Jilley is strikingly talented. She is tall and elegant – the classical figure of a dancer. And, above all, she is surprising. Jilly is a choreographer with the courage to embrace new technologies, abstract ideas and powerful subjects. I enjoyed an easygoing afternoon with her at my home and explored the better angels and inner demons of The Empire Room’s “devil girl” with our Elysium Interview with Jilley.
What and who inspire the ideas for your dances?
My ideas can come from different things. Sometimes it’s a song, or I find an outfit that needs to be danced in. Other times, I just start building a set and it just flows from there. Sometimes things that affected me in my own real life inspire me to make a dance.
What first inspired you to pursue dance in Second Life and what was your very first dance?
Before Elysium and Empire Room existed, Babypea showed me a dance she had done, and it was an ‘OMG’ moment! I have to do that! I’d been a performer for some years with Rockshoppe Tribute Bands, so being on stage came naturally. The very first dance I made was Devil Inside by INXS, hence why Gunner calls me devil girl. [Jilley smiles]
Your dances often have awesome sets. What advice do you have to those building sets?
No advice really. I just see things in my head and I build it. You know, build it, and they will come. [Jilley laughs] ‘Just use your imagination’ is my best advice.
What’s your typical work routine and what part of preparing your sets and dances challenges you most?
My SL life is nearly always spent building or experimenting with ideas, and doing shows – not a lot of time for play. I find the most challenging parts of a dance is if I can see in my head what I want to build, but I can’t find it on SL Marketplace or wherever, and finding that ‘just right’ dance animation to fit a song.
What are the most important qualities for an SL dancer, in your opinion?
Try to improve yourself with new ideas and creativity. And be nice to others and stop with the dramas. Divas are such a pain in the ass!
What does being a part of Elysium give you, as a dancer and choreographer?
Elysium is my artistic outlet and I so love dancing and we have a great company of dancers; lots of nice people. I think if I didn’t dance, I’d just be standing around festering in my own juices. Ew. [Jilley laughs]
You had a dance commemorating the 9-11 tragedy. What inspired that and helped shape its vision?
9-11 affected me deeply, and it is something I can never forget. I sat up all that night watching every horrendous event happen. The song I chose was You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban. It wasn’t to remember the actual event, but to remember all those that lost their lives and the ones they left behind, and to show that no matter what, we can rise above it all and be strong to carry on.
What are your goals as an artist? Tell us what’s coming next for your fans!
My goals are to just keep doing what I’m doing, improve where I can. I want to entertain my fans – make them happy or make them cry if a song and dance effects them that way – and to have fun! Can’t tell you what is coming next. It’s a secret. [Jilley grins]
You can see Jilley’s secret revealed at The Empire Room, every Friday at 6PM SLT. And stay tuned here for more secret lives of the Elysium Cabaret’s superstars, in our next edition of Elysium Interviews!