How Sing 2s Choreographer Helped Animators Make Taron Egertons Gorilla Dance Gracefully
Choreographer Sherrie Silver calls Universal’s “Sing 2” a dream to work on and highlights the film’s plotline featuring Johnny (voiced by Taron Egerton), a soulful gorilla who doesn’t know how to dance but eventually finds the confidence to.
Silver’s line of work often finds her collaborating with models and stars who don’t always know how to dance. Helping them realize that they can dance is something she finds fun. “Sing 2” features a menagerie of singing cartoon animals led by koala Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey). This time around, Moon and his troupe head to the Las Vegas-esque town of Redshore City to put on a show.
Egerton’s Johnny isn’t much of a dancer, but by the end, he finds his rhythm.
“It was so much fun to create choreography where this character starts without confidence,” Silver told Variety. “I work with a lot of models who don’t necessarily know how to dance, and by the end of it all, getting them to realize that they can do more than just pose is so great.”
To help bring Johnny’s moves to life, Silver worked with the animators, not Egerton. “I was choreographing for the animators who were also learning how to make this animation dance in a new way,” Silver explains. Since most of the animators were not dancers, Silver would record videos of herself and her dancers as they executed the moves. In addition to providing videos at a normal pace, she would also provide slowed-down versions of the choreography.
“I would break down every little move. Everything was in the hand of the animators,” Silver said.
The choreography process was something Silver worked on for two years. Her and director Garth Jennings walked through the animation process, from illustrations to movement to the final 3D process.
“I got to appreciate how hard the animators work. I think they were producing around three seconds per week, per person,” Silver reveals.
The most challenging scene, Silver says, was the finale stage moment with all the characters coming together. “There were so many characters on stage, but since I was working in the pandemic, I couldn’t have that many dancers.”
For the small team she could have, Silver filled out the lineup with dancers who had all-around skills like Afrobeat and street dance. “At one point, I had three dancers to put together, including myself where I was Johnny.” She then had to explain to an animator how to bring that through to the character.
Her greatest highlight wasn’t just seeing her culture represented in the dance moves within “Sing 2,” but rather seeing how the animators brought her moves to life. “It was seeing how the animators portrayed those moves as accurately as an animal could do it,” Silver praised.
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