DANCE CLASS offers some fun reading material for young adults, and today we are happy to feature a behind-the-scenes look at this unique series of graphic novels by Papercutz…
What inspired you to write this series on dance?
Dance is an ideal subject for writing as it’s a whole world of passions and emotions, but also a hard and difficult universe. Extreme joy and pain are often mixed in dance rooms, and later, in competitions. It’s also a magnificent art form, where movement is at the heart of everything. All these elements make an ideal subject for a comic book, as much for an artist as for a scriptwriter.
How do you come up with the ideas for each issue?
There are a thousand ways to come up with an idea for DANCE CLASS because dance has as many emotions and surprises as life does in general. Some ideas come to us from reading, from a ballet, or from conversations with dancers. Other ideas come from the characters; they’re teenagers, each with their own little family and school world, their good and bad qualities, and this all gives us some very funny situations. Very often the ballets themselves tell a story, so we can transform those stories a little and find humorous situations that bring our characters to life.
What is the process of writing the issues like?
Once we’ve gotten an idea we look for how to tell it in the most efficient, original, and humorous way possible. That is to say, the way that’ll let us show the most beautiful routines, to foreground the personalities of each character, and to write the most interesting dialogue. The dynamism of the page is very important in comics.
Once we’ve found the right way to convey the idea, we lay it out panel by panel and work on this cut-out until we have a version that seems the best to us. We then send it to Crip, the series illustrator, who starts drawing it out.
Sometimes ideas remain in the draft stage for several weeks because there’s an element missing. And then one day, everything falls into place, we find what we were missing, and we finish the script.
What part of the process is the most fun?
It’s magical when the elements we’ve noted in the draft come together and the story appears. It’s very exciting because we know at that moment that the idea can become a page of comics. Then we’re very impatient to start writing dialogue, to find small, amusing details we can add.
Another moment that we love is when we receive the artwork from Crip and then the color version from Maela, our colorist. At that point we become readers again, impatient to turn the page and find out what happens next!
What is coming up next in this series?
Julie, Lucie, and Alia are going to go to Russia for an exchange with the dance school of the famous Mariinsky Theater. Then, in another story, Lucie’s going to realize her dream: to write a ballet for her friends. Our three heroines will next go to London, to participate in a Christmas musical performed only by teenagers. These stories have already appeared in France, but not in the USA yet.
At the moment, we’ve just finished writing a story where they revisit the ballet Snow White in a modern staging. We have lots of other ideas in store for the series, notably a story where the girls are introduced to New York City, but that hasn’t been written yet.
Disclosure: 4dancers receives compensation from Papercutz