Birds Eye View had the pleasure of talking to director Dania Pasquini to discuss the British sensation Street Dance 3D. Dania has won a number of music video awards, alongside co-director Max Giwa, including A Platinum Sales Award for significant contribution to album sales. In her latest project, making her directorial feature debut, Dania takes on a brave and energetic film with great outcome. An exciting blend of striking, original concepts mixed with an innate sense of cool.
CS: There are very clear on-screen challenges in the bonding of the two groups of dancers. Can you talk a bit about the challenges you experienced in immersing yourself in the vastly different cultures of street dance and ballet, and making them interact, in order to direct Street Dance 3D?
DP: Our first consideration for our movie in presenting the two different cultures of Streetdance and Ballet was that we were keen to present both positively. Most of all we wanted to give our young audience, some of whom may already have preconceptions about ballet, a window into this world and to ultimately appreciate it. We wanted every young boy and girl who may consider doing ballet to feel that it is also a cool thing to do, just as they may think of Street Dance 3D. With this aim we carefully cast the ballet crew making sure we found the coolest characters, who had their own sense of style. We had an understanding of the rigorous training ballet students were put through and our accomplished ballet choreographer Will Tucker, gave us insight into the lives of ballet students. Essentially we understood that ballet and streetdance were considered to be from very different cultures, one steeped with tradition and the other a contemporary urban form of dance. But our aim was to uncover the spirit of dance, poke fun at the preconceptions and celebrate dance – all disciplines of dance!
CS: How has this experience differed from other projects considering that this is your first big production as a director?
DP: Of course making my first feature film was a unique experience, thankfully with twenty years of experience making music videos and commercials I had a clear understanding of the whole filming process.
CS: Carly – played by Nichola Burley – is a very real character with flaws and weaknesses, but is ultimately someone we admire and look up to. Do you think she is a good contemporary role-model? Which classic female role-model would you compare her to?
DP: Nicola Burley playing the lead Carly comes across as likeable and familiar. She is both feisty and vunerable and young girls will identify with her. Essentially in our movie she overcomes her weaknesses and this is her universal story and makes her a good contemporary role model.
CS: This film will of course be compared to contemporary US dance films such as Step Up (2006) and Save the Last Dance (2001). Where do you see the future of British film in a global context?
DP: Street Dance 3D is a phenomena that has been sweeping across the world for quite some time, with international competitions that stretch across the globe. Our movie Street dance 3D celebrates the British style of Street dance, showcasing the amazing talent we have in the UK.
CS: At Birds Eye View we celebrate women filmmakers and hope that one day people will be recognised for their talent, irrelevant of gender, race or background. Do you think that you have had a different experience of the film industry because you are a woman?
DP: I have had a fabulous experience working in the film industry. Yes the industry is very male dominated but I have never experienced any set backs because of this! I have always felt that I had the support from my peers and that anything was and is possible! That I suppose is the key! If you believe and never give up then it will be possible. I have never thought that being a woman would hold me back. What is special about the film industry is that creativity rules, whilst gender, age and race comes somewhere in the background. Work it ladies!
Street Dance 3D is out now. Show your support for Dania Pasquini and women directors by going to see it. For more information, visit out First Weekenders page.