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Cat Dancers (T/F 2008) by Harris Fishman

Posted June 11, 2012

Available from Hulu.

Ron Holiday met his wife Joy when he was 11 and she was 7 and they were both growing up in a farm town in Maine. Little in their lives after that would be remotely normal. They moved to New York on the advice of a nun and became big adagio dance stars, playing to sold-out crowds at Radio City Music Hall and earning respect from the critics. One day, fan and actor William Holden sent the pair a life-changing present: a black leopard cub. In his documentary debut, director Fishman presents a moving look at the Holidays as they transform from world-renowned dance stars to Siegfried and Roy precursors. Along the way, the couple met Chuck Lizza, who became their apprentice, then partner and lover. But in the dangerous world of big cats, tragedy is always close. Now 70, Ron reflects on his life, injecting humor and sorrow into this meticulously crafted tale — the kind of American epic that you couldn’t make up if you tried.

HBO’s interview with director Harris Fishman.