by Kellen Stancil
Uncontrollably jumping up and down out of my seat while simultaneously pounding the table in front of me. This was my innate reaction seeing a segment of POWER come to fruition. In the hustle of putting this video together, I was completely unaware of the impact we were going to make on people, especially women! It wasn’t until I got a chance to sit and witness the tenacity, confidence and enjoyment these women exuded that made me realize we were doing exactly what we were meant to do.
POWER is an International Women’s Day dance concept video. International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women - while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender balance.
The video was created and produced by Josh Drake and myself. I had the honor of being the choreographer and working with an incredible team: Weston G. Wetzel on lighting, Rachel Estabrook on makeup, our amazing Assistant Director Mark Diconzo, my Assistant Choreographer Chris Jarosz, both my production associates Brad Schlagcheck and Stephanie Bissonnette, and my best friend Josh Drake who filmed, edited and directed the video. We filmed in Long Island City at FD Photo Studio in one day. As the choreographer it was my responsibility to facilitate the narrative and message through movement, staging, and focus.
Originally Josh asked me to be involved. We laugh now, because little did he know, asking me would turn this into a full production music video! Instantly I was honored, but knew that if I was to get involved I wanted to do it right. Understanding what International Women’s Day stands for, I wanted to empower, celebrate and inspire women in our lives, our community and in this world.
We juggled many ideas but landed on a solid choice: shifting the perspective of male dominant jobs, lifestyles and activities. In my eyes, a balanced world is a better world. How can we forge a more gender balanced nature if all we do is acknowledge only one gender when they hit success?
Women are just as strong, independent, resilient, intelligent, courageous, and determined as men. The video isn’t about dimming the light on a male’s success, but simply sharing the light and celebrating women’s achievements. My inspiration came from all the powerful women in my life that are CEOs of their own businesses, top leaders of their departments, ambassadors, principals, leading women, casting directors, top athletes, artists, and especially mothers.
As dancers we have the gift to communicate through our movement and emotions. We may not all speak the same language, but we can feel one another, be moved by one another and see one another. Dance has a way of changing lives and perspectives with no exchanges of words. It’s the closest to our own heartbeat you can get, and that is what I wanted this video to do!
With all that said, none of this could have been done without all the gracious, talented and powerful women that were involved. These ladies came ready to make a difference and stand up for themselves and other women. In a business where you are constantly in competition and compared to the women next to you, you would think that the day of this shoot would carry that same tension. It was the complete opposite! The energy and atmosphere of that day was positive, uplifting and encouraging. It brought me to tears to see all these women enjoy this platform to celebrate themselves, each other, and every single woman in this world. The goal was to spark change, acknowledge women’s achievements and motivate others to see women as equals. I believe we did that, especially when I received this text from my distant cousin:
“WOW! Everything about this was powerful… And I felt empowered watching it! Seriously it was amazing… I have chicken skin!!!”
Thank you to all the women involved, you are queens in my eyes!