By Alan Ng | January 31, 2023

Making a connection, falling in love, and starting a lasting relationship can feel like a dance, but in ways you’d never imagine. Writer-director Colby Day’s short, LEAD/FOLLOW, uses dance to chart the relationship between a man and a woman creating a piece of art in the end.

Set on a white sound stage, Della Saba and Sam Nelson Harris play a man and a woman who meet for a first date. Instead of your typical coy banter, the characters speak their intentions to one another. “I’m never lonely, and I’m very happy. There’s nothing I don’t like about myself,” he says. “And I have no baggage,” she says with insecure confidence. Later she declares that there will be no sex. The successful date quickly turns passionate, and off to bed they go.

And now we dance. After their initial night of passion, the pair is left feeling overwhelmed, afraid, and out-of-sorts, as expressed in their movements. We see them as spinning tops scrambling around the dance floor, looking for some way to be in sync with one another. In a way, it parallels the early stages of a relationship when we’re unclear of our new partner’s intentions and begging that they are the same as ours.

“‘And I have no baggage,’ she says with insecure confidence.”

To boost the art form further, LEAD/FOLLOW is done as a one-shot with no cuts and an actively moving camera. Performers are in and out of dress throughout, props like the bed move in and out as well, and the ever-changing lighting for mood is a spectacle to behold. The film is technically ambitious and is pulled off without a flaw. Della Saba and Sam Nelson Harris are quite accomplished as dancers. The dance is not overdone and is explicitly used to convey the feelings and emotions of the characters.

When it comes to dance-heavy short films, your mileage may vary. Dance is not exactly my jam, but I’m always curious about the art form. So, from this luddite’s perspective, LEAD/FOLLOW is a beautiful film to watch with insightful commentary on falling in love.

For screening information about LEAD/FOLLOW, visit the Not Impossible Productions website.


Directed and Written: Colby Day

Starring: Della Saba, Sam Nelson Harris, etc.

Movie score: 8/10


"…technically ambitious and...pulled off without a flaw."

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