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February 14, 2011 / Melissa Yuan-Innes

Artists I love: Dario Milard/Writing Voice

If Dario had a business card, it would look like this.

And this wigs me out even more.

I think he is brilliant because everything he does is original and odd, creative and sometimes creepy.  I really wanted him to win.  I had just started to watch So You Think You Can Dance (premiere Canadian edition), but I could already tell the girls were going to showcase their booty in skimpy clothes and the contemporary guys would look agonized and leap around, sometimes wearing only one sock.  The ballroom guys would twitch their hips a lot and be good partners.

Dario was completely different.  They might zoom in on his face and only his lower jaw would move from side to side, or the group would fool around at the end, breaking out their usual ballroom or popping moves and Dario would be humping the floor.

He made the top 20, but got cut on the second week.

I have to say, this depressed me.  If anyone had voice, it was Dario.  And what happened to him?  The axe.

“This is commercial television!”  said Becky.  “What did you expect?”

“He wasn’t as good at choreography,” said my one-time hip hop teacher.

“Is this ‘So you think you can dance’ or is it ‘So you think you can dance someone else’s choreography’?”  I raged to my husband.  Of course I saw this as a metaphor for my own writing life.  I’ve always had voice, but one that “I’m not sure our readers would relate to,” one editor semi-tactfully put it.  One that might make people uncomfortable, since I think things are funny or unremarkable when others are, mm, appalled.

There’s good news.  I ended up working on my information flow, since people were confused as well as appalled.  Basically, I thought, “Everyone thinks the way I do,” so a) I didn’t want to explain too much, which ruined my sense of artistry, and b)  I didn’t think it was necessary to explain what I thought was obvious.  To explain how this came across, I once saw a TV ad with the sound off and there was a man in a grey animal costume crawling around.  I said to Matt, “Man, if they didn’t have the subtitle explaining that he was a cat, I wouldn’t know what was going on.”  He said, “I would, because he has a tail and he’s licking his paw.  But I would have to piece it together.”  Pause.  “I sometimes feel like that when I’m reading your stories.”


Okay.  I worked on my information flow.  Hard.  I kept my voice and my humour and my persistence.  And in the end, I got the CBC deal which, more than anything else, built my confidence and made me take myself seriously.

I’ve decided that my overall writing goal is now this:  TO HAVE FUN.

And, as part of this, I am toying with the idea of naming each Code Blues episode after a song.

The first is called “No Air.”  This is not my favourite routine, but I do like it, especially the end where she ends up wearing his jacket.

It’s Oh So Quiet.  I started writing this one.  “Quiet” is a verboten word in the ER because it tends to bring on the chaos, or so the superstition goes.  Max liked this video.

Mercy.  Just the best portrayal of a dysfunctional couple that I’ve ever seen.

In the Morning I think of a student as robot/mannequin sometimes, although we are not usually so sexy/worshipped.

When I Grow Up This is just sexy, right down to where he bites her ear.

Adam & Eve Lyrical.

Then I started just finding videos that I might not use, but are just awesome anyway:

My Chick Bad.

Power What can I say?  I like Twitch and I like the story.

Pro Nails.  Twitch does step.  Also a slightly illegal title.

Bringing it back to Dario.  I heard that he went to dance school.  And if you can marry technique to voice, you just might end up with Alex Wong, from ballet to Outta Your Mind.  Sweet.


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