Another Friday Night to Remember

Another great weekend has come and there is no better way to start it than Friday night at the Empire Room with the Elysium dancers. Such a hot show and another full sim this week as we honored Black History Month with a variety of styles a different as all of our unique dancers. With Paul and Jilley at the door with their welcoming smiles and Gunner and Wiz getting ready, the energy in the air was sizzling hot as the night began.

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First up was Jilley, stunning the crowd as always with her style. Tonight she was joined on stage with Dream and Baby as they danced to Nat King Cole and “Smile.” A gorgeous interpretation of this song as Jilley, dressed as a sad clown and her dancers behind windows dressed as wooden mannequins. Her dance was perfect and beautifully done as always as the show opened beautifully with her heartfelt performance.

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Anu was second on stage tonight with a stage full of talented dancers including some very scantily clad men wearing nothing other than what could be described as strategically placed thongs. Her sizzling hot version of Bootylicious including a huge caste with Babypea, Ginty, Star, Electra, Ferdinand Scarmon, Edward Ballinger, Gunner von Phoenix, Sebastian Borne, Si Di Brit and Keith Ringgold had the crowd going wild and cheering as her act paid tribute to Queen B in the style that she deserved.

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Wiz and Ariel were next in a romantic style retro tribute as they danced the night away to All She Wants to Do is Rock by Wynonie Harris. The dance moves and costumes just perfect as they slipped back in time and danced the night away with spectacular moves and bringing cheers once again from our audience as the night just continued to got hotter.

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Kyshra was next to prowl onto the stage with her dancers dressed as some of the sexiest felines I have ever seen. Dressed being the questionable world as their feline costumes left nothing to imagination. Joined onstage by Ame, Baby, CowGrl, and Queenie and they livened up an already wild jungle set to a mix that included everything from Tone Loc’s wild thing, Kiss, fingers and more as they had tongues hanging out all over the room including one audience member who called out that they would be worth risking a hairball for.

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Next I took the stage with two of my favorite dancers, Josie and Queenie. Straight out of the rain forest as we danced to Janet Jackson’s “Moist.” Janet’s soft voice and falling waters drenching us as we enticed the crowd, slipping into the water and teasing as the storm of colors and water swirled around us. This act brought me a bit out of my comfort zone a little as I showed that softer side of me most don’t get to see onstage.

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Eva never fails to stun us with her style and talent as she followed me up with Melanie Martinez – Carousel. Everything was perfect in her act from her costume and animations to her particle effects that were purely stunning. She started her act with a magical carousel and continued on with a lighting spectacular that would rival the fourth of July. An act that could be easily loved by all as she left me wanting to see more.

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Baby was the finale with Grand style tonight worthy of her own show on the Vegas Strip. She took with stage with a huge flurry of colorful teal and purple feathers as she danced her solo to Louis Armstrong – The Mardi Gras March. Perfect for the theme of the night and Mardis Gras as all eye were on her. Doing it all with the pizzazz and class that Miss Baby Pea always brings to the stage. She wowed everyone in the place as she danced and strutted for us all and I do not think there was one man in that audience that was not ready to pluck her feathers!

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Bringing the night to an end in true Empire Room style, Ame and the Elysium dancers welcomed the crowd on stage to pay tribute to Black History Month in true Motown style. Fun dances and a wild set closed out the night as everyone danced to such classics as The Four Tops – It’s The Same Old Song, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – Dancing In The Street, The Supremes – Come See About Me.

Elysium Cabaret Celebrates Black History Month Friday at 6pm SLT

An appeal on behalf of Second Life creator Elicio Ember

I wrote an article on this amazing and inspiring creator for MOVE Magazine. I hold him in such high regard, so wanted to share this. He is such a remarkable soul.

Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

Cerridwen's Cauldron; Inara Pey, January 2016, on Flickr Cerridwen’s Cauldron – Ground Level

Elico Ember is a brilliant Second Life creator and a friend, I’m therefore posting this article in support of him and his family, after learning via Saffia Widdershins about a familial health crisis he is facing, and a call for help he has put out via Facebook.

You can read the full details on Saffia’s post. Suffice it to say here that Elicio’s father has suffered a stroke which has left him with neurological damage. As Elicio explains in his Facebook post (which Saffia provides in full on her blog), circumstances mean that his father is without health insurance, despite having been employed by the state teaching languages at a local university. In order to ensure he gets the required treatment, the family has been forced to turn to private medical assistance, and thus are facing exceptional medical (and potentially other) bills as a result.

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Moniquexi’s Video of Babypea’s PONG Dance

Big thanks to Moniquexi for making a video of this very fun, lively dance I did with Jo, Gracie, Winnie, Kyshra, Ame, Jilley, and BB!  Ma girls are gorgeous!  A really fun dance, performed at Elysium Cabaret and in this video, performed at Winds of the Sahara Cabaret this past Sunday.

For best viewing, please click the gear, select Quality, and then click 1080p. Looks amazing! Super sharp!

If YOU have a video of one of YOUR dances to share, please send me a NC with the link and a few words for the description, and I will get it posted for you!  Thanks 😀

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February 17, 2017 Elysium Cabaret Review!

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It was a Friday night like any other Friday night, yet somehow it felt special.  Like there was something to be celebrated.  Still not sure what it is.  But this show was spectacular, and smooth as cream.  DJ Gunner looked dashing spinning the tunes as Paul and Jilley welcomed guests.  And Gunner even offered to pick up the tab this week!  Backstage, dancers were stretching out, warming up refined muscles in preparation of what would prove to be an exceptional show.  The sim was close to bursting, yet oddly… no lag!  There was just something special in the air.

 

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Babypea – Rewind by Happiness with Kyshra, Gracie, Joy and BB

I opened the show with a dichotomy.  A traditional Japanese set, dancers dressed as Geishas and Ninjas, and a modern JPop tune that totally RAWKS!  The choreography was modern, hiphop and street dance.  Now, I did not like this dance when I first made it.  So I spent some more time on it, and I finished up really liking it because it is high energy and fun.  My dancers looked so sexeh!  This dance happened because, long ago I made this set for Diawa, as a back up for a project she was working on.  She said she needed a set.  Well, she got a set and never needed this one, in fact never even saw it.  So it sat in my inventory for a looooooooong time, and I finally decided to put it to use.  I wanted traditional costumes but a modern tune, and spent hours cruising JPop tunes on YouTube until I found one that I really loved.  Great energy!  And that is how this dance came to be.  It all started with… Diawa.

 

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Seb – New Thang by Red Foo with Jo and Jag

This was about as fun a dance as I have ever seen.  Thing 1, Thing 2, and a Cat in a Hat!  Not just any cat, but a really slick cat with a muscled chest and a sax!  Blowing his horn, trying to woo Jo who was having to pick between the Cat with the Sax and a beefy Thing 2, who was trying to earn her admiration with his sexy moves.  Although Seb said the cartoon set hurts his eyes and is outside of his comfort zone, the dance was just plain fun all around.  I must say, I am jealous!  I want this set, the costumes, the song!  Dammit Seb!  When asked where he got the inspiration for this act, he replied, “Someone had to put something fun in the middle of all the sappy valentines day dances.

“Actually it started months ago, while looking for another costume, I found the Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes. Thought it would be fun to make a dance around them.  I looked all over for a week or so, then ran across New Thang by Red Foo.  Thang = Thing, get it?  I know, it’s a stretch.”  It was brilliant!  I love the choreo in this dance!

Any particular challenges in this dance?  “The spacing.  The dances I chose for Thing 2 ended up way out in front of the way points, I would be dancing all over Thing 1 and the Sax Cat.  Took some doing, but I managed to get my way points back far enough that I still looked like I was dancing with them but not running them over.  Oh, and finding decent sax animations that could be used that weren’t bank breakers.”  Bravo Seb!

 

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Mona – Nights Over Egypt by The Jones Girls

Mona has been MIA of late, so it was good to see her on stage again.  Her set tonight was an Egyptian oasis with a tent complete with handsome nearly nude man.  A magic carpet waited nearby as she undulated sexy curves in a mesmerising belly dance.  Enchanting particle lights danced with her as she cast a spell on the audience.  Mona got to have an adventure with this dance, as the song she danced to was a request, not a song of her own choosing.  That can be very difficult, creating a dance to a song not of your choosing.  Mona said, “This song was assigned to me, as it was chosen by a couple that hired the group of us to create a private show for them.  It’s always fun to do these.”  Well, if you say so, Mona!  At least one of us thinks it’s fun.  I usually find it a struggle.

This situation did put Mona in a challenging creative position, as she says she usually builds the set first, then selects a song to go with it.  But she accepted the challenge with her usual enthusiasm and dedication.  “It meant a lot to them, as it was a song that was meaningful to the couple.  I tried to fulfill their expectations and have my choreography show the sense that the song portrayed.”  Beautifully done, Mona!

 

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Jo – Yellow by Vitamin String Quartet with Seb

Can we say, “exquisite”?  This dance was an ethereal masterpiece to a musical version of a breathtaking song.  Jo started in the sky with Seb dancing below.  She flew down and joined him on the ground, and together they danced, mixing some mirrored dances into the choreo.  It was like watching Heaven dance.  Jo chose this song to dance to, because she was looking for something that suited the new Abranimations Contemporary Jazz dances.  She said, “It’s a very beautiful rendition of the song with a lovely balletic feel, and it moves me every time I hear it.  It makes me want to get up and dance around the room.  I hope the audience loves it as much as I do.”  I can guarantee they did!  As did those backstage!  Jo continued, “I call something like this music for the soul.  This dance is like an ‘intermission’ in the show when everyone has a chance to catch their breath after the thrill of the first act and before the second act begins.”

This set was outside of Jo’s usual style, and thus presented her with a few challenges.  “Although the set is very different from my usual ones, with smoke emitters and animated textures and is a tad on the surreal side, the biggest challenge was finding a beginning pose for the male dancer.  Oh and finding a yellow costume of the right hue.  Sadly it was not modifiable so the flower decoration had to stay even though to my mind it doesn’t quite fit with the rest of my concept.”  I think the audience was too captivated by the beauty of the performance to be fussed about the flowers!  This dance was art.

 

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Goddess Shayna – How Do You Like Your Eggs in the Morning by Dean Martin and Helen O Connell with Rory

This week, Goddess Shayna presented us with an adorable set.  A glass globe that had a romantic table on which was placed a lovely breakfast meal, fruit, bottle of champagne… and all of this sitting on a giant version of the same!  It was very clever, having a scene within an identical scene, just one giant and the other miniature.  Inside the glass globe miniature scene danced a swingin’ couple, looking quite flash in black and pink.  In the background, we could see The Empire Room logo.  Now, regulars know that The Empire Room is a “Toast to a Different Time.”  As was Goddess Shayna’s dance!  Rory was explaining that he liked his eggs with a hug in the morning.  The song was as darling as the set, and she and Rory kicked up their heels in retro style, finally finishing up… in a hug!  Very chipper, leaving smiles on faces across the entire venue!

 

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Eva – Dark Horse (Official) by Katy Perry ft. Juicy J with Dyhann, Goddess Shayna, Joy, Misha, Selene, Nadi, Nara, Rose and Lexi

Is it just coincidence that “Eva” and “Epic” both start with “E”?  This dance was a creation of epic proportions.  It was highly complex, starting with eight cloaked dancers, dripping shimmering hand particles, on a black set.  The cloaks vanished and then suddenly a golden door appeared.  When it opened, there stood our Eva, framed in a background of golden wings with purple and blue hues.  She gave us all a chance to admire her delectable self, then strode forward as the scene changed, Egyptian quotes appearing on the walls, and glowing stone discs with symbols on them as well.  Eva had a special challenge in creating this dance, as she wanted to avoid making it look just like the video, thus had to be careful about “Balancing how much to put in and what to leave out, and how to express the dance without subconsciously pulling in stuff from the video.  I wanted to really bring the dance ‘to life’, and make it unique.”  Well, she sure accomplished that!

“Dark Horse is one of those songs that hit me as one I NEEDED to create a dance for.  There is so much imagery in the words, and I’m drawn to dramatic music with powerful transitions.”  The choreography and mover work had to be exhausting to create.  But the more work it is, the more Eva seems to like it!  She spoke about her set saying, “For me this song is about strength, and that inner confidence and magnetism. It’s fun, saucy, and listening to it I can’t help but feel fierce. I tried to capture that in the choreography, costumes, set, and movement, and hope I was able to successfully express that. It was amazing to create and so much fun to dance with the amazing women who joined me on stage.”

 

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Storm – Candyman with Liri, Kayla, Dy, Gracie, Baby, Jilley, Melvis and Sendar

Storm brought a fabulous ’50s diner to the stage, complete with handsome servicemen dressed in uniform, lovely ladies in poodle skirts, and more ladies in polka dot dresses dancing on table tops.  The song was one we all know and love, a timeless tune that to this day gets people bouncing in their seats.  Which is exactly why Storm picked it to create a dance to.  “I liked the beat and the words, and it’s a fun and entertaining song to listen to. ”

Couples swing dance and single ladies solo swing dancing gave a fun variety to the choreography.  That many dancers, and especially lining up couples dancers with movers, can be quite a challenge.  Storm said his particular challenge in creating this act was, “Getting the dances to line up in a smooth order so there wasn’t a lot of jerking and sliding in the transitions.”  He did a great job, and the dancers had as much fun as the audience with this lively performance!

 

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Jilley – Glass Princess

And Jilley the artistè does it again!  The curtain opened to reveal a giant blue glass jar that faded away to present the viewer with a glorious vision.  Jilley looked like a goddess in blue hues draped with pearls and layers of diaphanous white.  This set was simply straight from Heaven.  It had a slightly Asian appeal with the ice dragons and her headdress.  White lights moved with her, and the entire performance left one feeling elevated to a higher spiritual place.  It was just dreamy.  Jilley said her inspiration for this dance started with a poem.  “I found a short poem called Tainted Glass Princess, so that was what inspired me.  Luckily I found some nice instrumental music which was appropriately called Glass Princess, and during my dance I emoted the words of the poem.”  WOW.  Just WOW.

 

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Kyshra with Everyone!

Grease vs Dr Dre & Snoop Dog Mashup

Brooklyn Rocks – Joan Jett vs Beastie Boys

We Will Kill the Breath of Bangarang – Queen v RATM v Prodigy v Skrillex

This brought us to our finale, which is always our popular crowd dances.  This is a way we try to say THANK YOU to our cherished audience by inviting them up on stage to dance with us.  We call them our frams… friends and family!  This week, our Fram Dances were created by Kyshra, and she is sure a glut for punishment.  She picked some long, complicated songs, complete with dynamite choreography and a colorful, fun multi-level set that was a blast for everyone!  Kyshra said she picked these songs because, “I like finding unusual music or mashups that people may not hear all the time to help make a set unique.  Even for crowd dances, I think having something a little off from what people expect is good.

Crowd dances are their own kind of work.  It is not easy, “Finding space for 60 or more people on set and making sure that everyone’s poseball is working right.”  But it is so worth it!  The party on stage!  Kyshra continued, “Crowd dances, for me, are mostly for fun. I think the show should end up on an upbeat note where people are bouncing around and having fun and feeling like they’re participating in the show itself….because they ARE. ”  Yes they are!  This is when we get to not only meet our audience, say THANK YOU, but we get to dance and party with them as well.  As Kyshra said, “Grab a poseball and get ready to MOVE.”  Here Here!  We like to MOVE IT MOVE IT!  Below find a few more pics of our beloved FRAMS!

Thank you to all who participated with this show, whether it was behind the scenes, on stage, or in the audience!  Much love to you all!  If I got a name wrong below, please IM me and I will correct it.  If you see yourself and want me to add your name, please IM me!  I am happy to!  I am just old and can’t remember all the who is who.  It’s the dementia settling in.

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Usher, Kitti and Power!

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Jo, Seb and Shiri!

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Fumon and Jeni!

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Shiloh and Ginty!

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BERT AND GERT!  WOOT!  And Misty and Lex to the left, and Pan and BB at the top!  And I am pretty sure that is Sendar and Dyhann off to the right.  Lady C is right behind Gertie and another pretty lady behind Bertie, who is that pretty Lady?  Is that KissMe?  Someone give me oxygen so I can recharge my brain cells!

 

FuzOnAcid’s Video of Babypea’s “Red Lips” Dance

This is an animated dance I created in the virtual world of Second Life.  The song is a creative masterpiece called: GTA – Red Lips feat. Sam Bruno (Skrillex Remix).  This animated dance debuted at Elysium Cabaret in The Empire Room on Copperhead Road sim, and has been performed at other venues since.  I built the set and did the choreography, the costume is by Boudoir.  A huge thanks to my idol FuzOnAcid for making the dance into a video.  He is brilliant.  I also want to thank my patient dancers and especially my other half, Gunner von Phoenix for his patience as well.  And a big thanks to my Diawa Bellic who arranged for Fuz to video this for me.  Because he likes her better than me.  She is so spoiled!  But that is okay because I am the boss of her.  *smiles*

Diawa produced this video, but I am still the boss of her.

A Friday Full of Love

The Friday before Valentine’s Day…or….the beginning of Valentine’s weekend.  Seems to me it would be a great night to have a show dedicated to love, the idea of love, the expression of love, the love of a good partner, or motorcycle for that matter.  The dancers of the Empire Room were up for the challenge and with the music ministrations of Gunner, along with Paul and Jilley greeting the guests and Gunner actually ponying up for the round of drinks…the lovefest was at hand.

Ame and Zach opened the show Friday night with a set that was so moving I was actually speechless.  There are dances that take your breath away and this was one of them.  They chose Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful”.  This is one of those iconic songs that I have seen several sets to in SL and what I find most amazing is that every single interpretation has been different and profoundly moving.  This is the thing that makes SL dance for me; seeing how everyone’s imagination creates a new and stunning visual narrative for a song.

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I had to follow this masterpiece, and once again, I am amazed at how Wiz, our dance manager, puts together a show.  He always knows how to mix up the sets so that sad, sexy, silly and serene blend together to keep me alert and engaged.  I chose The Beatles “All You Need is Love”.  My set was simple…I started behind a shadowbox in my cupid outfit and eventually faded and flew back to finish up on a giant LOVE sign.  A smattering of particles and a giant Happy Valentine’s Day sign rounded out my not so subtle message 🙂

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Corri was joined by Ray and FT for The Guilds “Do You Want To Date My Avatar”.  They were in a fantasy forest with a prehistoric vibe and Corri was definitely looking lovely enough to have both of these manly men fighting over her avatar.  I loved the costumes and whimsical feel to the set….it was enchanting, and that song always makes me crack a smile!

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Lovely Lina was up next and she chose George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex”.  Clearly she and I were on the same wavelength with tossing subtlety out the window.  She was joined by Queenie, Immy, Josie, Alexis, Ariel, Paul, Jag and Ray.   There were cages…there were moving stairs, hot slides…there were garters, bare chests and these adorable, strategically placed bows on the ladies’ backsides.  It was sexy and fun and utterly distracting!

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Babypea and Ransom joined us to Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita”.  Ransom was at home, dancing around to her favorite Madonna tune when her apartment wall magically faded away to show us a vision of a beautiful seaside with Baby dancing in her Spanish finery.  We were all a little jealous of the daydream…especially folks like me…stuck at home following a blizzard with almost 2 feet of snow on the ground.  I could have parked my avatar in that set, grabbed a margarita and been in heaven!

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Jilley made a heck of an entrance on her motorcycle to “Fire” by Barnes Courtney.  This is  a great song…..soulful and bluesy and rock and roll and HOT.  Jilley cruised in, parked that bike and got off and owned the bayou.  She was wearing her leathers and a wild mask and every time Barnes sang about fire, she burst into flame.  It was COOL!  I mean, we all know Gunner loves to call her the Devil Girl, but she sort of channeled that into the MC club beotch from hell and still made it look sexy!

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Nara was joined by Gracie for our last act of the evening.  She chose Celine Dionne’s “Somebody Loves Somebody” and took advantage of those marvelous mirrored dances that we all seem to adore.  This set was a Valentine’s Day tribute with great heart trees that had little heart particles. Our ladies were sexy in white which played beautifully off the red backdrop and the mirrored dances were placed perfectly. There were particles floating about and softly draped corners. It was such a pretty set to watch and a wonderful way to segue into our Friday funfest of group dancing.

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Eva did our crowd dances and first off I’m giving her a shout out for one super cool stage.  The poseballs were actually props…peace words, hands, peace signs…very creative and it made for a psychedlic and pretty set to just look at, let alone dance on.  She chose three great songs; “Love is All You Need” by the Beatles, Bob Marley’s “One Love” and Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina’s “Stereo Love” to boogie our buns off into the sunset.

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I hope you all had a great time and thank you for hanging out on a Friday with us (or Saturday if you insist on living in that hemisphere).  Thanks also to our hosts at Empire for giving us a place to dance and play and kick off the weekend on a fun note.  Catch you all next Friday night, same bat place…same bat time…totally new bat show!!

Have You Ever Created a Dance You Did Not Like?

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Babypea’s Ponderings

What an odd question. What an odd quandary. How is it even possible that, when you have total control over the creation of a dance, you could possibly actually for real create something that you do not like. Then what do you do with it? Keep pushing the paint around until you finally like it, or until you have so much paint on the canvas you need to scrape it all off, gesso the surface, and start anew?

I’ve been pondering.

I think some songs are fabulous to dance to, but not very inspiring when it comes to translating into a visual image. When performing, we want to do something more than simply dance in a textured box. Dance as entertainment requires more than choreography. Otherwise, our audience might as well go to a club or party and watch people dancing, particularly where couples dances are concerned. People attending a show expect and deserve more. Interesting sets, dazzling costumes, and special effects all enhance our dances, with each element contributing to the entertainment quality of our final production. But we can love to MOVE to a song, yet find no visual expression or concept to convey that song on stage.

So we try to force it, perhaps. We may create a dance for it anyway, with a loose idea for a concept that we are sure we can tighten up as we build it. However, even after all our effort, we may find at the end of the day that we have created a dance we simply do not like. So what to do with this song we love but can’t seem to form into a scene? Or, what to do when we form a scene complete with costume, tight choreo, special effects… and we still are not feeling it? Is it a bad dance if we do not like it? Or, might it be a good dance, just not one that suits us personally. Of course, when I say “we” I mean “me.” I still wonder how it is possible that a person with total creative control over an act can finish up with something not to their liking. But this has happened to me. Has it happened to you?

What makes a dance a good dance? Is there even such a thing? As I know of many dances some people love and others do not like at all. So it all comes down to personal preference. Which would mean there is no such thing as a good or bad dance, only what a person does or does not like. I think the important thing is that the creator of the dance be pleased with it. That individual must feel satisfied with their creation.

I think the thing to do is to ask yourself, “What is it about this dance that I do not like?” My thing always comes down to: It’s boring. It’s just a set, some dancing, some mover work… but it is not AMAZING, it is not MIND BLOWING, it is… just a dance. A good clean fun dance with a great set, awesome costumes, and effects that show effort was extended. Yet still, it is just a dance. It NEEDS something. It needs… maybe a space ship to come flying in and land on the stage. Or some explosions. Or six scene changes just to add interest, not because the dance actually requires the changes, but to keep the audience eyes moving so they don’t get bored.

At what point can a dance be accused of being overworked?

I suppose at the end of the day, I have to remind myself why I dance. I do it because it is a social outlet through which I can express my love of music. I can’t sing or play any musical instruments, but I LOVE music and love to dance in real life. In Second Life, I can expand on dancing by incorporating visuals into the production. It is art. It is creative expression. It is often fun. And, it is how I “hang out” with like-minded people.

Feel free to like, share, and comment. I am eager to hear of your experiences in ever having created a dance you did not like. I would like to read how you handled it. Just to get some new thoughts, different perspectives.