A stop motion animated film which aims to raise awareness of how deadly dangerous dance can be

These are dark times. The growing amount of political, social and environmental issues fill the agendas of millions of concerned people around the world. You may think that in our modern and thorough times, every potential hazard has been identified. You would be wrong. There is a critical issue that, as yet, nobody has taken into consideration: how dangerous dance can be.

“No, I Don’t Want to Dance” it’s a stop motion animated film which aims to raise awareness of how deadly dangerous dance can be. The film presents a series of short vignettes in which some characters are victims of unfortunate events, or in serious danger, but it looks like they are dancing following the rhythm of the techno song everybody listen in this particular universe. The surreal scenario is given by the fact that people surrounding the unlucky characters, misunderstanding the situation, don’t realise the seriousness of what is happening, and lured in by the “dance movements” and the rhythm, instead of helping out, they begin absurdly to dance as well, imitating the moves of the unlucky characters.

The core of this idea comes from a simple observation I had probably four or five years ago. Have you ever had the impression that if you play the right song while a person is, for instance, frantically moving their arms trying to getting rid of a bee, it may seem like this person is dancing to the rhythm of the song? That’s a pretty accurate example of the type of deep thoughts I had at that time. In the last few years I tried to pitch this idea in live action for different music videos, but as often happens, it got rejected and ended up inside a folder of my computer called “too_expensive_and_ambitious”. Being a big fan of animation and stop motion and having a little experience myself with this technique, I finally decided to reopen that folder, assemble a talented team and bring this quirky idea to life. I started doing some simple animation tests which got me really excited, then I finalised the script and started pre-production.

The idea was born as a music-driven concept but I wanted to shape it more as a short film, so I decided to turn this into a “social film” which promotes the silly idea of dance being as dangerous as drugs, alcohol and similar hazards. Part of this choice comes from a personal feeling which I wanted to express with a subtle satiric attack toward the creative industry. Today more than ever I feel that to get recognition, especially in film festivals, more than be original or creative you have to produce work that treats what are considered important matters and promotes social awareness and diversity, which on paper it’s a great thing especially considering the political situation we’re currently living. The other side of the coin it’s that it gets a little tougher to stand out for people like me who struggle to conform and keep on creating fictional and comedy work which are not exploring the “right” thematics.

However, I also liked the idea of how open to interpretations this film can be. One of my animators, for instance, believe this film it’s ultimately about Brexit. And when you consider “the characters on this film blindly following other people’s movement and as a result having to deal with terrible consequences,” I think he may have a point.

Shot over seven intense weeks in which a small team of talented people created hundreds of props, built seven sets, and animated almost thirty characters their own costumes and features. With the intentions of conveying a sense of warmth and homemade feeling without the help of CGI, elements like fire and water have been designed to reflect traditional stop motion animation.

The plan was to focus on a colorful, minimalistic, graphic and playful design in order to create a contrast with the dark events happening in the film. This juxtaposition also drove the choice of materials for the puppets and the sets. I wanted the characters to feel soft and cute and also the world around them being pop, stylised and colourful.

So hopefully, one day, when someone asks you, you will be able to reply: “No, I don’t want to dance!”