Life After Dance

The new PBS documentary Water Flowing Together examines the life and legacy of now-retired Native American dancer Jock Soto

BY Brian McCormick

April 07 2008 12:00 AM ET

Masculine,
Navajo, Puerto Rican, and gay, Jock Soto was one of the most
influential male ballet dancers of our time. He inspired the
creation of 100 ballets during his amazing 24-year
career and was partner to some of the greatest
ballerinas -- Heather Watts, Darci Kistler, and Wendy
Whelan. In 2005 he retired from dancing. His final
performance with the New York City Ballet sold out two
months in advance. While much is known of his
professional accomplishments and his incredible life on the
stage, less is known of his journey. In Water
Flowing Together,
which is the name of the
dancer’s Navajo clan, Gwendolen Cates
chronicles Soto’s final years with the New York City
Ballet as he faces the prospect of retiring. But what
we also see is a gay man reconnecting with his
roots and preparing for the future. The 60-minute film
will have its broadcast premiere on the PBS series
Independent Lens, hosted by Terrence
Howard, Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 10 p.m. (check local
listings.)

More than a
simple biopic, the film offers an enlightening portrait of
an artist through the eyes of his parents, colleagues,
and partners. Soto and Cates hope the film will help
open doors for young people and enlighten others --
about sexuality and ballet.

Jock Soto 2 | Advocate.com

Born to a Navajo
mother and Puerto Rican father, Soto became interested
in ballet at age 5, after seeing Edward Villella in the
“Rubies” section of George
Balanchine’s Jewels on TV. At 14 he came
to New York to study at the School of American Ballet, and
in 1981, at age 16, was selected by Balanchine to be a
member of the corps de ballet. In 1984 he was promoted
to soloist, and he made principal the following year.

Tags: Dance

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