From left, Kevin Stea, Gabriel Trupin and Oliver Crumes III, three of the dancers who performed in Madonna’s “Blond Ambition” tour.
Credit…Lisa Guarnieri/CMT Docs

I’m not in a “La La Land” kind of mood. These strange times call for real life, so I found myself landing on “Strike a Pose.” Watching this 2016 documentary about the dancers who performed in Madonna’s “Blond Ambition” tour — one called it a show “about freedom, freedom as an artist, freedom as a human being” — the word I’m left with is resiliency.

The movie, which is available on NetflixTubi and iTunes, checks in with the dancers in the documentary “Truth or Dare” 25 years later. One, Gabriel Trupin, has died of AIDS; the others made it out alive, but have lost some glitter along the way. Armed with life experience — a couple have rebounded from rock bottom (drug and alcohol abuse), others are H.I.V. positive — they are defined by determination. “Strike a Pose” can go to dark places with rivers of tears, but, again, it’s real.

The dancers in “Strike a Pose” are no longer the boys they were in “Truth or Dare.” They’ve grown up, and they’re looking outward, still dancing and also teaching the next generation — watching it is a painful reminder that dance’s oral tradition of passing on knowledge, body-to-body, is in jeopardy.

The men perform solos in their apartments; poetic dances, considered and raw that somehow get to the essence of their art form: don’t stop, which is particularly apt now. For a companion piece there is this performance of “In the Upper Room” on YouTube. Twyla Tharp’s remarkable 1986 ballet set to music by Philip Glass, grainy or not, is another reminder of bravery. This, like, “Strike a Pose,” is a demonstration of courage: through bodies, tenacity and sweat.

Full article at NYTimes