Elysium Interview with Jo

Rehearsal Break - Jo Balogh.png

What and who inspire the ideas for your dances?

“Most dancers I know have folders full of ideas for dances or lists of songs they want to use for dance. That’s definitely not me!  In fact, six months passed between my first and second dances and then another six months until my third.   Now I try to do one a month.

“Usually it is a piece of music that catches my attention, but an SL photo I took several years ago inspired my next dance. Suddenly I found the perfect music to bring it to life.”

What first inspired you to pursue dance in Second Life and what was your very first dance?

“I discovered performance dance rather late in my Second Life, when Toysoldier Thor, an SL artist friend, insisted I should go see a dance show.  That led me to Friday Night at the Empire and I became a regular “dance groupie” and a friend of Baby and Gunner.   The crowd dance at the end of the show was a highlight for me as I strutted about on the stage along with the dancers and other members of the audience.

“Then in late 2014 Baby asked me to join a series of classes she was teaching called the Dawn of Dance.  My first dance was for that graduation and it was a flamenco dance to Jesse Cook’s “Gipsy”.”

What are you trying to express through your dances?

“I don’t know that I am trying to express anything except the Joy of Dance, or rather my love for dance!”

What’s your typical work routine and what part of preparing your sets and dances challenges you most?

“The first thing I usually do is make the set.  I seem to dance in either a garden or a club.  Laughs. For the most part the set goes fairly quickly, although I might be adding extra touches or making changes for weeks. I built my “Autumn Leaves” set in about an hour, using only things from my inventory.   The choreography is way more difficult for me, especially the waypoints, but I work at it slowly and eventually bring it all together.”

Who was your first mentor in dance, or did you teach yourself?

“Obviously Baby gave me a wonderful overall grounding with her classes, but the how-to of the dance tools I learned, for the most part, from the Spot On videos and website.”

“I also took classes at the Dancing Outside the Lines School and learned a lot more from Ayita and Maia who are wizards with the Spot On Tools.  Many others have contributed tips and tricks along the way or helped me solve a problem and I am grateful to each and every one of them.”

What does being a part of Elysium give you, as a dancer and choreographer?

“Elysium is the story of my life in SL dance.  First I was a member of the audience, then a backup dancer and finally I became a choreographer.   Everyone is helpful and supportive of each other at Elysium and it’s a very well run group.  What more could you ask?”

What art, outside of SL, do you find most inspiring to you in a personal or artistic sense?

“I have very eclectic taste in art in RL and I’ve been very fortunate to have traveled extensively around the world to see a lot of it in person.   But my favourites would be the Impressionists and Degas in 2D art with Rodin and again Degas in 3D art.

“As well I’ve been involved in the SL Art World for many years, as a gallery owner and curator of exhibits.  Currently I’m a member of the Linden Endowment for the Arts Committee and we manage the 29 LEA regions in Second Life for Linden Labs.”

What challenges did you have to overcome to become a choreographer?

“I enjoy the “techiness” of the dance tools, but my difficulties lie in using the movers and the waypoints, or rather using them in a way that makes sense for the dance.”

What are your goals as an artist? Tell us what’s coming next for your fans!

“I’d just like to keep on learning and having fun with dancing.  I hope any fans I have enjoy what I do and have fun too!   Next is my artwork translated into dance.”

Image used:  Rehearsal Break by Jo Balogh

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