Athletes are artists. Artists are athletes. 

Carolina Performing Arts Video Debuts with Michael Jackson Jr. and Caleb Love

We collaborated with Carolina Performing Arts, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and UNC Men’s Basketball on an original short film.

Featuring dancer Michael Jackson Jr. and basketball player Caleb Love, the film highlights the melding of worlds between athletes and artists.

In 1977, Marquette basketball coach Al McGuire first coined the term “The Big Dance” as a nickname for the NCAA basketball tournament. In this video, we used that as a frame to draw parallels between basketball and dance, following the elite basketball player Caleb Love and the world-class dancer Michael Jackson Jr. as they prepare for a grand performance—the big dance.

This parallel can be seen in an early mood board below.

The origins of the film's idea lie in the childhood of Alison Friedman, Executive and Artistic Director for Carolina Performing Arts. She was a dancer and her brother was a basketball player.

From an early age, she saw the similarities between the two art forms, and as Artistic Director at CPA, she knew a video could easily bridge cultures and illustrate the commonalities between artists and athletes.

Our ultimate goal is to bridge cultures and illustrate the commonalities between artists and athletes.

Alison Friedman, Executive and Artistic Director for Carolina Performing Arts

The Carolina Performing Arts film won several awards at the 2023 Addy Awards as well as a feature in Brand Storytelling.

We used match cuts as a technique to further this parallel on screen.

A dribble at the foul line becomes an arabesque. A pirouette morphs into a spin move. A jump cuts with a leap, climaxes with a dunk, then lands gracefully on the floor. The dancer mimics basketball moves, such as a layup or shaking an opponent. The basketball player moves his feet as if dancing. We move in close for granular shots of beads of sweat and dilated pupils.

It's a thrill to leap into the world of Carolina basketball through this video highlighting the skill, grace and power that athletes and dancers have in common.

Ailey dancer Michael Jackson Jr.

By showing the intense training that each must endure, the preparation that each must take, and the determination that each must possess to excel at what they do, we understand that these two are one and the same. There is art in athleticism and athleticism in art.

For Caleb Love, it was the first time he had done a film like this. For Michael Jackson, Jr. it was a time to watch Caleb's moves and improvise his own movements. One working off the other to create a symbiotic visual.

The video premiered before a crowd of 21,000 in UNC's Dean Smith Center during their January 7th game versus Notre Dame (which they won 81-64!).

Sometimes it's hard to get an idea out of your brain and into the real world. For this project, it was easily done with a group that had so much invested in the topic. In addition to Alison's childhood connection, several Myriad employees were fans of both UNC and Notre Dame (who were the opponents at the premiere) and also basketball players themselves.

The team was laser focused and had one shot to get it all. It was alchemical.

Alison Friedman, Executive and artistic director for Carolina Performing Arts

Read more about the full campaign from Carolina Performing Arts, UNC Basketball and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

We had a small but fantastic crew for the project. A huge thanks to all the crew that helped make this project a success and allowed the video to win a 2023 American Advertising Award.

  • Chris Young - Exec Producer
  • Daniel Cook - Co-Director + Editor
  • Spike Hoban - Co-Director
  • Drew Grimes - Post Producer
  • Carla Hendrix - Producer
  • Will Feichter - Exec Producer
  • Daniel Cook - Original Music, Sound Design and Mix
  • Autumn Brand - Original Music + Production Assistant
  • Brent Edwards - Graphics
  • Kyle Messina - Colorist
  • Derick Childress - Additional VFX

17 May 2024