I’m a big fan of the reality show So You Think You Can Dance. It’s probably one of my favorite shows because these young folks have committed their lives to their artistic process. These artists have devoted countless hours to their art. They have devoted their lives to expressing their narratives through their bodies.
One young man who had auditioned last year returned for another try. He got on stage and told the judges that his father had died last December. The judges knew his father because at the last audition he got up on stage and danced with his son. It was a shock for everyone, judges as well as me, a viewer. He moved to the choreography round. Unfortunately he didn’t make it to Hollywood. His story was touching, and filled with meaning.
The amazing thing about this young man was his perseverance. He was eliminated and instead of walking away from the competition, he went to the next city where auditions were being held to audition again. His audition piece was the story about the last message his dad left him before his death. It was moving, heartfelt, and beautiful. Once again he moved on to choreography where this time he was invited to move to the Hollywood round. He told the judges before he danced, I’m a dancer, and dancers don’t give up!
He took an incredibly painful experience and expressed it through dance. He used his body to emote. He was impacted so deeply by his experience that the only way he felt he could honor his father and his craft was through his choreography. His determination was glorious. He shows us how art provides a platform for ultimate self-expression and that leads to healing. As an artist he personifies the healing experience.
I’m not a dance, but experiencing his dance provided me encouragement to continue creating art in my own medium. He punctuated the importance of telling one’s story, mining his soul for the impact of his life experiences. This young man may not win the competition, but in my eyes, healing is winning!
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