what I learned from the New York's Got Talent finals

I finished in 2nd place at the New York’s Got Talent finals on Tuesday night. And while I didn’t win the prize of a 6-week run of my own show at that particular Off Broadway theater, I couldn’t be more proud of myself and of the group of women who have been part of this process with me.


Because here’s the thing about competition shows -


While they provide an amazing platform to get your work out there, they don’t actually MAKE your career.


You do.


The blood sweat and tears you put into the process does.


The raw, unbridled passion being channeled into something does.


The persistent practice and dedication towards your vision does - especially in the face of all the doubts and fears that try to convince you to stop.


And even still, all of that won’t do it unless you connect to the humanity that will ultimately fuel it. The humanity in another person’s eyes when you tell them you believe in them. The humanity in being humble enough to ask for and receive help. The humanity that bands people together, despite all odds against them, to come together in community and serve a greater purpose.


That humanity is the prize I won that night and my heart is full of joy because of it. I’ve never felt more in service of a greater purpose than I do now.


Before the show, I led a ritual with the 9 women who danced with me in this piece. Sitting in a circle in the corner of the theater’s lobby, I asked each of them to share an intention they had for themselves for our performance.


I was brought to tears (we all were) hearing what each woman shared: how this process has brought something back to life within them, how it’s helped them move through sorrow during the anniversary of a loved one’s passing, how it’s helped them reinvent their life after making a comeback from cancer, how they couldn’t have imagined a better way to get back on stage after 10 years away from it.


They set the intention to be present, to have fun, to soak up every moment of this experience. We uplifted each other. We believed in each other.

We spoke from our heart and souls, and then we danced from our heart and souls.

new yorks got talent jess grippo

Not all of the judges "got it" -

In fact, one was pretty harsh with her comment of not getting it  -

But I'm grateful for that too, since it puts even more fuel in the fire.

Because many people did get it. And most importantly WE got it.

If you are not making art to satisfy something in yourself, then it's not going to do anyone any good. 

Keep creating, keep channeling your passion and expression through the unique vessel that only have.

I can't wait to see what YOU create next.

keep on dancin' on,


p.s. If you missed it, here's a video.

The evolution of the performance we did purposefully took each of our characters through a journey of self-discovery on that stage. From all the “shoulds” and costumes and rules and standards being thrown at us as women, to getting to a point where we have to look within, shed the layers, and dance to come back home to ourselves.


The kind of show I am making is about THAT. Because of that.


And it certainly won’t stop here.


I’m so grateful for this opportunity and this learning, for all of you who have so generously cheered me on, for the support I received, for the women who I danced with and for.


Thank you.


These words have never been more true:


You can dance again.

Jess Grippo | New York's Got Talent Final | 8-23-16 from Jess Grippo on Vimeo.