Artistic moments occur when we have hit the pinnacle of our craft and it’s these moments that artists strive for. What goes into an artistic moment? It is the time of deepest expression. You are, more than likely, the most free and open that you’ve ever been. You hit a beauty that resonates with your audience at the deepest level. You open yourself up and become the most vulnerable you’ve ever been. It is a time when everything comes together and your truth decides to come out. You connect with your core and, by doing so, you connect with your audience.
There were two moments of artistic brilliance on last week’s episode of “So You Think You Can Dance” (air date 6/30). First, Ashley and the professional dancer Ade stunned the audience and the judges with their dance. I have no doubt that they brought tears to the eyes of millions. Ashley let herself go in the strongest and most beautiful way possible. Her expression hit a rare height. She completely let go in a way that artists rarely do. I felt grateful as a viewer to be included in her moment. The second moment occurred during the final heart-stopping dance performed by Alex and the professional dancer Twitch. Alex is a ballet dancer. He danced hip hop in this number in a way that made you feel he was a professional hip hop dancer, hitting the peak of several years of training. It was a number watched over and over again by many who experienced it. It was about a patient and his psychiatrist and thematically, it was about getting out of your head. It made your heart so happy that you couldn’t take your eyes off of the set. I have no doubt that everyone who was lucky enough to witness these two moments was transformed in some way. They were inspiring at the deepest level.
As a Story Consultant, these are the places that I like to see writers go to with their craft. You think that dancing and writing are so different but they’re really not. They are both a form of artistic expression where the key is letting go so that your truth can emerge. Both dancing and writing reflect fearlessness and a commitment to expression. The gift is what the audience is left with after the sharing of story.
In TV, I’d have to say there were two artistic moments that particularly stuck out to me this year on network television. One was in the show “The Good Wife” created by Michelle King and Robert King. It was in the episode titled “Heart” and written by Corinne Brinkerhoff. In it, Will (Josh Charles) represents a client whose unborn child requires an in-utero surgical intervention on its heart. Between the case and the personal moments hitting peaks between Alicia (Julianna Marguilies) and Will and Alicia and Peter (Chris Noth), it was one of those moments in story that you will forever remember.
The second memorable moment for me this season was in an episode of “Modern Family” created by Christopher Lloyd and Steve Levitan. It was an episode titled “En Garde” written by Danny Zucker. In this episode, Jay (Ed O’Neill) and the family go to watch Manny (Rico Rodriguez), Jay’s stepson, in his fencing match. Jay wants to “bring home the hardware,” meaning he wants to experience being a father whose son brings home the trophy. This strikes a chord with Jay’s grown biological son, Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). Mitchell is bummed because he had a chance to be the best at something – ice skating – until his sister Claire (Julie Bowen) blew it for him by quitting. The story is so universal. We can all connect with missing a moment in childhood when we were able to reach or exceed the expectations of our parents.
As an artist, you want to strive for these moments so that your audience can truly feel your story and the emotions behind it.