Amazon Christmas ad stars ballerina whose show is cancelled by COVID-19 crisis

5 November 2020, 09:42

Amazon Christmas Advert - The show must go on

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

The perennial magic of ballet and the power of community is the focus in Amazon’s 2020 Christmas ad.

As December approaches and England prepares for a second lockdown, tech giant Amazon has focused its 2020 Christmas advert on a young ballerina whose dreams of dancing a lead role are scuppered by the COVID-19 crisis.

The ad opens as a teenage girl – played by French ballet dancer Taïs Vinolo – finds out she has landed the starring role in her dance academy’s winter show.

Ecstatic to have been chosen, the young star practises everywhere she can, pirouetting on Zoom with her friends, jeté-ing down the street, and practising her pliés in the living room as her mum watches the latest coronavirus update on TV.

But as musicians, dancers and creatives navigate their own real-life crisis this winter, so does the young ballerina. She comes home one day to find out her Academy School of Dance performance has been cancelled by new coronavirus restrictions.

Read more: Here’s why the new John Lewis Christmas advert is a love letter to music lessons >

French ballet dancer Taïs Vinolo stars in new Christmas advert
French ballet dancer Taïs Vinolo stars in new Christmas advert. Picture: Amazon

Seeing her elder sister’s disappointment, the girl’s younger sister makes her a home-made poster, reading ‘The Show Must Go On – outside, Sunday 7pm’. Cue scenes of her family ordering spotlights through the Amazon app, all in preparation for the young arts lover to take her talents outside for a local audience.

Dressed in a beautifully decorated costume, she takes to her street in the freezing cold as her neighbours all watch on in delight. The ad, sure to rival this year’s John Lewis offering, ends with the message ‘The Show must go on’.

Simon Morris, VP Global Creative at Amazon, said: “Our TV ad is inspired by, and pays tribute to, the unbeatable human spirit and the power of community that we have witnessed so often this year.”

Since its launch on 3 November, many have praised the festive offering for highlighting the plight of arts workers, who have had to bear last-minute closures, show cancellations and anxiety surrounding funding ineligibility, since March.

“The Amazon Christmas advert made me cry and was unutterably beautiful,” one person wrote on Twitter. “it was a moving film with a lovely message and a reminder of the beauty of the arts.”

Another said the ad “had arrived just in the nick of time, because my heart was about to freeze over. This year is taking its toll but my goodness this is amazing!”

Read more: ‘Fatima’ ballerina photographer is ‘devastated’ by government ad >

Young ballerina performs for neighbours as COVID-19 crisis cancels her show
Young ballerina performs for neighbours as COVID-19 crisis cancels her show. Picture: Amazon

The ad, shot by award-winning director Melina Matsoukas, is scored with a wonderful, symphonic arrangement of the Queen song ‘The Show Must Go On’.

Taïs Vinolo, who is currently based in Los Angeles and New York City, said of her starring role: “When I was growing up in the French countryside, there were no young black girls studying ballet with hair like mine, or even on TV, meaning I had no one to identify myself with.

“Being on this shoot helped so much with this, enabling me to own who I really am, who I want to be and what I represent.

“I am so proud to have been part of this project since the message of it means a lot to me and even more so in this very difficult time that the world is going through.”