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Inviting the world to dance
Artists join forces to send message of peace
At a time when social distancing and social turmoil fill the headlines, a new film invites us to join together and cherish every human life.
"Dancing Joy is a love letter to the world," says director, Lan Lee. "It's designed to be universally understood. We use the languages of music and dance. We feature the beauty of our planet. And we honor the many deep and diverse cultures of our world, weaving them together to illustrate the profound truth of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, his Ode to Joy."
"We are mothers ourselves," explains editor, Mie Smith. "We know how children respond to music and dance and the beauty of nature. We used these elements to tell a story of brotherhood--of joy--of belovedness. We wanted to give audiences of all ages something that nourishes their own creativity."
"Most films glorify division," says producer, Kate Tsubata. "Dancing Joy presents a new storyline--the essential connectedness of all people. We all sing, we all dance, we all love, we all want to be happy. Our cultures aren't mutually exclusive, but unique expressions of human creativity."
Dancing Joy features some 200 dance artists from 21 cultures, including the deaf culture, in tribute to Beethoven's own deafness. The symphony is the score of the film. The camera whisks us from nation to nation, and the action is the powerful dance of each people.
"We made this film as an antidote to the violence and separation infecting our world," Ms. Lee says. "This is perhaps the first-ever globally-made production, with each artist's heart for humanity conveyed through their unique contribution."
Shooting involved 56,000 miles of travel to 10 nations and 19 locations. A tiny crew circled the globe, joined by local crew members in each place. Filmed in natural and historical locations, the dancers perform their ancient traditional movement to the music composed two centuries ago.
"Many people long for a world where we can all live in peace," Ms. Tsubata says. "We hope Dancing Joy gives us a glimpse of what that world looks like. We hope it sparks conversation and controversy."
"Dance--music--cinema: These all create a strong emotional response," says Ms. Lee. "Art can reach where words often cannot. We really want people to know that peace isn't just possible--it's essential."