of collaboration around the time of Madonna’s Like a Prayer album (“Love Song,” although it’s Prince’s guitar you hear at the start of “Like a Prayer”), it wasn’t for lack of trying: There’s reportedly a Prince-produced version of “Like a Prayer” out there somewhere, and Madonna was originally slated to costar in Prince’s ultimately disastrous 1990 feature film Graffiti Bridge.

Madonna knew enough to go to an expert for some words of praise: Questlove, drummer of the Roots, musical director of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, lifelong Prince fan, expert (he’s taught a course on Prince’s music at New York University) and occasional collaborator. “All of us live in the land of music, and his departure from it was an earthquake,” he said, before making some comical remarks about “every time we hear a scream [he let out a squeak]… every time we see a yellow suit with the rear cut out…”

Prince’s full “Let’s Go Crazy” spoken intro played as the lights came up on a purple throne with its back to the audience — it slowly turned around to reveal Madonna, wearing a flawless suit clearly in homage to the ones Prince wore on the 1984-85 Purple Rain tour, with a cross hanging from her wrist and holding a cane, which Prince did in his last few years, including his performance at the 2013 BBMAs.

The music deftly shifted to “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which Madonna sang in Sinead O’Connor’s arrangement — accompanied by a string quartet, two singers, two keyboardists and a vaguely trap drum machine — playing it safe and nailing most of the notes. Tears were visible in her eyes by the end of the first verse.

She finished the song — and then, in a surprise, Stevie Wonder joined her onstage for a coda of the chorus from “Purple Rain.” Purple spotlights criss-crossed the arena as the crowd waved illuminated purple wristbands in time with the song, with Wonder leading a gospel-inflected a cappella breakdown of the chorus as the cameras panned to audience members, many of them in tears.

Stevie thanked Madonna, Madonna thanked Stevie, and then said, “And most of all, thank you Prince Rogers Nelson, for all that you have given us.” It was a perfect ending to a moving tribute.


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Madonna Asked Questlove to Write Prince Tribute for Billboard Music Awards

Madonna is set to perform in honor ofPrince at the Billboard Music Awards tonight (May 22), and she has a little extra in store.

Billboard Music Awards 2016: Complete Coverage

Billboard has learned that the Material Girl asked Questlove to share a few words about Prince.

And The Roots drummer has prepared a tribute to the late icon that will lead into Madonna’s performance at the ceremony.

Madonna to Honor Prince at the Billboard Music Awards

Prince unexpectedly passed away April 21 at the age of 57. Other details on Madonna’s tribute remain a closely guarded secret.

Britney Spears, Kesha, Celine Dion, Fifth Harmony, Troye Sivan, Rihanna, Ariana GrandeMeghan Trainor, Justin Bieber, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, Nick Jonasand Tove Lo, Demi Lovato, Pink, The Go-Go’s, Shawn Mendes, Lukas Graham andDNCE are also set to perform at the show.

The Billboard Music Awards air May 22 on ABC.

More at Billboard

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Celebrating our 10th anniversary, huge giveaway! Join the competition now….lots of Madonna goodies #madonna

We are celebrating our 10th year online and of course we can’t let it pass without handing out some very nice Madonna goodies!

Throughout the years we have been very fortunate to have collaborated with a lot of people. To show our appreciation to our many visitors, we have arranged for a very nice goodie giveaway made available by the one and only original Madonna store in Paris ‘Lucky Records’, Warner Music Holland and MOJO.

  • Lucky Records have sent us 10 copies of the latest Spotlight magazine and a bunch of bookmarks for the giveaway.
  • Warner Music Holland provided us with 3 sealed copies of the European vinyl pressing of ‘Revolver’
  • MOJO were friendly enough to sent us 5 huge original Rebel Heart Tour posters for the Amsterdam stop (these are the large billboard posters, not the tiny ones)

We are very grateful for their input and support!

What do you have to do? Please share this picture on social media and tag #madonnaundergroundanniversary through Facebook (MadonnaUnderground) Instagram (@madonnaunderground) or Twitter (@madonnaundergr). Next to this, please add which item your prefer to win.

Important info, so please read! We will be handing out these gifts at the exclusive screening of ‘Truth Or Dare’ in the Kriterion next Friday during the afterparty in Amsterdam, if you win make sure you are able to come and pick it up there. If you won’t be able to make it to the party (or are abroad) please be aware that we cannot sent these items out for free. We are not a company, do not have an income as MadonnaUnderground is a 100% free organisation that does not ask for money. If you want one of the items and can’t make it to the Kriterion, please know that you need to be willing to pay for shipping fees only.

Note that we probably have a few more giveaways coming up later this year…



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Reminder: Win tickets to see ‘Strike a Pose’ (in Holland) and exclusive ‘Strike a Pose’ bag, ENTER NOW

In collaboration with Film Inc. we can present to you the following competition:
  • Win 3 x 2 tickets to see ‘Strike a Pose’ in the cinema (Holland)
  • The exclusive official ‘Strike a Pose’ promotional bag (x3)

What do you have to do? Share this picture on social media with the hashtag #strikeaposecompetition, share it on Twitter (@madonnaundergr) Instagram (@madonnaunderground) or Facebook(MadonnaUnderground). Enter until this upcoming Wednesday

Good luck!


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If I Was Your Girlfriend: The Extended History of Madonna and Prince’s Relationship

Billboard Music Awards 2016: Madonna and Prince History of Relationship

When the news broke that Madonna was slated to honor Prince at the 2016 Billboard awards, the reaction was … mixed.

For example, someone started a petition decrying the choice, and news of the outcry apparently reached Billboard executive producer Mark Bracco, who defended the decision to have Madonna perform on Tuesday to the Associated Press.

Madonna and Prince had something of a tangled relationship, to put it mildly: Consensus seems to be that they dated in the mid-’80s. They collaborated in 1989 for “Love Song,” from Madonna’s album Like a Prayer. At some point, their relationship soured, to the point where Rolling Stone was making reference to a “decades-long” feud ending in 2011 and recalling incidents where Madonna referred to Prince as a “little troll.”

But combing back through mentions of the pair, contradictory accounts emerge. In May 1985, PEOPLE wrote that they “weren’t, aren’t [and] never considered” having an affair, before noting that Madonna went to greet Prince with the announcement, “Time to go meet the midget.”

In the same interview, she vented: “He usually wants to be treated the exact opposite of the way he is dressed. His outfits say touch me, lick me, love me, lust me, but then he pretends he’s wearing a monk’s outfit. He needs to step back, look at his clothing and laugh at it.”

If that sounds a tad like an ex talking, it’s probably because that’s what Madonna was at the time. J. Randy Taraborrelli’s book Madonna: An Intimate Biography claims that Madonna and Prince met backstage at the American Music Awards in January 1985.

Per Tarraborelli, their first date was a Prince concert at the Forum; the diminutive singer apparently had to literally fight Madonna off while they rode to the show so he could conserve his energy for the show. “I heard she was pretty aggressive,” Prince’s friend T.L. Ross told the biographer. “She was strong. He told me that she had the strength of 10 women.” (Which, frankly, is hilarious, and probably true.)

The couple dated for the next two months, before Prince allegedly asked her to make things official. Things went south pretty quickly after Madonna – who presumably didn’t want to be tied down – declined his offer of further commitment.

Ross’s account differs slightly: “Prince is way too cosmic for Madonna. For him, making love is a spiritual experience. For her – at least at that time – making love was just a physical expression. While he wanted to savor every second of the experience, she was into multiple orgasms. After two months, he cut her loose.”

“After he stopped acting interested in her, that’s when the phone calls started. Madonna pestered him for weeks. He said later that she screamed at him, ‘How dare you dump me. Don’t you know who I am?’ She was definitely not used to getting dumped.”

All that said, the pair at least got around to being semi-friendly exes. Melinda Cooper, who was Madonna’s manager Freddy DeMann’s assistant, recalled that when Sean Penn was dating Madonna, he punched a hole in her wall after discovering that she’d dated Prince. The Material Girl then phoned Prince and told him to come fix the hole, “because you’re responsible for it, after all,” at which point Prince apparently showed up, plaster in hand, and dutifully repaired the wall. (This, too, is hilarious, and it’s surprising to me that it’s not a better-known piece of Prince lore. Plastering is not an inconceivable skill for Prince to have mastered; growing up in Minneapolis, he almost certainly had to handle plastering duties at some point.)

Related: Exes Sean Penn and Madonna Team up in Defamation Lawsuit

Whether “Love Song” dates back to the pair’s relationship – they may have dabbled in writing together while dating – is unclear. But Prince also played guitar on “Act of Contrition” and “Keep It Together” from Like a Prayer, and reportedly offered her his song “By Alien Means,” according to Matt Thorne in Prince: The Man and His Music. Around this time, he also expressed interest in having her play the love interest in Graffiti Bridge, the 1990 pseudo-sequel to Purple Rain, a role she turned down

Whether from friendly competition as their careers progressed or not, the Madonna/Prince relationship altered slightly in the 1990s. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times in October 1994, Madge relayed the following story: “I was having dinner with Prince and he was just sipping tea, very daintily. I was stuffing food down my face and I was like, ‘Aren’t you going to eat?’ I have this theory about people who don’t eat. They annoy me.”

In that same interview, pressed on her relationship with Prince (and also Michael Jackson), Madonna was extremely candid. “I could never say that either of them were friends,” she said. “I’ve spent a great deal of time with both of them, and they have these manners and they’re just so careful about what they eat, and what they say. But it’s never too late to start being a human being.”

Through the ’90s, as Prince became embroiled in his battle with Warner, Madonna’s name came up again, at least in rumor. Alan Leeds – who was Prince’s former tour manager, president of Paisley Park Records and “was arguably as close to Prince as any other person” for a decade of the artist’s career, according to Rolling Stone – believes that some of Prince’s beef with Warner was related to Madonna.

“His contract was coming up for renewal, and both Madonna and Janet Jackson had had contract renewals that had gained headlines,” Leeds told Thorne, “and he wanted a deal that would trump the Madonna deal.” (Liz Jones claims – in Slave to the Rhythm – that Madonna reached out to Prince after his struggles with Warner and suggested a merger between her label, Maverick, and his own, NPG Records, formed after Warner shut down Paisley Park Records in 1993.)

Information about the pair’s relationship seems to dry up as Prince went through his “Artist Formerly Known As” phase and Madonna’s career went into its nth reinvention, but there was a warming-up period at some point. At least, Prince felt comfortable enough with their relationship to joke that “I got more hits than Madonna’s got kids” during a 2007 concert in London.

Eight years later, in 2015, it emerged that Prince invited Madonna and her crew back to Paisley Park after her Minneapolis show for an after-party and private concert that culminated with him serenading her as she sat on the edge of the stage. Six songs into the set, the pair had a whispered exchange, and then Madonna left. Prince continued to play. It probably wasn’t their last interaction, but it was a fitting one: Prince playing for one of his peers, decades after they’d ruled the world and maybe, probably, had gotten together in the middle of it.

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Vogue als Madonna (Dutch article)

‘Strike a pose’. Wie veertig is (of ouder) denkt bij deze kreet meteen aan de iconische video van Madonna en haar dansers. De superster deed toen ook de Blonde Ambition Tour; die met de Jean Paul Gaultier puntbeha’s en -vooral niet te vergeten- haar crew met zeer appetijtelijke dansers.

Twee van die dansers komen morgen naar de Chassé Dance Studio’s om voor te doen hoe het ook alweer moest, Vogue’ing. De belangstelling voor deze manier van bewegen is nieuw leven ingeblazen dankzij een documentaire over hen.

25 jaar na de Blonde Ambition Tour van Madonna is er de documentaire Strike a Pose met zes dansers van Madonna die gaat over hoe het ze vergaan is al die jaren. De supersterrenstatus zijn de meesten voorbij. Een blijkt bij zijn moeder te wonen, een ander werkt in de bediening in de horeca.

Bij deze zes dansers horen José Gutierez en Salim Gauwloos en die blijken het kunstje dus nog steeds te kennen. Dus doe je beste balletkleren aan en dans als de dansers van Madonna. Meedoen kan voor € 20 (een workshop) of € 35,- (twee workshops)

More at DeWestKrant

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The fabulous six at RTL Late Night promoting ‘Strike a Pose’ – live report & pictures


RTL Late Night is one of Hollands’ most popular TV shows, so it is of no surprise at all that the gorgeous Jose, Luis, Salim, Oliver, Kevin and Carlton were a part of it to promote ‘Strike a Pose’.

These men looking absolutely stunning were here to promote the beautiful and not to be missed ‘Strike a Pose’ documentary by Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan. Humberto Tan mentioned the documentary throughout the taping of the show and scenes from the Blond Ambition Tour (from Truth Or Dare) were played on the screens.

The first half of the show was kinda forgetful (sorry) but thankfully it was finally time to witness these incredible men talk about their documentary. It’s funny because it is a fact that many of us grew up watching them. For me personally it was ‘Truth Or Dare’ that turned me into a die-hard Madonna fan, and boy was I love with those dancers. Not to mention how jealous I was of their incredible bond with Madonna, it was such an amazing film and groudbreaking live show.

It’s fabulous that after so many years I finally see them here together with Gabriel present in spirit. They spoke to Humberto about the film, how they truly had not seen each other for many years after the tour, how it was to be reunited. They also discussed hiv and how they dealt with that while on tour. Oliver said he used to be homophobic until he met these men, and it truly changed him for the better.

The most surreal and impressive moment was when they got to VOGUE with each other for the first time in 25 years!! SURREAL and oh so great. I felt like a little girl again watching these beautiful men striking a pose and felt proud and thankful to have been a part of it.

After the taping of the show (which aired live) we got to hang out with the dancers and directors and have a chat. Of course many attendees wanted to take a picture with them, no problem at all as they happily posed with them. I personally can’t wait to see them again Monday when the official premiere for Strike a Pose finally happens in EYE in Amsterdam.

I love ya and enjoyed ya, see you on Monday


Kimberly van Pinxteren – May 2016


Full photo gallery HERE

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‘Strike a Pose’ dancers on RTL Late Night, tune in tonight! RTL4

Oliver, Carlton, Kevin, Luis, Jose, and Salim will be on Dutch television tonight! Tune in to RTL Late Night on RTL 4 at 10:30 pm to see them talk about the film and show some dance moves.

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Madonna’s Tribute To Prince

A tribute by Madonna to iconic musician Prince, who’d tragically passed away last April 21st, shall be a key part of the 2016 Billboard Music Awards.

Both are iconic musicians in their own right, having dominated the music scene especially during the 80s. Upon hearing of Prince’s untimely passing, the Material Girl had posted an old photo of themselves on her Instragamstating, “He Changed The World! A True Visionary. What a loss. I’m Devastated. This is Not A Love Song.” An obvious reference to the duet “Love Song” both had performed for a track on her album “Like A Prayer” which Prince had helped produce in 1988.

The pair had briefly dated in 1985 but had a falling out some years later which had stretched into a decades-long feud with Madonna sniping at Prince in a 1994 interview and Prince slamming her back during a concert in London as late as 2007.

The two seemed to have worked out their differences by 2011 when Madonna attended a sold out concert by Prince at NYC’s Madison Square Garden with Prince playfully calling out to Madonna. Relations between the two must have remained cordial as Prince had invited Madonna for a private performance at Paisley Park in October 2015.  After wrapping up a concert nearby, Madonna had attended; even starting a dance party onstage with her entourage before seating herself to watch the performance.

The history between the two would’ve more than justified Madonna’s being chosen for the tribute. But there has been a bit of an uproar from the fans as Madonna shall be theonly artist to be featured. A campaign for 7,000 signatures has been going the rounds to petition BMA to allow other artists such as Sheila E. and Lenny Kravitz to perform as the fans deem it a tribute deserved by Prince.

BMA Executive Producer Mark Bracco however, defends the decision to have Madonna pay tribute as Prince had been a peer, a colleague and a friend. Even talk show host Wendy Williams, known for trash talking celebrities – including Madonna – has deemed the choice appropriate as she’d stated, in reply to the protest,

“Oh really Prince People? Who do you think is worthy?” she had asked.

“There are three people in the trinity of greatness in music as far as pop stars that are age appropriate … and two of them are dead: Michael, Prince and Madonna. That’s it!”

In any case,it is but fitting that Prince be given a tribute by none other than the Queen of Pop herself.

More at Jobs&Hire

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Strike a Pose at the Tel Aviv International Documentary Festival

Madonna has always been outrageous, and her 1990 Blond Ambition tour was no exception, both onstage and off; like the songs says: “express yourself”. And to judge by Alek Keshishian’s documentation of the tour, the provocative film Madonna: Truth or Dare – they did. In Strike a Pose, a new documentary, directors Ester Gould and Reijer Zwann catch up with the troupe of “fierce male dancers” 25 years later, and it soon becomes apparent that as much as the 1991 documentary revealed, there was, as one of the dancers says in Gould and Zwann’s film, “another backstage” that remained hidden. Despite the onstage flamboyance, the provocative moves and the intimate conversations, there was much that tour members did not want to talk about in 1990.

Kevin Stea/Photo: Jake Sarfaty

Kevin Stea/Photo: Jake Sarfaty

Madonna was looking for something more than technique, she was looking a certain kind of presence and personality in her dancers. 25 years later, in Strike a Pose, their unique qualities shine through. Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza and Luis Xtravaganza Camacho were active on the New York City ballroom scene, (Jennie Livingston’s Paris is Burning follows the ballroom scene between 1986 – 1989 and shows a young Jose in competition), and choreographed Madonna’s famous Vogue video.   Completing the group of seven dancers were Carlton Wilborn, Salim Gauwloos, Gabriel Trupin, Oliver S Crumes III, and Kevin Stea who was the dance captain. Gabriel Trupin died in 1995, and is represented in the film by his mother Sue Trupin. Other than Oliver, all the dancers were gay, although, as becomes apparent over the course of the film, not all were comfortable with the tour’s exposure of their private lives and sexuality.

The tour and Truth or Dare documentary had an enormous impact on the dancers, popular culture and a generation coming of age when homophobia and AIDS ran rampant, and many people lived in fear. One of the moving aspects of the film is hearing the response of fans, for many Truth or Dare was the first time they saw men kissing. As one fan expressed it: “I was so relieved that finally I could identify with someone.”

Salim Gawloos/Photo: Facunda Gabba

Salim Gawloos/Photo: Facunda Gabba

In Strike a Pose, one becomes acquainted with each of the dancers, and their lives in the aftermath of the tour with Madonna. What stands out more than anything else is how very young they all were back then, still in the process of mapping out their identity. The intensity and intimacy of the tour established a close bond among the dancers and Madonna. Yet there is a contradiction between the openness, freedom and sexuality as expressed onstage and in archival footage from Keshishian’s film, and the individual experiences of the dancers as recounted in Strike a Pose. Moreover, once the tour was over, life went on, and life brought changes. For some the instant fame took them on a path of drugs and alcohol abuse, others had difficulty dealing with the notoriety, and some had difficult personal challenges with which to contend.

Strike a Pose will be shown at Docaviv 2016, and two of the film’s protagonists, Kevin Stea and Salim (Slam) Gauwloos will be the guests of the festival, through the joint initiative and collaboration of Docaviv and Hot Channel 8. The film will be screened at the festival on May 21st, 27th, and 28th. Conversations with the dancers, as well as ticket information, screening venues and times are listed on the Docaviv website (and that’s the place to check for any changes and updates).

More at MidnightEast

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