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"Dancing Queens": Not Enough Drag Queens. Or Hunks. Or Gay People.


How hard is it to get in a drag show?  The ones I've been to are open anyone who wants to slap on a wig and a dress and lip-synch Madonna.  They're for small-town queens to express their inner campiness, not star vehicles for the pros.

But that's the premise of Dancing Queens: a dancer who has a job cleaning up in a drag bar dreams of making it in the show.  

I thought it was the hot black guy on the icon, but apparently he's just there to draw in viewers; the dancer with dreams of drag stardom is actually a little girl named Dylan (Molly Nutley, who is playing 23 but looks around 10).  Dylan lives on an island in  Sweden, spending her time mourning her mother's death, caring for her sick father, and delivering boxes of groceries to needy townfolks (piling on the sainthood rather thick, innit?).  Grandma suggests that she return to her dream of becoming a dancer, but she will have none of it: life is too depressing to dance!  

Her personal life is rather depressing, too.  Sebbe (Max Ulveson), a hot guy who has fifteen jobs in town,  invites her to a wrestling match "to see sweaty guys grabbing each other," but she refuses: "Only guys like watching that."  Don't be hetero-phobic, girlfriend -- lots of women like men.  Later he tries to kiss her, but she rejects him. What part of "Not interested in men" don't you understand?

One day Dylan succumbs to her Grandma's pressure and goes to Stockholm to audition for a dancing role at the Grand Theater (which doesn't look very grand).  "Too late -- auditions were last month.  But how about a job cleaning the place?  At least you'll be able to watch the dancers, pick up a few tips."

Turns out to be a drag queen revue.  As Dylan watches, head queen Tommy La Diva (Claes Malmberg) complains that the choreography is too advanced.  Drag is about sashaying, not piroutting.  The outfits, not the moves.  He calls for the choreographer - the young, hip, art-moderne Victor (Fredrik Quinones, top photo), hired just because he's the director's boyfriend.

"You have to change with the times," Victor explains.  "Be avant-garde. Challenge people."

"Drag isn't about challenge!" Tommy yells.  "It's comforting!  It's inspiring!  'I Will Survive' in a homophobic society."

Tommy runs back to the dressing room to have a tantrum, and talks to his dead boyfriend. Gosh, it's dead loved ones all the way down.  The director wants to know what's wrong.  "We used to be a family -- a community.  Coming here was like coming home.  The young queens never suffered.  This is just a game to them."

Meanwhile, Victor considers giving Tommy some retro numbers, and having the other queens do the modern stuff.  When did we move from Dylan to an omniscient point of view?

While cleaning, Dylan stumbles upon Victor rehearsing a complex ballet number.  Uh-oh, he gives her a look. The pansexual diva is going to find hetero-love!  She ends up helping him work on a hetero-erotic pas-de-deux (lots of gyrating atop each other). This will definitely not work for a drag queen revue!  

Dylan is so good that Victor asks her to join the show, to help with the modern numbers.  He has to Victor/Victoria her, introducing her as a gay boy from Australis who is new to drag.  Yawn.  A woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman.  Julie Andrews did it better in 1982. 

Dylan, of course, saves the show.  We close to the queens in the audience, watching Victor and Dylan's hetero-erotic pas-de-deux, awe-stricken about how great she is.    The closing credits show two other hetero couples hooking up, and no gay couples.

So this is a cisgender heterosexual story, with the gay people relegated to props.  Ugh!  

Four questions:

1. You stream a movie called Dancing Queens in order to see drag performers. Why aren't there any drag performances?  The queens barely even appear in drag. 

2. The movie starts out being about the clash between old drag culture, born out of oppression, and the modern queers who grew up in a (mostly) non-homophobic society. That would be interesting.  Why is it dropped in favor of a cliche "girl follows her dream" storyline?

3.  Dylan says that her main dance speciality is disco, and Dancing Queens is a reference to the 1976 Abba song.  Why are there no disco numbers?

4. What happened to the hot black guy on the icon? 

My grade: D

source http://everydayheterosexism.blogspot.com/2021/06/dancing-queens-not-enough-drag-queens.html

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