“Inspired” is the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of Ame Starostin. Her dances distinguish themselves with fantastical elements and very real, very deep emotion. Both of those have a wellspring in her personal history. We explored that history – and a hint of her artistic future – in this week’s Elysium Interview with Ame Starostin.
What and who inspire the ideas for your dances?
I get my inspiration from many places; videos on YouTube, personal experiences, even things that are happening in the world at the time. I believe that dance is an expression of the heart, so if there’s something going on that particularly touches me, it becomes a dance.
What first inspired you to pursue dance in Second Life and what was your very first dance?
I’ve been dancing in SL since I joined in 2007 in Gor. I progressed into mainstream dance in the summer of 2015 after I was invited to Elysium to see a show and knew I had to be a part of this. I began as a backup dancer but soon I was choreographing my own dances. My first dance was done to Jai Ho by the Pussycat Dolls.
How does your bond with Zach inspire and shape your work?
It’s awesome to have someone to collaborate and bounce ideas around with. Since we started dancing together, my dances have taken on a new depth of emotion and meaning either from the original content or something we feel strongly about as a team that needs to be said. I still create dances separate from him but not as often now.
What’s your typical work routine and what part of preparing your sets and dances challenges you most?
That’s a tough question because I’m anything but typical. Most of the time, it’s music first followed by dance concept, fits and, finally, the stage. I’ve found if I do the stage first I usually end up redoing it before the dance is finished. I think my biggest challenge is the same as most other dancers; the right animation to share your point and vision.
What events in your RL or SL personal history inspired the themes you bring to your dances?
The one that comes to mind quickly is Mirror. This dance came from intense emotional pain of having a bully reach into your RL from SL and work very hard to destroy both. The whole point of the dance was to remind us that some day you’re going to need to face yourself in the mirror. You might be able to fool those around you but never yourself. Are you going to be able to handle what you see?
What does being a part of Elysium give you, as a dancer and choreographer?
It gives the camaraderie of a like-minded group of talented people to learn from and be inspired by. I’ve grown and learned so much as a dancer, being a part of this amazing group of people.
You have made some of the most profound emotional statements at Elysium with your dance. What is it about dance that allows you to find that kind of emotional expression?
I’ve been a singer/musician/performer almost my entire life and was raised by some very artistic family members, so expressing emotion through music and motion has been ingrained in my core. Dance is a medium that’s so freeing. Your mind may not be able to form words but your body knows how to express everything so, for me, dance is a natural extension of what I feel.
What are your goals as an artist? Tell us what’s coming next for your fans!
My only goal as a dancer is to continue to grow and touch minds and hearts. I want people walking away thinking “that really ‘got’ me” or “wow, I’m not alone out here.” or “that spoke straight to my heart”.
Thanks for speaking to our hearts, Ame. We appreciate the inspiring and revealing interview. And we urge our readers to check in next week, for more inspired insights from a resident artist at Elysium Interviews.