Music, dance, homosexuality, celebrity, masturbation, religion the explosive combination infused Madonna’s “Blond Ambition” tour with a revolutionary feel in 1990.
“Blond Ambition” was a tour like none other with a fast-paced mix of choreography, fashion and controversy that set a new bar for pop music tours.
Provocatively incorporating Christian imagery, the tour was denounced by the Vatican as sinful.
Dancers appeared to masturbate Madonna on stage as she sang of religious experience in “Like a Prayer,” the title track of the album she was supporting, leading to threats to arrest her at her Toronto show.
Almost 30 years later, a documentary traces the trajectories of the seven dancers of the tour — one of whom described their lives as chapters before, during and after Madonna.
Of the dancers, six of them were gay at a time when homosexuality was much more taboo and associated by many straight people with illness.
Building on pop music trends in the 1980s, dancers took on roles nearly as central as the main performer.
“Blond Ambition” which traveled across North America, Europe and Japan and in 1991 became the basis for a documentary, “Truth or Dare,” which was even more controversial.
In that film, the dancers showed the two sides of Madonna — the “sex goddess” with her racy music and dancing, and the maternal figure who dispensed intimate advice to her “babies.”
“Who wouldn’t let Madonna call you ‘baby?'” asked Luis Camacho, one of the young dancers catapulted into the spotlight by the diva.
“She was really a mentor,” the now 48-year-old told AFP.
“I really looked to her for not only guidance, but how to act in different situations, and I really matured, became a man.”