How do you tell a story without words? How do you convey history, emotions, relationships and personality? In Disney’s newest animated short, Us Again, it’s dance. In just seven minutes, Big Hero Six‘s head of animation Zach Perrish captures the essences of human experience such as aging, family, and passion.
In a world bursting with soul and rhythm, Art can’t be bothered. In his old age, such rhythm is nothing but bothersome noise. But his young-at-heart wife, Dot, is still chasing the joys of life, even if Art is hesitant.
One magical evening, the skies open and the couple dance their years away. They once again experience their youth, passion, and love. And all through brilliantly choreographed dance. Perrish worked with dancers/choreographers Keone and Mari Madrid to create the dance sequences. Keone and Mari are champions of NBC’s World of Dance and have appeared in music videos for BTS, Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, and more. They ground this animated musical fantasy in real life movement, giving these characters soul.
As always, Disney continues to push the limits of what animation can be. From the lights of the city to the fountain and the rain, it’s exquisite. The way they move between Art and Dot in their current age versus their youthful past, with the rain as a motif and conductor for this magical realism, they use animation as a medium to its fullest potential.
At its core, Us Again reminds us that time is fleeting. Youth is fleeting. Even as we live through a global pandemic when it sometimes feels as though there is 27 hours in a day, if we listen close enough, there is a beat pulsing through all of us. Connecting us to each other, and to ourselves. Art and Dot serve as both a glimpse into the future and a reminder to stay in the present, and Perrish does all of this through music and movement.
Us Again will play alongside Raya and the Last Dragon in theaters, and will debut on Disney+ in June.