On Friday, September 9, 2016, Elysium used the dance floor to explore the landscape of the human mind and spirit. The glory of dance became a journey through ideal and isolation, agony and mortality, ecstasy and frivolity. From the fun-loving to the heart-rending, this performance toured the spectrum of experience, ending with a dance where – as in the global community known as Second Life – we all joined hands. Paul Woodrunner kept everyone in line as the house host. Gunner Von Phoenix kept us in harmony as emcee on the microphone. The artists carried us away, playing tunes set to the rhythm of the heart and mind.
Act One: Tray with Imrhien- ‘Write On Me’ – Fifth Harmony
The audience was drawn into the evening’s opening act – literally – as Tray used the latest in SL camera direction technology to guide the audience into a performance that appeared to be the interior of a living pencil sketch. The simple story was one of the most timeless – the meeting of two lovers, their dance and their romantic embrace. It was a sweeping journey that reminded us how some of the most powerful tales are those told simply.
Act Two: Eva with Ally Romani, Misha Selene, nadi, Tauriel, Si De Brit and Zach Starostin – “Sound of Silence” – J2 ft. Johnny & Justin Coppolino
As the idyllic image of two lovers entwined in fantasy faded, darkness and solitude opened the second act – Eva’s rendition of Sound of Silence. Beginning with a tragic dancer sealed in a room with a single point of evening light through a window, the dance soon featured the shattering of the backdrop into abstract imagery and stark statements. Other dancers joined her on the stage, clad in costumes that shifted color in uniformity, suggesting the deep silence we’re all isolated in – the loneliness we share together.
Act Three: Oodlemi – “Schism” – Tool
After the silence came the shattering, as Oodlemi stood solo on the stage before a scarlet backdrop, and Tool’s Schism was set to the eerie shifting of a shattered image that floated about the entire stage. As the song built, the pieces began to fit, only to resolve into an image of a rent heart clutched by a desperate hand. Attired in standard dystopian Tool style, Oodlemi danced his way through the agony of inner torment with motions that built in frenzy to the final stunning climax of over 750 object movements – a captivating solo act accompanied by cutting-edge special effects genius.
Act Four: DavidGage with Corri, Nadi, Sammy, Sebastain and Melvis – “Surfin USA” – The Beach Boys
As in life, all tides must turn, and Act Three’s lachrymose tone gave way to the lighthearted performance of Act Four – David Gage’s seaside revue of vintage 50s dances, set to Surfin’ USA. Splashed by a beachside backdrop, Gage’s work featured bikini bunnies and big kahunas wearing leis – and a rooster, Rex, sporting a bathing suit as he sung on a surfboard behind the dancers. It was a reminder that time heals all wounds – and laughter is often the best medicine, so long as you hang loose!
Act Five: BabyPea with MarissaJaine, Diawa and Wild – “Time” – Alan Parsons Project
The tides of time were the subject of the next dance – a surreal soak in the entire course of a human life. Babypea’s set evoked memories of Dali’s ‘Persistence of Time’, with liquid imagery within a translucent lagoon, populated by bouncing clocks and swirling stars. The true spectacle lived at center stage – a succession of dancers portraying a woman at the many phases of her life, blended seamlessly in a dance that shifted her from the exuberance of youth to the ethereal sway of elder years. The performance was more than just dance – it was an artistic devotion to the transcience and transformation of time that carries us all through our lives.
Act Six: Anu Papp of the Muse Dance Team with Star, Tauriel, Dawn Core, Joy Canadeo, Rosewan, Cowgrl Crystal and ‘DJ’ Ferdinand Scarmon – “How Deep is Your Love” – Calvin Harris & Disciples
Guest dancer Anu and her Muse Dance Team graced the Empire Room stage with a performance of How Deep is Your Love that had the whole house pumping. Pulsing with light, action and sensuality, this display of a classic club song in a spot-on club setting was a stunning spectacle courtesy of our visitors.
Act Seven: Kyshra – “Dirty Diana” – Shaman’s Harvest
Kyshra’s Dirty Diana was an ode to the baser and more beautiful aspects of the human experience – a goddess-like figure moving in primeval ways, dressed in fantastical garb. It was a reminder that beauty and dream can co-exist in the material world, and that life can be epic if we just dream it to be so.
Act Eight: Jilley with Paul, Zach, Mona, Ame, Baby and Jo – “You Raise Me Up” – Josh Groban
Heads lowered and spirits were raised as Jilley presented an homage to those lost on the show’s anniversary, the 9-11 tragedy. First responders, unsung heroes and innocents alike were celebrated in a tableau set against a somber black background and lit by an angelic figure bearing a torch. This hellish event had a truly heavenly commemoration thanks to the vision of Jilley and the combined talents of many of Elysium’s finest contributors.
Silence and souls, surfing and schism, this Elysium plunge into the philosophy of what it is to be human moved the hearts of the crowd. Standing ovations abounded and revolutionary special effects left the audience floored. The show hit its high-spirited climax as the onlookers joined the artists in a revue animated by group dances courtesy of Ame. A packed house shook the stage together, bringing one of the most awe-inspiring Elysium shows to an awesome close.