Why I Dance is a pole dance film about women who come together to reclaim their bodies and themselves. In celebration of all women everywhere. The proceeds of our original track will benefit the California Women's Law Center, fighting for social justice for women and girls.
Interview with filmmakers Melanie Zoey Weinstein and Amy Main
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Amy: We made the film to share our love of pole dancing and the feminine with the world. We wanted to challenge the limited and damaging way female beauty and sexuality is presented in the media, and show people that ALL women are sexy and powerful, no matter what size, shape, age, or background.
Melanie: To send an empowering message of body freedom and intersectional feminist unity.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch your film?
Why I Dance portrays a holistic image of female sexuality from the female gaze, which we don’t often get to see.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Amy: The film starts off showcasing one dancer at a time, with intimate camera angles. This represents the very personal and unique aspects of the individual. At the same time, each dancer appears to be following the same routine, indicating a shared quality amidst the diversity of the women. Gradually, the dancers appear in pairs, triplets, and then as a large group, showing the strength and power of female bonding and relationships. The song also combines the personal and universal, speaking from a subjective place - "as I go down to the river to pray" - as well as a collective - "Oh, sisters let's go down."
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
Melanie: If you watch our Kickstarter video, you'll see how this project began as just me, Sascha Alexander and Amy Main, with musicians Ben Stanton and Allie Feder. Over the course of our fundraiser, development and production, there was what felt like an explosion of magic as more women (including producer Julia Roth) joined together to make Why I Dance possible. Our talented DP Alana Fickes, our impassioned editor Jameelah Nuridden, and all of our dancers brought the truth of their bodies and their hearts to their performances and their signs. This ensemble of intelligent and open-hearted women are the life force of this project, and that’s definitely reflected in the final piece. Ben’s composition and Allie’s vocals also took this film to the next level. We’re so grateful that this truly became a community project.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
“...so beautiful my hair stood on end.” - Upworthy
“...pushes against the confines of our conventional ideals...” - Refinery29
“a cure, a cry for freedom, a mirror to rediscover oneself.” - Vanity Fair
“...a radical and political act of praise...wildly celebratory and deeply, deeply magical” - Drunk In a Midnight Choir
“We could all learn a few things from ‘Why I Dance.’” - Bustle
Check the comments section at Vimeo.com/whyidancefilm/whyidance for more!
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Melanie: For sure, but that’s to be expected when you put out a piece that is sexually provocative. There is an Italian woman who sent me a mean tweet shaming my form of feminism. Now, that makes me laugh. There also was a woman in Romania who posted Why I Dance as a symbol of defiance against rape culture, after a woman there had been raped and killed. That one broke my heart.
Julia: The most surprising feedback tended to be from other women who felt offended by the film, often saying that the movement or dress within the film was "slutty" or "uncalled for." But like in most cases of name calling or slut shaming, the person who is out to hurt someone else is the one who feels hurt, and often feels trapped. So we can only hope they find the freedom they're looking for.
We would love to be invited to more film festivals. Journalistic coverage and additional interviews and appearances would definitely help us get the message to an even larger audience. Additionally, a visionary, strategic and well-connected producer to collaborate with to adapt Why I Dance into a network series would be phenomenal.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
The international press, exposure on Upworthy and Buzzfeed, and achieving over 1.5 million views on Vimeo have all been such an incredible honor, and so very satisfying. We have reached our first goal of impact - which was to have global reach, and to inspire other women to move their bodies, and to be able to claim their bodies as their own. We’ve been able to spark a good conversation, and for that we’re very proud and very grateful. We would love to see the conversation continue with more exposure and more interviews that would inspire other artists to carry the torch to create work that reflects the kind of world they desire to build.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
"What is your definition of sexy?" -Amy
“What would total body freedom look and feel like to you?” -Melanie
Would you like to add anything else?
Thank you so much for having us!
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Amy Main recently returned from traveling abroad for 3 months, and plans to turn those experiences into a new blog, following on the success of her blog turned book 40 Dates & 40 Nights.
Julia Roth is currently producing a project with Paramount TV, as well as developing and writing several TV shows.
Melanie Zoey Weinstein (director) is seeking to attach a producer to her feature, Dirty Pictures, a coming of age dramedy about a young woman with a sexual fetish. She is producer of Menashe, which premiered at Sundance and Berlinale 2017, and sold to A24.
Interview: March 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Why I Dance
Directed by Melanie Zoey Weinstein
Written and Created by Sascha Alexander, Amy Main and Melanie Zoey Weinstein
Produced by Sascha Alexander, Amy Main, Julia Roth and Melanie Zoey Weinstein
Director of Photography Alana Fickes
Edited by Jameelah Nuriddin
Orchestration by Ben Stanton
Vocals by Allie Feder
Production Designer Heather Farah
Costume Consultant Sarah Schuessler
Assistant Director Erika Scopelli
Camera Operators Sara Newman and Katie Wise
DIT Andreja Bourke
Melanie Zoey Weinstein
Videographer Eddie Vu
Make Up Artist Alexa Davis
Production Assistants Erica Everage and Tara Danielle Dervin