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!

 

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