I was watching So You Think You Can Dance last night. Anyone else a fan of the show? What moves me most during these auditions is how many of these dancers have faced dark moments in their lives. Full on tragedies for others. Parents have died. Siblings have suffered addiction. One almost lost his leg to an amputation. Eating disorders. You name it. But while tears flow from the judges’ and the audiences’ eyes during these stories, beauty resounds from the stage once music is cued. These once saddened dancers are transformed on stage, retelling their story with movement, music, and passion. Dance is storytelling. And I love that. I marvel at what they can do with their bodies; marvel at their choreography. I love to dance, but I’ve never been any good at creating dance. But as I analyze their facial expressions, their lines, their power, I realize that while I can’t tell my story through dance, I can tell it through words.
And that’s what art is. Storytelling. Music. Painting. Dance. Writing. It’s all story telling, and I love it. Love recognizing it. Love experiencing it on all levels. When true talent hits you, it’s phenomenal. It’s moving. It’s inspiring. Each one of these dancers who faced such tragedy didn’t hide away and bury their emotions. Instead, they exposed them through storytelling.
Which makes me wonder, can beauty–true, passionate, powerful beauty–come from anything but darkness? Now, darkness doesn’t always have to mean death or suffering. But whatever personal battle you face. I think when those moments come, creep upon us blindly, angrily, we have a choice to make, as storytellers. Let those moments overpower us/beat us down? Or create beauty from them?
Anxiety is a looming presence in my life, something I’m learning to deal with day-to-day. Much of the time, the last thing I want to do is dive deeper into those feelings and write about them. Because once I do, I have to relieve them, painfully. I have to feel exactly what I’m trying to express through my writing. And who wants to do that? Who wants to take painful moments in their lives and experience them over and over again? Artists, I suppose. For in order to relate to our audiences, we must first be vulnerable. Real. No? I realized then that this can be a powerful tool. Something I can use to deepen characters. Deepen themes. Deepen my craft. And that’s where the beauty lies.
So, I work on it. One line at a time. One story at a time. Beauty from darkness.
How about you, dear readers?