As English poet and playwright William Congreve once penned, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast”.” (Everyone misquotes the line as: “Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast.”) We’re not sure which famous line Nashville songwriters Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers were thinking when they composed the song “I Hope You Dance.” It doesn’t matter; what they unleashed was a breathtaking piece of music that would top charts, garner several coveted awards and attract a legion of devoted fans. As you read this, can’t you just hear Lee Ann Womack warbling the tune?
Now the song flies higher. “I Hope You Dance: The Power and Spirit of Song” is a new documentary from award-winning writer-director John Scheinfeld and highly respected music and media producer Spencer Proffer. It comes to DVD and digital platforms from Virgil Films on December 1; they arrive following tonight’s airing of the film on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. What a way to give thanks!
From the time the song was released 15 years ago to multi-platinum success, “I Hope You Dance” has become a phenomenon. A timeless message of hope, self-empowerment and joy to millions, it has become a powerful anthem for graduations, weddings, memorials and other life milestones.
The film features heartwarming stories and thoughtful commentary from luminaries including the late poet and activist Maya Angelou, author-speaker-spiritual leader Joel Osteen and musicians Brian Wilson, Graham Nash and Vince Gill. All offer their unique perspectives on this landmark song as well as on themes such as the nature of creativity and its ability to touch and inspire. Songwriters Sanders and Sillers bring insight into the song’s creation while Womack, who recorded the original version, recalls her journey in giving it voice.
“I Hope You Dance: The Power and Spirit of Song,” explores how the megahit has motivated people to transform their lives, to chase their dreams, to overcome obstacles and to persist in the face of extreme adversity. The story of the song and its remarkable legacy will inspire and empower people to achieve more, to live their best lives and to make the world a better place.
The stories look at how, after the death of his only child, a father realizes that the only way to truly honor his daughter’s memory was by celebrating the message of her favorite song, “I Hope You Dance.” Today, her spirit lives on in the six individuals whose lives were saved by the gift of her donated organs. The film also showcases a dance program that uses “I Hope You Dance” to teach dancing to the homeless and employs its message to get them back on their feet, as well as a reluctant bride who ultimately finds her way to joy with the help of the song. The film also reveals how “I Hope You Dance” fueled a woman’s miraculous recovery from a devastating spinal cord injury.
The film’s ideal companion book, “I Hope You Dance: The Power of Spirit and Song” (Simon & Schuster, $tk) contains an inspiring foreword by author and life coach Tim Storey, who works with such luminaries such as Quincy Jones, Robert Downey Jr. and Smokey Robinson.