It was Saturday night, and I was stuck at home like everyone else. I was so tired of the usual Netflix and chill routine having already binged on everything from Tiger King to Last Kingdom, Westworld to The Mandalorian, Elite to Godfather of Harlem, and everything in between.
The idea of sitting in front of the TV for even one more minute was terrifyingly depressing. I missed going out, meeting my friends, eating at a restaurant, or just strolling down Colorado Blvd in Old Town Pasadena, popping in and out of the shops – you know? Simple, social stuff.
I missed my old life, and although I’m usually pretty good and staying positive and hopeful, I’m also not entirely immune to self-pity. I was in a funk and I kind of liked it. Eagerly, I set out to indulge in bitter melancholia with a dab of nostalgia.
I opened the last bottle of champagne we’d been saving for whatever reason and put on a house music station on Spotify. Now, don’t be all judgy if you don’t like house music. If, like me, you have memories of nights out with killer DJs spinning awesome tracks and dancing your woes away, then you know where I’m coming from. If you don’t, just imagine it and come along.
Halfway into my second glass of Korbel, Ron Flatter’s Amantes Amentes came on. I was on my phone, engulfed in a BuzzFeed article about how Gen Xers are super cool, so it took me a few minutes to notice the track. But then I did. Not exactly sure when I abandoned my phone and got up, but before I knew it, I was throwing up my arms, dancing shamelessly in my ugly post-apocalyptic sweats and fuzzy mismatched socks. And when the song ended, I replayed it. Twice!
By the time the second replay was done, my funk was gone. I was smiling and feeling giddy. Ron’s music lifted my spirits and filled me with hope. It was truly healing.
I wanted to share what I had experienced with others, so the next day, I tracked him down on Instagram and found the contact information for his agent. I emailed and shared with her my reel and said I was interested in collaborating with Ron to create a new music video for his song Amantes Amentes. I honestly didn’t think anything was going to come from it. But on Monday, she responded, and by Tuesday, Ron and I were communicating.
I pitched him my idea of using his track to celebrate music, art and dance at a time when we all need them the most. He got the vision immediately.
“Amantes Amentes is a special track to me,” says Ron. “Everything came out in one run, making me feel safe and emotionally connected to the song from the beginning. I loved the vision for the music video immediately. From the start, I had no doubt that this was going to be a very special project.”
The next person I called was my friend Sophie Olson. She’s an amazingly talented choreographer and someone I’ve known for more than 8 years. We’ve collaborated on several projects in the past, including the interactive music video with Zooey Deschanel for Fox’s New Girl and promotions for So You Think You Can Dance. I shared with her my idea for the music video, and she was on board right away.
“The first time I heard the song, I was really moved,” says Sophie. “I locked into the music and connected to it immediately. Dancing is what I do for a living, but it’s also what I do to get inspired or to just shift my mood.”
Sophie got to work. Thanks to her many connections in the professional dance community and her colleagues’ respect, it didn’t take her long to get incredibly talented dancers to join us.
“When I first heard about the project, I knew it would bring lots of joy to people,” says Liana Montemayor, a dancer featured in the music video, “so I jumped on board without hesitation.”
“We thought it would be a fun thing to do,” says Cailin Stadnyk, also a featured dancer in the music video. “We love to dance and often have mini dance parties in our living room anyway, so why not take part in something that would spread joy. It also reminded us to keep moving our bodies which is so important during stressful times. Moving keeps us healthy and able to stay joyful!”
The video needed to include not only professional dancers but also non-professionals who loved to dance, so we reached out to family, friends, and friends of friends to garner interest in our fun project.
“You don’t have to be a dancer to dance,” says Sophie. “We’ve been moving since we were in our mothers’ wombs. Movement is the most natural way to express ourselves and to communicate our feelings.”
In less than a week, we had gathered more than 50 clips from different dancers. Some were professionals who expressed their emotions through personally choreographed movements, while others were dancers at heart, parents, and kids who used Ron’s music to express joy.
“I think everyone featured in this video connected to the song and told us their own personal story of living through this pandemic in their movement,” says Sophie. “We didn’t hear their stories, we saw them. I can’t imagine anything more beautiful than that.”
The final music video of Amantes Amentes features 31 dancers (including babies) from different parts of the world, all moving in their own unique way.
“I am so proud of this project,” says Ron. “Seeing all these different, creative, wonderful people dance to my music is overwhelming! I can feel their love and passion for music, and their joy for life. I hope this video brings happiness, especially in these uncertain times.”
Here is our music video for Amantes Amentes. Hope it makes you smile and gets you dancing! And remember “anyone can dance,” says Liana “just put on some music and groove it out!”