Filmmaking sister duo Emily and Alice Stein have returned to Emily’s photo series on young ballroom dancers, extrapolating on the subject with a heart-warming short film. Hold Me Closer Tiny Dancer focuses on one Neopolitan pair, Francesco Cesario and Chiara Morgese. It shows them in action, poised and immaculate, as well as giving glimpses to Chiara’s normal life. Shining a light on details such as her lace socks and Disney wallpaper, the film subtly contrasts the two sides of its subjects in a charming way.
“We knew the young ballroom dancers series would translate beautifully into a film,” Emily says. “Looking at all the dancers, we kept coming back to the photos of Chiara and Francesco. They are so graceful and have such an energy and strong bond. The film is a celebration of the closeness and synchronicity between them.”
Chiara and Francesco have been dancing together since they were toddlers, explains Emily, both with dancer parents, and Chiara told the filmmakers that her mum danced all the way through her pregnancy, “so she feels she was born to dance”.
The film was shot in Naples, the dancers’ home city, to make it personal. “It was important to us that it was filmed in their world. We wanted the project to feel intimate, almost like a dream, to dance through alleyways of their lives.”
This is reflected also in the romantic glow of the cinematography and colour palette. “We used all natural light and played a lot with shallow depth of field and soft focus,” Alice explains. “We shot most of it handheld, enabling us to get in really close to Chiara and Francesco and move around them as they Waltz. We wanted the viewer to feel like they were there in that moment.”