Kai Martinez Tells Us About The Magic Of Dance In Disney’s Encanto [Exclusive Interview]

This morning Disney Animation Studios released a trailer for their next feature film, Encanto. It is shaping up to be quite the celebration of Columbian culture. One aspect of Latin culture that is very prominent is our love of music and dancing, specifically Cumbia. A style of Latin dancing that has been adapted for a variety of different regions of Latin America. But its birthplace is in Colombia.

We know that Disney has a very rich tradition of storytelling through song. So for Encanto, they brought in the talented and ever so popular Lin Manuel Miranda. He commented about some of the music that will be featured in the film and his inspiration.

“A lot of the rhythms are familiar to me, but the instrumentation and orchestration is different and often unique to Colombia,” says Miranda. “One of the most fun things is that the accordion is so central to the music. It was really a joy immersing myself in artists I didn’t know, and doing deeper dives into those I’ve grown up loving—like Carlos Vives, who we’re lucky enough to work with on this movie. This entire process has been about falling in love with Colombian music and culture and getting to play in that space.”


With great music comes dancing! LRM Online got the opportunity to see in a special look at some of Encanto. In some of the scenes, we saw how important the dancing is going to be to the story. So it was important to have the best references and consultants. That is where Kai Martinez comes in. She is an animation reference consultant that worked alongside animation reference choreographer Jamal Sims. As well as with the animation team helping to bring the dance sequences to life. Some of her notes were about movements as well as cultural nuances since she is Colombian.

(Pictured) Kai Martinez. Photo JP Productions. © 2021 JP Productions. All Rights Reserved.

Thanks to Disney we can share with you a look at some of the dance progression for “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” below!


Our own Emmanuel Gomez spoke with Kai Martinez about her role with Encanto. During the conversation, Martinez talked about what makes Colombia so unique and special and how that is going to translate to the dance numbers. She also tells us about how they would rehearse and develop the dance sequences and how they would at times have to play multiple characters. It’s a fun and enlightening conversation that you can check out below!

Here is the synopsis for Disney’s Encanto: 

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ upcoming feature film “Encanto” tells the tale of the Madrigals, an extraordinary family who live in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto. Each child has been blessed with a magic gift unique to them—each child except Mirabel. But when the family’s home is threatened, Mirabel may be their only hope. 

Make sure to check back often with us here at LRM Online as we will continue to dive into the world of Encanto

Disney Animation’s Encanto will be released this Thanksgiving in theaters everywhere.


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