The short film "Dancing in a Mad World" shows a haunting look at an empty Denver.

The streets of Denver are empty right now, and local filmmaker Joshua Berendes had an idea to make a short film showing the silent streets of a city we all know to be lively and full of people in a unique way. 

His project, “Dancing in a Mad World,” features Denver dancers wearing facemasks and ballet dancing through hauntingly still streets and locations known and loved by the people who live here.

Berendes lost his income like many other artists and creatives in Denver and wanted a project to keep himself focused. He got together with a team of local artists to create the video. Set to the song "Mad World"—originally by Tears for Fears (Cover by Jasmine Thompson)—the music and movement create powerful, moving emotional imagery.

Check out the video shared on YouTube and other social media last week.


“The juxtaposition of having the elegant and graceful movements of ballet dances being surrounded by an apocalyptic feeling world creates an unnerving feeling. It's beauty in a mad world.”

When posting his project to social media, Berendes penned a very heartfelt message about the project and how it came to be.

“Dancing In A Mad World is an artistic way to document the emptiness that has been Denver for the last month and a half. I’ve seen so many cool montage videos of empty cities, but there was no story. This is a story of finding the beauty during the chaos. This is a story of how during mad times art succeeds. Personally, I feel like I am at my best when I’ve been defeated the most. I wanted to reflect that in this video.

This project brought a group of strangers, whom each had their own talent and passion, to create something that I hope will have a deep impact for you all. I hope this is unlike anything you’ve seen. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this project! You were all amazing to work with.”

Proper social distancing precautions were taken during the entire production process.

The video is poignant and it strikes a chord with many, pulling on sentiments that we're all grappling with. The dancers convey strong emotion, even though their only facial expressions are in the eyes as they're wearing masks.

dancer shadow

The effort was all local, with Denver area dancers, cinematographers, and more. The dancers wore custom masks made by local company DINKC Studios

Our kudos to all involved in the making of this beautiful work, we appreciate you.  

What do you think about this moving video showing the strangeness and beauty of the Mile High City in such a unique way? We want to hear how this video affected you in the comments. 

All images used in this article are taken from the video posted on YouTube.