Originally scheduled to screen in Brown Auditorium Theater, “And Then We Danced” premieres in the new MFAH series of virtual films.
And Then We Danced follows Merab, a talented dancer in Tbilisi, capital of the country of Georgia. Paired in a troupe with a young woman who is also his girlfriend, Merab sees his role threatened when newcomer Irakli arrives. At the same time, Merab unexpectedly finds himself attracted to the young man.
Merab’s journey of personal discovery is sensitively filmed, enriched by riveting performances of traditional Georgian dance and song. The film culminates in his audition for the Georgian national team, a truly exhilarating expression of rebellion.
Writer-director Levan Akin, born in Sweden to Georgian parents, is outspoken about his critique of a conservative society. In an interview with distributor Music Box Films, Akin gives a glimpse into his Georgian heritage and its connection to And Then We Danced.
Can you tell us about the traditional Georgian dance culture portrayed in the film?
All children in Georgia attend dance classes from a young age. Following interviews with dancers, we chose to juxtapose the traditional with the new generation’s style of dance. We asked one prestigious ensemble to provide dancers for our film. But after learning about the story, we were told that homosexuality did not exist in Georgian dance. This initial meeting sabotaged us: We worked under secrecy and pressure, even having bodyguards on set.
What makes this love story different?
Georgia’s strong values play a large part in its society today. For a country that has been conquered over and over again throughout the centuries, keeping the cultural identity becomes a matter of survival. I am trying to show that even though you open up to different directions, you can still celebrate and keep your traditions. It’s a heartfelt movie about the importance of being free.
► See a screening of “And Then We Danced” at home from April 8 to April 14. One ticket provides access to the film for 48 hours. Your purchase ($12) supports the MFAH. WATCH NOW