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This project was successfully funded on February 16, 2011

Improvement Club, a feature-length, narrative dance film.

by Dayna Hanson


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Improvement Club is part of my suite of new work that also includes Gloria’s Cause, a live rock musical inspired by the American Revolution. A feature film tracing the fictional creation of the actual musical, Improvement Club will be shot on a budget of $63,000 in early spring 2011, following the December 2010 premiere of Gloria’s Cause. Funds raised now will support the script development phase of Improvement Club at $4,500.

Revolutionary America was a time of intense political engagement, when tension between the individual and the collective gave rise to a radicalism found in the margins of history as much as in the iconic moments of the time. These themes, which resonate powerfully today, inspired me to create my newest work, a dance-driven rock musical entitled Gloria’s Cause.

The process of creating Gloria’s Cause has become in itself a microcosmic study of democracy, struggle, progress and freedom. In documenting rehearsals and conversations with my company, my inspiration has spilled off the stage into Improvement Club, a cinematic experiment that will combine dance, storytelling, documentary and original music.

When planning Gloria’s Cause, my collaborator, Dave Proscia, and I intended to juxtapose live performance with video testimonials from Americans living in the margins of society. Instead, Improvement Club will focus a half-fictional, half-documentary light on the performers of Gloria’s Cause themselves—a group of nine artists from diverse backgrounds, disciplines and lifestyles and ranging in age from 20 to 55. The film will draw on the show and dig beneath the surface of its creation, weaving in narrative threads inspired by the lives of its creators. In its approach to narrative Improvement Club will borrow from contemporary dance theater, with musical interludes punctuating the story and dialogue breaking for song, dance and theatrical images, taking liberties along the way.

Improvement Club represents a unique challenge for me as an artist: While I’ve included film, music and text into full-length works for the stage and directed award winning short dance films, I’ve never gone in the other direction to incorporate narrative and dance in a long-form film. Supported in part by a 2010 Artist Trust Fellowship in Media, I’m incredibly excited to further explore what it means to be American today in Improvement Club.

Your investment in this work now will help get this exciting project off the ground!


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