Life After Dance

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



In addition to
shedding light on the artist’s maturing relationship
with his cultural identities, the documentary lets
Soto’s sensitivity and humanity come across on
camera with the same magnanimity and potency as his
dancing. When he calls the Institute of Culinary Education
and learns he needs a high school diploma to apply, he
feels humiliated, as if he hasn’t accomplished
anything. Later the exhaustion and emotion of
preparing for his last three days overwhelm him. While the
film doesn’t concentrate on his sexuality or
make mention of his off-stage relationship with
choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, Soto is candid
about who he is, and charmingly so. “How gay do I
look right now?” he asks, as he and his mother
sit fanning themselves. Later he declares,
“Just think, June 19, 2005, is the last time I have
to get dressed up in drag,” as he’s
preparing for his farewell concert.

Jock Soto 3 |

As the credits
roll, Soto is seen with his boyfriend, Luis Fuentes,
cooking together, walking the dog, holding hands.
“He’s a chef and sommelier,”
beams Soto. “We met five years ago, right when we
started making the film. He wasn’t a big part
of my life, but he played a part in how the film would
end.” They now live together in New York and are
building a house in New Mexico.

“I needed
to express that I didn’t retire and die,” Soto
explained of the imperative to make the documentary.
But Soto has found a life after dance. He still
teaches at the School of American Ballet, and after
graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education, he and
his partner started a catering business

Tags: Dance