Hot to Trot

Director: Gail Freedman
2017 | USA | 88m
GENRE: Dance | Documentary | Gay | Lesbian | Local Interest/Subjects | Sports
SECTION: Documentary Features
Expected Guests: Director, Gail Freedman, Editor, Dina Potocki & Subject, Emily Coles


Four international dancers go all out in the same-sex ballroom dance competition at the 2014 Gay Games. Their dedicated journeys include changing roles and partners, facing illness, affirming identity, and finding love—on and off the dance floor.

Same-sex ballroom dancing is a daring, elegant twist on an inherently heterosexist form. Here men dance with men, and women dance with women. Leader and follower roles are filled by the more suitable partner, which can change from dance to dance. Beneath fabulous costumes and makeup, same-sex ballroom dancing is radical as “a vertical expression of a horizontal desire.”

Costa Rican Ernesto loses a dance partner to illness and finds a new partner just months before the April Follies competition in Oakland. Russian Nikolai is more recently out and just entering the same-sex dance world after many years as a mainstream ballroom champion. They must navigate differences in their personal and cultural styles, as well as the legacy of homophobic upbringings and past drug abuse.

New Zealander Kieren and American Emily enjoy a simpatico commitment and trust from partnering over the years. Their main concern is managing Emily’s type 1 diabetes, which strongly affects her mood and energy level. When Keiren is pulled away by career concerns, Emily’s less-experienced girlfriend, Katerina, steps in. The competition is fast and furious, inspiring them all to dance their way into life’s next adventures with grit and grace.


Abrazo Queer Tango / Federation of Gay Games  / Trip The Light Fantastic