Saturday, October 25, 2008

Audiences Across the Country Get the Message a Second Time

Sara is a dancer, and wanted desperately to see So You Think You Can Dance Live (on tour, and here in Columbus on the exact day of her 13th birthday). We surprised her with tickets.

A little surprise awaited us, also. As the show began, a video played on a large screen above the stage. SYTYCD co-creator Nigel Lythgoe introduced the top five most memorable auditions for the 2008 season. I started to tear up as soon as the clip started for memorable audition #4, which I immediately recognized as the Brett Banford audition. Most of us in the Ds community have seen it, but for anyone who hasn't, please click on the link here and watch the video of Banford's segment on the Disability News site (along with a partial transcript of the judges' comments).

In May, 25-year-old Banford appeared on national t.v. during prime time with the show's recap of the Salt Lake City auditions. He grooved on stage, and was clearly enjoying his time in the spotlight. With great composure and with a goal to "represent" for people with disabilities, Banford said after his performance, “I’m just here to prove to people that people with disabilities can actually have a normal life and live it. And that’s what I’m here to represent.” Amidst the whooping and hollering of the audience, he continued, “It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about having fun.”

I was completely thrilled--and more than a little overwhelmed--that his audition (and message) was getting another round of play to audiences around the country. Last Wednesday night, at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the Ohio State campus, around 10,000 people watched Banford's clip. He got lots of applause while it played--and when it was over, the woman next to me leaned to her friend and said, "That was awesome." It truly was.

Big, big kudos to SYTYCD for highlighting Banford and his message once again. And big, big kudos to Brett. You make us all proud!

p.s. The live show was AWESOME. For fans, it was well worth the cost of tickets and being out late on a school night :).

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