Two of the most iconic documentaries about dance are about to leave Netflix in a few days. Paris is Burning and Madonna: Truth or Dare will be removed from the Netflix library on June 1st. In actuality, Paris is Burning and Truth or Dare are iconic because they are about more than dance. Both of these films chronicled an aspect of LGBTQ life and culture seldom seen prior to that time. That of gay men and transgender women who lived lives filled with joy and friendship even in the face of great difficulties and hardships. Still, Paris is Burning was one of the first movies to also gave us a stark depiction of the threat of violence that loom constant for many transgender women of color. A type and level of danger that does not intersect with any other social group.
Both films brought to the fore the underground club dance genre of Voguing. It is a genre that continues to thrive and evolve. Paris is Burning and Truth or Dare, though relatively modest films, both stand tall in the canon of movies about LGBTQ culture, dance history, and American history. Like Jazz, Voguing is an art form that originated in America in very similar circumstances though in very different eras. This Memorial Day weekend, hopefully true dance lovers will take a break from the beach and the barbecue and take in one or both of these two important (and downright entertaining) films before they are removed from Netflix.
Paris is Burning Trailer