Premiered February 27, 2016 | Directed by Meg Sarachan
Conceived and directed by First Company Dancer Meg Sarachan, "Dollar", a narrative dance film, combines contemporary music with a vintage theme of the 1940s working woman, allowing us to blur the line between Broadway and rhythm tap, fusing the two into one piece of choreography. By conveying the struggle of women who kept the economy going during World War II, we explore the role women have played in the work force throughout time and the challenges many of us still face today to compete in a male dominant world.
Work on “Dollar” began almost two years prior to production. As a filmmaker, Sarachan expressed her desire to produce a video for the ensemble, and dancers developed the theme together. In early 2015, Becky Mastin, lead choreographer on the project, began teaching her nuanced choreography, which effectively captures the different characters the dancers represent—women working in offices and factories in the 1940s. “Once I saw Becky's choreography,” Sarachan explains, “it was easy to visualize what I wanted the video to look like. I mapped out every shot on a storyboard—over 80 index cards with drawings of dancers and tap shoes.” In September 2015, The Lady Hoofers were awarded a Project Stream grant through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Production began soon after with recording the audio sounds of dancers’ taps in October and filming at Steel River Playhouse in November.
As Philadelphia’s only all-female professional tap ensemble, The Lady Hoofers makes it a priority to provide opportunities for women in tap. Sarachan believes “Dollar” encapsulates this mission. “With both our dancing and the music of our taps, we were trying to represent the struggle of women working on the home front in the 1940s,” she explains. “The two groups of workers the dancers represent start out very separate from each other—they have different choreography, the sound is different, they inhabit different spaces on the stage. But as the video progresses, their dancing begins to merge, and by the end, the choreography reflects their understanding that despite the different work they're doing, they're actually all in it together—as women and as war workers.” Sarachan hopes viewers will not only enjoy the film, but will take away this still relevant message, “that women can come together to make important contributions during difficult times.”
This project was supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Learn more about the making of "Dollar" on our BLOG
"Dollar" has been awarded "Best of" as part of Trans(m)it International Film Festival produced by Project Trans(m)it.The five day online festival culminated in a live screening on May 27, 2016 at The Iron Factory in Philadelphia.