Glen Keane Makes Nephtali Short for Paris Opera

Watch the latest Glen Keane Nephtali short commissioned by the Paris Opera for its new digital 3rd Stage. Keane, who has embraced VR with his acclaimed Google short, Duet, also intends to make an animated feature about dance, so the research for this project was invaluable.

Nephtali, which refers to Jacob’s blessings and Psalm 42, concerns the comparison between the grace of a dancer and that of a deer. In a choreography which Keane created with dancer Marion Barbeau, he depicts the journey of a soul that is drawn toward a higher power, fights a struggle and is eventually liberated. By using both film and drawing, Keane and Barbeau manage to overcome the constraints of gravity and attain the freedom towards which a dancer’s body and spirit always aspire.

“It was a humbling experience for me to work as an animator in the Opera Garnier,” Keane said. “It is a palace steeped in the heritage of the craft and art of ballet. I was astounded by the expressiveness and power of the dancers I drew. There is a close connection between dance and animation. I was taught by my mentors at Disney to think in terms of ‘golden poses’ that communicate the emotion and attitude of the character. I noticed in ballet the same use of these ‘golden poses.’ Working with ballerina Marion Barbeau I had the impression I was working with a great animator, only she expressed herself through her body’s movements instead of a pencil… and with such rhythm and grace! I am truly grateful to Benjamin Millepied and the Paris Ballet for the invitation to step into their world and live my animation dream for a moment.”

“The aim of this digital 3rd Stage is to commission new works from artists through original pieces offering an original perspective on the world of opera, music, dance, our cultural heritage, the architecture of our two theaters and the skilled professionals working of the Paris Opera,” added Benjamin Millepied, the new director of Dance for the Paris Opera.

The rest of the films can be seen at

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Crafts, Events, Shorts, Tech, Virtual Production

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