I created this animation piece during the spring of 2002 in the same computer animation class (which I took at a local community college) where I also created The Running Girl and Apparition of Face and Fruit on a Beach. This animation was my final project in the class. The idea was to create a slightly longer piece than the previous projects that could be based on anything we wanted. For inspiration I looked through a book of Aesop’s Fables where I saw The Dancing Monkeys and I thought that it would make a great Looney Tunes-inspired slapstick comedy.

The Dancing Monkeys took several weeks to complete and it was loaded with tidbits from my personal life as well as other types of humor that only certain animation buffs would get. The theater where the monkeys performed was named after my father, who passed away just two years before I went back to school and took the computer animation class. Two of the monkey pairs were dressed in outfits much like the ones that Princess Fiona and Lord Farquaad wore in the DreamWorks animated movie Shrek. The rest of the monkeys were dressed like the princes and princesses in the following Disney animated movies: Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.

As for the rude audience member who threw a banana on the stage (which set off the whole slapstick comedy chaos), I scanned in a photo of my then-husband’s high school yearbook photo that was taken during his senior year then traced over it in Flash. I was inspired to do so because my husband was always a bit of a smartass (he had a wicked sense of humor) and he used to say to me that he prided himself for being evil and devious and he would rather be known for being mischievous than for being a well-behaved goody-two-shoes.  (At that time I thought he was just kidding when he used to say those things to me before erupting in laughter. I would later be exposed to a very dark side of him when he abruptly left me for a friend of ours who has severe mental health issues.) When I showed this animation to him after I finished, he roared in laughter. He told me he loved my depiction of him and he told me that he would’ve felt tempted to do something similar had he attended a performance like the one in the animation.

My computer animation teacher loved what I did and he gave me an “A.” Since that project counted towards a significant part of my grade, I ended up with an “A” for the entire course.

The following fall I took a digital imaging class at the same college. I had a different instructor but she was the head of the Art Department and she knew my computer animation instructor. She was also the faculty mentor for the Student Art League, the campus student organization who helped with organizing the Student Art Show that took place during the fall and spring semesters. Well, anyway, for some reason the art show had gotten very few computer animations that were recently completed that could be shown in the Student Art Show. My teacher was desperate for more animations and she knew that I had taken the computer animation class the previous semester so she asked me if there were any animations that I didn’t submit to the previous semester’s art show that I could put in the new show.

At that point, the only animation from the previous spring that I didn’t submit was The Dancing Monkeys but that was because it was the final project and my class didn’t even begin working on our final projects until after the deadline for submissions. However, there was a snag. The rules for the Student Art Show state that only work that were created in the same semester as the start of the latest Student Art Show could be submitted. Under those rules The Dancing Monkeys would not have qualified because it was completed the previous semester. The teacher was so desperate for animations that she willingly bended the rules so The Dancing Monkeys could be accepted into the fall show. Well, anyway, The Dancing Monkeys was accepted into the show and visitors had the chance to see my work and what I was capable of doing.

I would later post it on my now-defunct Twisted Unicorn website. For this YouTube upload, I remastered it in high definition, added a new song (Johann Strauss’ “Blue Danube,” which I obtained from YouTube’s collection of free music), and added new sound effects.

So, without further ado, here is The Dancing Monkeys.

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