This documentary was produced in 2009 by Jason Van Orden. Here are a few of his comments about why he made this film:
The first time I saw Polaris perform, it connected with me in a way that no other dance has. It was surprisingly accessible — raw and emotional. Then I found out the dancers, despite their level of skill, didn’t get paid. I had to film their story to find out what could inspire such commitment to art and each other. – Jason Van Orden, January 2010
Watch this short (10 minute) documentary to get to know the people of Polaris and learn more about our history:
Note: Thanks to a generous anonymous donor and a grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust, our Polaris dancers received stipends for our two most recent productions – REPO and LIL’ MO. This is a first in Polaris’ eight year history! It is only through generous individual donors like you that we will be able to continue to pay our dancers. Please visit the GIVE page and donate to Polaris today.
Further comments from the filmmaker:
I’ve always wanted to make a short film. Honestly, I thought it would happen much later in my life, but circumstances led me to a unique opportunity to try my hand at it in Fall ’09.
I made this film as part of the NW Documentary workshop. This non-profit teaches skills to help people tell stories through film and audio. It was a ten-week process during which I met and collaborated with a group of awesome people.
When it came time to choose a topic for my film, Polaris was one of the first ideas that came to mind. My good friend, Sarah Lakey, dances with Polaris. Through her I’d heard interesting stories about the art, family, dedication and passion in the company.
The first time I saw Polaris perform, it connected with me in a way that no other dance has. It was surprisingly accessible — raw and emotional. Then I found out the dancers, despite their level of skill, didn’t get paid. I had to film their story to find out what could inspire such commitment to art and each other.
The film debuted on December 11, 2009 at the Mission Theater in Portland, OR. Since then it has also played two nights during Polaris’ iChange concert and three nights during Polaris’ REPO concert. It was thrilling to have an audience watch the film immediately followed by seeing the subjects of the documentary perform their art. It made for a truly unique experience for both the performers and the audience.
I hope you enjoy the film as well!
- Jason Van Orden, January 2010