Music Label Explores the Surreal Nature of Quarantine Through Remarkable Dance Videos

Ben Dean directs Future Classic's 'Shelter in Place' compilation

We've seen loads of creative projects devoted to unpacking the surreal experience of quarantine and shelter-in-place during the pandemic. But this one—combining music, dance and film—is one of the most artful yet.

It started when Future Classic, an Australian music label, was forced to pause its Studio Residency due to Covid-19, after getting some 700 applications from musicians around the globe. So, it combed through those application and picked seven tracks to feature on a compilation titled "Shelter in Place." "There are so many artists navigating this time in such a genius, creative way, and without adding too much noise, we wanted to flag seven up-and-comers we're excited about and the work they've put together in these unprecedented times," the label says.

The artists are: MariaDennis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Angus1 (Sydney, Australia), The Blossom (Los Angeles, USA), mwami (Kampala, Uganda), Madge (Los Angeles, USA), Jalopy Bungus (Phoenix, USA), and Late Night Messages (Oklahoma City, USA).

Then, it got Ben Dean to direct videos for all seven tracks, exploring the topic of the emotional toll of shelter-at-home through interpretive dance. Dean Elex Bais choreographed all the dances, except for Robert Green's performance in "So Dumb," which was choreographed by Green himself.

Check out the videos here:

"They briefed me on coming up with a thought based around 'Shelter in Place,' so I came up with the idea of creating something people can relate to during this crazy state we've been living in through abstract interpretive dance," Ben Dean tells Muse.

Dean found the dancers on Instagram.

"The goal was to find memorable characters with big personalities," he says. "Throughout the entire process we respected social distancing rules and maintained a very high level of safety. We shot with a very small crew."

All the videos were shot in one take, except for "The Lung," where there's a single hidden cut. 


Director: Ben Dean @dissc0
Featuring: Robert Green @staronstage, Dean Elex Bais @dean_elex, Crystal Jackson @crystaljackson_, Rex Kline @rexkline, Paula Ayotte @paulaayotte, Bill Prudich @bprudich, Stephanie Dai @stephdaii
Director of Photography: @bengoodman_dp
Choreographer: Dean Elex Bais @dean_elex
Producer: Jami Arceo @jamiarceoo

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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