Encanto: Bringing Colombian Culture to the Big Screen Through Dance

We're going into the fall season, and while we have had a ton of great animated movies this year, two of which have come from Disney, we're still getting a third in November with Encanto. We've seen a brief teaser for this one, but Disney hosted an early virtual press day where we got to see about thirty minutes of footage along with hearing from the filmmakers about what it took to bring this movie to the big screen. Director and screenwriter Jared Bush talked about Colombia as a meeting place for all sorts of different Latin cultures.

"Early on, we knew that we wanted to tell a story about a large extended family with themes of perception and perspective," says Bush. "So much of Latin America is a combination of Indigenous, African and European heritage. Colombia is considered a "crossroads of Latin America"—and we wanted to reflect that within one family, the Madrigals."

Encanto: Disney Reveals the First Trailer, Images, and Poster
Encanto Poster. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

One of the really interesting ways culture is being brought to life on screen in Encanto is through dance. We got to see a really cool extended play-by-play of how they brought to life one of the big dance numbers in the movie to a song called "We Don't Talk About Bruno," which is the biggest earworm I've had in a while. Disney brought in Kai Martinez as an animation reference consultant when it came to the dancing and, alongside choreographer Jamal Sims created the intricate dances that we see in the movie. Martinez spoke about how much she enjoyed bringing the dances she remembered as a child to life while also researching new dance styles.

"I am first generation born Colombian American, and my family's all from Colombia," Martinez explained. "So this was also on top of being a dancer and choreographer myself, the opportunity to share a bit of my culture. Then to go and research the dance styles of the different regions of Colombia, the diversity in music and dance, and then to bring that to the group was amazing. You know, I was able to really reach back and research, learn so many new things while also sharing personal experiences with my family. We had home videos that I remember my dad was recording when we were kids at our family parties.

Encanto: Disney Reveals the First Trailer, Images, and Poster
Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Encanto" introduces Mirabel, a 15-year-old who lives with her family in the mountains of Colombia in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto. Mirabel, a kind and humble teenager who puts the ordinary in extraordinary, struggles to fit in a family that's blessed with magical powers. Featuring the voice of Stephanie Beatriz as Mirabel, "Encanto" opens in theaters on November 24th, 2021. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

"And now who would think X years later they would come and serve as a tool of research for the team," she continued. "And one of the biggest things for me that I appreciate so much from everybody on the team was the questions and the desire to learn. The desire to make this film the most authentic film that it could be. So, that is something that really warmed me."

"Encanto," tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift from super strength to the power to heal—every child except one, Mirabel. But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might just be her exceptional family's last hope. It will be released in theaters on November 24th.

Enjoyed this? Please share on social media!

About Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, and comics. She's a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on Twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on Instagram.
Comments will load 8 seconds after page. Click here to load them now.