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March 22, 2014, 12:00 AM | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
Which comes first, the story or the cast? For Filmmaker Alan Brown, it was the dancers he cast for his film who inspired him to create his story. “I developed the story—and the characters—around the dancers I cast,” says Brown. “I wrote the story as I grew to know them.”
Early reviews of the film, “Five Dances,” have lauded the superb dancing of Ryan Steele, the film’s lead. Steele was recommended and was asked to audition. The first audition focused on dancing. When he was called back, it was time to test his acting.
“I’d already seen him dance, so when I discovered that he had wonderful, natural dramatic instincts and talent, I hired him on the spot,” says Brown. Later that day, Steele and Brown met for a coffee and got to know each other. That’s when Brown knew that he would write the film around this character.
“Five Dances,” as the film’s webpage says, “is a classic tale of finding success and romance in the big city.” We follow Steele, who plays Chip, as he interacts with the rest of the members of this small modern dance troupe. That’s why Brown insists that this film isn’t just a dance film and encourages those who aren’t necessarily dance fans to come and watch.
You’ve “likely never seen a film quite like this,” Brown says. “And ... certainly never seen a dance film like this one. [You’ll] be enthralled by our talented dancers and by Jonah Bokaer’s amazing choreography.”
The film has screened all over the world, and now it plays in Cleveland. Audiences may be different, or decide to attend the film for a variety of reasons, but “everyone everywhere loves a good story.”
“Some people come for the dance, others for the love story,” says Brown. “... The most satisfying, and common, [audience] reaction I’ve gotten is from people who come up to me after a screening and tell me that they’re not dance fans but loved the film.”
Audience reaction means a lot to this writer/director, but it’s filmmaking and the creative process that keep Brown going.
“... I really wouldn’t want to be doing anything else,” he says. “I’m happiest when I’m making a film.”
— Anne M. DiTeodoro
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