Athletes are artists. Artists are athletes. 

Carolina Performing Arts Video Debuts at UNC Basketball's Dean Smith Center

We collaborated with Carolina Performing Arts, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and UNC Men’s Basketball on a 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 an elite basketball player and a world-class dancer as they prepare for a grand performance—the big dance.

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

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.

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 things like athletic tape, beads of sweat, and dilated pupils.

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.

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!).

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 folks that helped make this project a success.

  • 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

31 Jan 2023