2:00 pm | $12/$10 members/$6 for children 12 and under | 1h 28min | Documentary

Using the storytelling techniques of dramatic cinema, HOT TO TROT is an intimate, humanist account of a captivating, little-known phenomenon: same-sex competitive ballroom dance, a world where expressions of personal passion become a political statement, and where one literal false step can crush aspirations.

Emily Coles and Kieren Jameson

Away from their graceful turns on the dance floor, the characters’ backstories frame their struggles and conflicts in life. The film follows charismatic Ernesto Palma, a former meth addict from Costa Rica, who strives for success and love; gritty, determined Emily Coles, a type 1 diabetic, diagnosed at age three, who wears an insulin pump 24/7, even while performing; handsome Nikolai Shpakov, a dazzling dance champion, who came out only a few years ago and still longs for the full acceptance of his Russian family; and introspective Kieren Jameson, whose identity was forged in the strict, conservative environment of a New Zealand military household. The film follows the dancers over a four-year period, as it watches their relationships with family, dance partners, life partners—and themselves—develop and deepen.

For these individuals, dance is a form of personal power and political engagement that simultaneously shapes their identities and helps them overcome uniquely personal challenges. They are not mere emblems of LGBTQ politics—they are living them. And HOT TO TROT’s narrative, which lives at the intersection of art, activism, and creative passion, appeals to a broad and diverse audience with its universal, human stories. Following these characters’ evolution, as the spectacle of the Gay Games approaches—the pinnacle of same-sex competitive ballroom dance—we understand, vividly and personally, the real impact of the LGBTQ politics we read about every day. And we care.

Gail Freedman, director/producer of HOT TO TROT, is a longtime resident of New Paltz and has been coming to the Rosendale Theatre for 25 years.



Hot to Trot – Trailer from First Run Features on Vimeo.