Archive for the ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ category

Soul Wrenching

May 28th, 2010

So tonight (well technically last night) was the first episode of season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance. And judging by my reaction tonight, I can already tell this season is going to blow me away. I’m not too happy about the changes to the format. However, as the next few weeks will just be auditions, final judgment on that will have to be reserved for later. And even so the format may have changed, the dancing will not.

I do not think I could ever adequately explain just how profound of an affect this show has on me, how profound of an affect dance has on me. Real dance. There is something quite magical about this show. Something that isn’t even close to achieved on that other show. Most likely that has to do with the other show being about the “stars” and not about real talent and dance. Dance. This art form that pulls at me in such an incomprehensible way.

You hear terms like heart wrenching and gut wrenching. For me, dance is soul wrenching. It pulls at the very fabric of my being. It has this ineffable quality which reaches far beyond time and space. When I dance, I get to submerge myself into unexplored worlds. Worlds not yet imagined. Worlds waiting to be found. Worlds that cannot be written about. Worlds that cannot be spoken about. Worlds that cannot be painted. Worlds that cannot be staged. Worlds that cannot be expressed through music. But when the dancer becomes the canvas, when the dancer becomes the music, when the dancer becomes the words, when the dancer steps onto that stage, universes are created. The inconceivable is given life. Breath is given to a reality you didn’t even know existed.

Dancers are more than movement. They are the art. Everything aesthetically pleasing is homogenized and perfectly encapsulated, waited for the moment to burst forth into being. Dance gave me the drive and determination to get out of a wheelchair 4 years ago. Dance gives me reasons, outside of the tangible, for existing.

I do not know if I could ever really explain why. It is just so “other world” and my rational being has a hard time expressing such things. When I watch dance, when I dance, there is this ball that forms in my gut. And it isn’t like the other balls that form there for different situation, such as the ball that forms when you are worried or the ball of butterflies that forms when you are exited or anticipating something or are in love. This ball has a completely different life.

The ball is vacuous yet filled with bursting energy. It is weightless and it is heavy. It is vibratory but completely calm. It is dense with matter and it is void. It is hot and it is cold. It is black and it is white. It expands and collapses upon itself all at the same time. When I try to visualize this process, I almost see one of the few times movies have accurately depicted something being blown out into space (the Star Trek reboot).

You see and hear the explosions within the ship and then sharply, there is nothing. Silence. Emptiness. Black. Cold. Imagine playing that scene forwards and backwards, amplifying the sound and lack thereof. Now speed up the process so that matter is being forcibly blown out into deafening silence and sucked back into loud existence with equal force, simultaneously. Then add to that the Universe in which we currently inhabit exploding with the force of the Big Bang and collapsing back into itself at the same time. This is a minuscule and pathetic attempt at describing the indescribable.

That is soul wrenching. That is dance.

Woman's Worth

July 22nd, 2009
Yet again So You Think You Can Dance has left me at a complete loss for real words and brought me to tears. Tyce Diorio is brilliant. This number will go down as one of my favourites. Even Nigel cried. This piece is applicable to anyone who has been affected directly (either them self, friend or a family member) by a potentially fatal illness.

Mia sums it best when she says those with cancer worry more about those around them being okay than them self. It touched me deeply as this is on the heels on my own writing of what it is like to live with lupus and how it hurts us to watch those around us suffer as they have to sit by helpless as we fight the illness.

Thank you Tyce, from the bottom of my heart. You are beautiful.






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If It Kills Me…

July 15th, 2009
As I have said many times before, I LOVE dance. Dance saved my life in so many different ways, some of which I have already shared on my blog. My love of dance helped me find the strength and the will to get out a wheelchair three years ago, all because I had an audition that I needed to get to. Dance is this amazing thing that melds story telling with music and movement. We all move. We all have our own unique musical beats. We all tell stories. When you melt those three things together, magic happens. Dance can break down walls which we create within ourselves and within our global communities. I cannot think of a single culture that is without dance. Before words were spoken to tell stories, we had dance to tell stories. Dance to this day remains an important part in many cultures to tell their stories.

I have also said many times, I LOVE So You Think You Can Dance. It is so being freaking amazing that we now have a show that displays this beautiful art form that does not get enough recognition and is so under appreciated. There is not a single episode that does not move me to great emotional states: from extreme joy to great despair. Tonight was no different.

One of my most favourite dancers ever finally had his chance to choreograph for the show, Travis Wall. He was the runner up on Season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance. I believe this number will be my favourite number of all time. It spoke to more than any number ever has. It is a struggle I have gone through myself. It is eloquent. It is raw. It is gentle. It is real. It is perfect. I will let the rest speak for itself.





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The Emotion of Dance

June 10th, 2009
I am not an emotional being by nature. I am very thought driven and it is not until I have had time to really think about a situation that I attach some form of emotion to it, if any. I wrote about this before. However, there are four things that as a general rule can illicit huge emotional reactions from me. They are prose and poetry, movies, music and dance. All four of them are able to beautifully illustrate things that quite often I find I am unable to express myself. Even though growing up I was heavily into math, chemistry, physics, computers etc and they turn me on to no end since they are so rational, it would be safe to say the reason that I was also equally into dance, writing and acting was because it gave me an outlet to express emotions I cannot express in my day to day living. Out of the four, dance does this most effectively.

Dance has always had a special place in my life. When I was younger, if I was not herding by friends together to put on some play, we spent our lunch hour choreographing some dance number. I would be able to lose myself in the music and the motion. I was able to escape the pain that was my childhood and enter new realms. Acting had and continues to have the same affect on me but not to the same extreme as dance. Even if there is no music to accompany the dance, you can carry yourself off into an unheard rhythm. Your body becomes the rhythm, it becomes the base line. You flow from one beat, one motion into the next. It is not unlike the process of ice turning to water turning to vapor. You can transcend states of being. It is like the process of pressure being built up along a fault line waiting for a release and then followed by the wonderful release of an earthquake or the forceful eruption of magma from a volcano turning in a beautiful red lava flow.

Dance can tell stories from the worst tragedy to a wonderful comedy. It can lift you up and it can bring you down. As I sit here now trying to express all the wonders that is dance, I do not think I could ever adequately illustrate the power that it has for me. Dance saved my life. So did acting when it came to escaping pain and trauma and finding a constructive way to deal with the crap that happened to me as a child instead of turning to other options such as drugs. However, dance did so in more ways than one.

A dance teacher I had for quite a while had Lupus. Now she wasn’t only my dance teacher. Her husband was my grade 11 English teacher. Her oldest son was one of my best friends in high school. When I was going through some of my darkest moments in high school, my English teacher would always write little notes on the back of my papers or my poetry letting me know that I was not alone in what I was experiencing. He also went as far to share with me the struggle he and his family had with his wife’s debilitating illness. It wasn’t until after high school that she became my dance teacher. She taught dance for many years until the Lupus really took hold. And then she spent most of 20 years in and out of hospital. She was told that she would never walk away. Not only did she walk again but she taught dance right up until a couple weeks before her death, right before she lost her final battle with Lupus. It was her love of dance that propelled her to walk and dance again.

She was also instrumental in my diagnosis of Lupus. One year the pain got so bad I missed close to a month of dance. When you dance over 8 hours a week, missing a month is a lot. I came to her after the month and told her that I had to drop out, I could not move anymore. It felt as if knives were being dug into every single joint in my body and nothing was working for the pain. She asked if I had ever been diagnosed with any muscular or skeletal disorders and I began to name a list the length of my arm. She told me that I am a very gifted dancer. She sees me shine when I dance and she sees the release it gives me. She told me that she cannot do without me in her class. She told me that I need to sit down with my doctor and say look, since I was 15 you and a whole whack of doctors have diagnosed me with this and that and this and that, don’t you think it can all be one thing? So that is what I did. My doctor went hmmm wow I can’t believe we missed this, I am sending you to a Rheumatologist and that started the road to a final diagnosis of Lupus. Dance saved my life. Eventually I was able to return to class and finish out the year. Unfortunately, that is the same year that the complications of Lupus took the life of my dance teacher. Thinking about this now brings tears to my eyes. She inspired me in more ways than I could ever express. She gave me the strength to get out of my wheelchair three years ago after I suffered my stroke. She was an amazing woman that brought so much joy and love to this planet. I was very fortunate to have her in my life.

So given the above, it is no wonder that I love, LOVE So You Think You Can Dance. I cannot watch a single episode without crying. Tonight was no exception. Normally I will cry once maybe twice during an episode. Tonight I cried more times than I can count. The recaps of a couple of the dancer’s journeys made me cry as I could relate to the obstacles that they faced to be where they are now. Two of the dance numbers made me cry. The first number which was a beautifully choreographed hip/hop number about a couple that couldn’t get to sleep because they had unresolved issues to work through from the day. It spoke to me on a very personal level. My relationship ended a month ago today. Maybe one of the contributing factors was because we broke my number one rule a few too many times about never going to bed angry and that is what that dance number was about. The other was a Bollywood number to Jai Ho. Jai Ho is one of my pick me up songs. If I am in a down mood, I crank it up as loud as I can and do the silliest dance either in my chair as I am working or all around the house. The dance was alive and loving and upbeat and beautiful. There was one particular move about 30 seconds into the song that just made me break down in tears because of the sheer joy of the number.

I cannot type anymore. I have not even come close to expressing all that dance is to me. And for now I am going to stop as the tears are starting to flow again. Both tears of pain and tears of joy. So in ending, here is a poem that I wrote the night before my dance teacher’s celebration of life. Her husband, my former English teacher, read it during the ceremony. As we (her students and close friends) were meeting in her dance studio before the service, someone saw the poem. It touched her so much that she took it from me and blew it up so that it could be turned into a poster so that everyone had a chance to not only hear it but read it. As well (because my dance teacher had such an impact on the local community) it was printed in the local newspaper. This poem was my first published piece.

Catherine’s Dance

The day she was born the dance took stage,
A courageous spirit that would never age.

It moved in all aspects of her life,
Her love and her compassion, her pain and her strife.

The dance was apparent when she did succeed,
But there was a time when it seemed to recede.

When she could not move and it always seemed night,
The dance still raged on, fighting to see the
light.

It leaped and it turned trying to break free,
Emerge from the shadows for everyone to see.

Out of the dark, the dance broke its chains
Like the sun breaking through the clouds and the rain.

Her dance continued to move until the very end
Surrounding all of her family and friends.

She lived a life, which inspired all she did meet:
A mother, a wife, a teacher; she did not miss a beat.

Although she is gone and she will be missed very much,
Her dance lives on in all that she did touch.





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And the winner is..

May 30th, 2009
Many funny happenings occur in my life during the week. Sometimes it is things that I watch on t.v., it may be something that I read online, it may be something I see on the street or it may be something my children say to me.

The runner up for the funniest moment of the week goes to my son. I am a huge So You Think You Can Dance fan. As a trained dancer myself, I think it is about time there is a show like this. A reality show that has quality and that bring the joy of dance to millions of viewers around the world. Many countries around the world have their own seasons of it and last year it finally came to Canada. Well, the American version premiered last week. My youngest and I were watching it last night and he started to pout when it was his bed time and the show was not over. Before going to bed, the following conversation took place:

Kid: Is Sick auditioning again this year?

Me: His name is Sex and yes he is auditioning.

Kid: EWWW that is even worse.

Me: Goodnight monkey butt.

Now anyone who has read my blogs and or has listened to my radio show knows that I am a huge Wil Wheaton fan. I had the extreme pleasure of interviewing him late last year (you can listen to the interview here in the podcast player at the top of the page). The winner of the funniest thing I came across this week goes to this little thing brought to you I believe from @jumpkick



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