Posts Tagged ‘The Art Stimulates Art Series’

Sep

12

2013

The Art Stimulates Art Series–Aaron Turner is MY Favorite SYTYCD Season 10 Dancer

Filed under: Check-it-out, Dancing, The Opposite of Gravity, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Sat down last night to watch the SYTYCD Season 10 Finale only to find a political scheduling snafu. WHAT????

Fortunately, there is an encore performance on Friday. *breathes into a paper bag* And although I will get to watch the second half of the show, I do already know who won. But that’s okay, I consider all four dancers winners. I loved them all. But win or lose, there was one dancer I really connected with and was rooting for this year, and I’m tickled that he was the under dog who almost didn’t make it on the show. *fist pump*

Aaron Turner IS my favorite dancer from Season 10!!!!!

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I could watch him tap all day. I adore his personality and his ability to morph into any character, no matter what direction the choreographer has taken things. He’s like a live wire out there, but it was this quiet moment that became my favorite of the season…

 

 

The cool part was, I was just as moved by the emotion of Aaron and Kathryn AFTER the performance, as I was by what they did on stage. They often say that writing is like opening up a vein and letting it all pour out onto the page. Dance is like that too. And the lines of this piece were so blurred and raw it was surreal. And I can’t be remiss and not mention the brilliant choreography of Stacey Tookey. Fabulous.

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Part of the attraction to this piece involves my writing. I’ve created a scene in THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY that should feel just like this. In my head this is what I imagined occurring between two of my characters. Ultimately, I can only hope my words are able to create the same power and emotion that Aaron and Kathryn did. And on a side note, after seeing their chemistry, I want them to fall in love, get married and make dancing babies. <3

But gahhhh!!! Now I can’t believe I have to wait a whole year for Season 11. To make the time go faster, lets keep talking about Season 10. What was your favorite dancer this season? Favorite performance? My second favorite was the Top Ten Boys–SAND. LOVED that one, but I have a gazillion more of course. And what about a favorite guest judge? I’m a huge fan of Jesse Tyler, Jenna Elfman and Anna Kendrick. Want to see more of them next season. Minnie Driver was pretty good, too. And of course Paula and Debbie are icons. Favorite choreographers?? That’s hard. I can’t pick. Can you??????

 

 

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Jul

19

2013

The Art Stimulates Art Series: What, No SYTYCD this Week?

Filed under: Dancing, Pondering, Vacation Madness, Writing

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I don’t even need to explain how this relates to writing…

I think I’m in love with this line…

“Never conform–define yourself–the world worships the original.”

Mia Michaels

What scares you the most about being you in front of everyone else?

*  *  *

Just a reminder: I’ll be on vacation from blogging until August 6th, which is when I’ll be implementing a new Tuesday/Thursday blogging schedule. If you miss me, I’ll still be tweeting and tumbling and hanging on FB.

See you on the flip side.

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Jul

12

2013

The Art Stimulates Art Series: Is there a Magic Ingredient to Success?

Filed under: Check-it-out, Dancing, Pondering, Writing

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Lots going on this week on SYTYCD. First off, I LOVE that the producers of the show responded to the fans who did not like the contestants kicked off at the beginning of the show. Often people stick to their guns and do things just because they can. SYTYCD showed a lot of class by listening. I think listening and responding is a great skill and it takes a really good show and moves it up into the excellent category for me. I was also happy to see Paula Abdul on the show after ten years. I’d love to see more of her in the future.

I do have a favorite performance of the week. Aaron and Jasmine captured my attention again. No surprise that I’m partial to dead girls. PS My favorite part is when it looks like Jasmine puts her hand right through Aaron’s chest. Brilliant!

There was something else I noticed about this show. I’m consistently seeing strong performances from some of the same dancers over and over again. But that hasn’t guaranteed success. During voting, some are in the bottom three and some appear untouchable. This can not attributed to just their dance ability alone. There are some fabulous technical dancers that don’t have the same fan base as some of the other, less experienced or well rounded dancers. The difference appears to be in how they connect with the audience. They bring a magic ingredient–some secret mixture of presence, emotion, connection and possibly luck. I think.

I’ve witnessed a similar phenomena in writing. I’ve read many books in my life that were amazing, but they never go viral. It isn’t because they aren’t something special. It’s because they are missing that magic ingredient. And before you ask–no–I don’t know what it is. I wish I did. Here is what I do know…I’ve listened to authors speak that I’ve never hear of before and because of the experience, I became a life-long fan of them and their work. Making a personal connection seems to be important. It’s also easier said than done. I also ponder what comes first…the chicken or the egg?  Do certain dancers and authors get more air time, face time, marketing time because they have that special, magical quality? Or do contestants and authors that are well marketed have an advantage? Then there’s timing, luck and plain old hard work thrown into the mix. I do not know what the secret recipe is.

I suspect that you don’t have the answers either, but I sure would like to hear what your suspicions are. What do you think that magical element is for any artist to go viral? What’s your favorite book that didn’t get the attention you think it deserves? Which dancer on SYTYCD is going to be the worst casualty because they are a great dancer, but just don’t seem to have the magic ingredient?

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Jul

5

2013

The Art Stimulates Art Series: The Top 18 and Publication–It’s Unpredictable

Filed under: Check-it-out, Dancing, Pondering, Publishing, Writing

Last week I officially started the Art Stimulates Art Series, inspired by watching season 10 of So You Think You Can Dance. Last week’s post is HERE, if you’d like to catch up. But the short version is that different kinds of art are capable of providing me with growth and inspiration in my writing. And because I’m a dancer and love the show, it really gives me lots of interesting ideas about the writing process.

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This week the Top 20 became the Top 18. Nothing unusual here, but this was the first season where the elimination came at the top of the show instead of at the end. I have mixed feelings about the format, but that isn’t what struck me the most this week. What captured my attention was that the bottom three girls and boys weren’t necessarily the people who had the weakest performances. It reminded me that success isn’t always just about talent. There are other things involved like personality, luck and even air time/marketing.  My favorite performance this week came from Aaron and his partner Jasmine. Aaron (an awesome tapper) tried out for SYTYCD on a previous season and got cut right before the top 20. This year he was cut in the same spot again. It was devastating, but by chance, one of the guys who made the top 20 had to drop out and Aaron was guy #11 and was asked to take the empty place in the Top 20. Every time I see him perform I think what a huge mistake it would have been have let him go. He’s a huge favorite of mine and he is resonating with the audience. Yet he wasn’t supposed to happen…

I can’t help but recognize the same weeding-out process in publishing that I’m witnessing in dance. Just like the SYTYCD judges who had a plethora of amazing tappers this year and had to cut one, editors have specific lists and needs that dictate their acquisitions. There are also authors who’s charisma takes their book to places most people only hope to go. They have stage presence and audience connection. There are great books written by great writers that never see the light of day because they don’t fit into the traditional categories the way a dancer on the show needs to fit into contemporary, jazz, ballroom etc…  But then again, there is always that one “Bollywood manuscript with African Jazz leanings and a side of crump that happens while balancing in point shoes,” and it becomes the next best seller because it was the right manuscript, in the right place, at the right time. No one could have predicted it. They never do.

What does this mean for the dancers on SYTYCD and us writers? It means that there are no guarantees. Whether  you’re going to dance or write–you damn well better be doing it for the love of the art itself. At the end of the day you don’t know, and you’ll never know, where it is going to take you. But just because you’re moving forward with only the light of your headlights to guide your way, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still work hard, strive for success, be knowledgable, have a plan and shoot for your dream. Just remember that the only thing you can predict–is whether you will show up to do the thing you love, even if no one else is watching.

Any thoughts on the new way their doing the eliminations? How do you feel about the lack of control and predictability in publishing? Who would you have sent home last night?

 

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Jun

28

2013

The Art Stimulates Art Series: Writing and SYTYCD (Showcase and Top 20)

Filed under: Dancing, Pondering, Writing

You know I’m a SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance) nut. Season 10 is shaping up to be amazing. I seriously look forward to this show all week long and over the seasons, I’ve begun to notice something interesting happening when I watch hour after hour of amazing dance and choreography…

I can’t help but think about writing.

Maybe it’s because I dance AND write–so the line between the two is blurry for me. But I also think there is another reason. Art stimulates art.

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I’ve decided that on Fridays, over the course of the SYTYCD season, I’m going to try to share some of the dancing/writing connections that jump into my head as I watch and savor. This week you get a double whammy because 1) I just thought of this idea tonight and 2) I still can’t stop thinking about THIS dance. It’s from the pre-competition-Top 20 performances the week before.

When I watch an outside-the-box piece like this, I’m very aware that this is what agents and editors are asking for when they say to bring something new to the table. Use the unique to enhance the tried and true. There are only so many stories in the world–it’s all about how we tell our story. I highly suggest watching the amazing choreographers on this show to see how they take something that has been done before and twist it. Think about how you can come at your writing in in a way that will make your reader see what they know in a brand new way.

 

For this week (The Top 20), there were a lot of really good dances. There was also one that blew the judges away. But while I had a great appreciation for the dancers and the performance, it didn’t speak to me the way some of the others did. Particularly this one…

Writing is about blind trust–in yourself. If you are pursuing publication, there is an audience out there. Agents, editors, and readers who are sometimes cheering and sometimes booing. I know it’s expected that we have our finger on the pulse of the massive, social-marketing, publishing juggernaut, but we also need to block some of that out and remember…the heart and soul of writing often requires we close our eyes to the outside world and trust fall into our own story. When that happens–it is beautiful. It is amazing what will catch you if you let yourself fall. Sometimes we have to write blind in order to truly see where we are going.

 

Of course, my fellow SYTYCD fans, just like with books–everyone has different tastes. I’d love to hear what your favorite dances were and if they made you think about your writing or any other artistic adventure in your life.

 

 

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