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.
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.