Dancing Joy| 1hr : 16mins
Director: Lan Tsubata Lee | Producer: Kate Tsubata
Focus Years: 2020 | Country: United States
In 2018, a team of women filmmakers collaborated with artists of 21 cultures to create a global film in the universal languages of music and dance and scenic beauty, as a love letter to the world.
Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 was the music, with its call for humanity to live in joy as a single family, embraced in a divine love. The dancers choreographed their traditional dance to the symphony. As a work of peacebuilding, the film was made sustainably with careful attention to the value of all people, and the sanctity of the earth itself.
"Dancing Joy" celebrates the beauty of each culture, and the things we hold in common. It portrays the astounding beauty of the planet. It honors the creative, divine spirit that exists within each of us. It evokes the profound embrace of divine love that is our birthright.
The film presents a glimpse of the massive energy and beauty of our world at peace. "When every story is that of hate, division, distrust and violence, how can people imagine the possibility of peace?" asked the makers. "We need to begin creating cinema that changes our perspective of each other. Instead of feeding into the fear and hate cycle, we can show human beings as beautiful, loving, fascinating, wise and valuable." Part of that vision involved those with different abilities--in tribute to Beethoven's own deafness, a deaf dance troupe is featured using American Sign Language Dance to interpret the German language lyrics being sung. "The triumph of spirit over circumstances is another way to bring joy."
In addition to the producer, Kate Tsubata, the director (herself a choreographer) Lan Tsubata Lee, and the editor and film designer, Mie Smith, are all from one family. The cinematographer, Henrik A. Meyer, and the camera and drone operator, Yousuke Kiname, rounded out the crew, traveling 56,000 miles in 60 days for principal photography. Just as the film was set to be released, COVID struck, bringing into stark contrast the reality between the reality of the world in isolation and the film's vision of a world connected in love.
Dance cultures include Appalachia, Ballet, Ballroom, Botswana, Bulgaria, Caribbean, Fiji, Greece, Hawai'i, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Korea, Japan, Native American, Nepal, Rwanda, Scotland, Spain, and American Sign Language Dance.
The film dispenses with the structure of interviews or narration. "We wanted anyone in the world to be able to watch the movie, and understand the story, through the music, dance and visual beauty," said the makers. The result is a filmed journey that transports the viewer seamlessly around the world, carried along by the music. The sense of wonder builds into a growing sense of familiarity, and finally, oneness.
We hope the film will uplift every viewer and dispel the dark tides threatening our beautiful planet.