Elysium Interview with Babypea von Phoenix

Babypea Christmas 2016

Dance is transformation. Motion. Passion. And no other Elysium dancer embodies this better than Babypea von Phoenix. She is a mentor, a monster, a servant, a director and a den mother. Excellent at all these things and confined to no one thing, she is a true artist. Like the best of artists, she is kind, even when she’s commanding Hell’s legions or conducting twisted experiments. She was kind enough to open her heart to us in this Elysium Interview. 

What and who inspire the ideas for your dances?

Originally, I was inspired by my other half.  I made all my dances solely for him, and as long as he was pleased by them I was happy.  I am inspired by music; hearing a song that excites and captivates me.  I can’t sing or play any instruments, so dance is how I express my love of music.  I am also, at times, inspired by a picture or texture that I will see, something that captures my imagination and holds my attention.  I often create dances that start with textures.  Every now and then, I find a costume that is so outrageous, I think, “I must create a dance for this.”  That is what happened with “Cover Girl.”  I saw Mona in this sea shell costume and cracked up laughing.  I said, “We must dance in this!”  So that entire dance was inspired by a silly, fun outrageous costume.  We were sea shells and were all legs!  It was so much fun!  I love Ru Paul.  But that dance happened because of Mona.

I will share one of my best creation secrets.  Really, it is no secret; I have written about this in a “Lost Your Muse” article that I participated in.  When I have a song I want to make a dance for, I go to Google and type in key words that relate to that song.  I then peruse Google Images, seeing many fabulous pictures and textures that give me ideas for sets.  I have advised other people to try this.  It is a great way to get off the beaten path and create dances that are not predictable.  It certainly gives you fresh ideas and inspires you to try approaching dance creation from a completely different angle.  This is one of my best ways of getting unstuck on creating a dance that I am struggling with.

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

It was my other half that inspired me to start dancing in SL!  He is my everything… Husband, Best Friend, Master, Lover, Confidante.  He loved Gorean dance so much and was so impressed by it, that I decided to make a dance for him to please him and make him happy.  He has been a huge help to me, especially with Gorean dance.  Anytime I would be stuck with a dance and having trouble with it, I would go talk about it with him, and he would help me sort it out.  He has done nothing but encourage me in mainstream dance as well, and anytime I get frustrated and talk about giving it up, he is the person who encourages me to stay with it.  He really is the wind beneath my wings.  I would not be a dancer were it not for him.

My very first dance was a Gorean chain dance called Eternal Connection.  My first mainstream dance was Stray Cat Strut followed immediately by Puttin’ On the Ritz.  I still love all of them.  My dances are like my children or chapters in my Book of Dance Journeys.

Your dances are the most surreal in their artistry. What influences inspire the bizarre visions you create?

I love metaphor, mystery and surprises, which is why I love art.  I think when a person looks at art, they will draw their own interpretation of it based on their own experiences and value systems.  I love Impressionism because it leaves so much up to the viewer’s interpretation.  A hundred people can look at one work of art and each see something different in it.  That is because the viewer puts a piece of their own experience, their own soul into the viewing.  A connection is thereby formed between the artist and the viewer.  It is a human bond.  And the viewer becomes a part of the art as they contribute their own interpretation to the shared experience.  It is a shared journey of sorts.  I know people don’t always ‘get’ my dances.  But they don’t have to get my interpretation, I would rather they fill in the blanks with their own.  This allows them to be a part of the creation experience.  I don’t need them to understand me or see me through my creations, what I want is for them to see a piece of their own selves, or something they relate to in some way.  I simply want to make them feel something, and when that happens, it is very satisfying.  Only then does one of my dances feel finished.

When I am creating a dance, I often approach it metaphorically, and I decide to not tell the audience or show them everything directly.  I did “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and people either loved or hated that dance.  It all came down to the chicken.  People who ‘got’ the chicken loved the dance.  People who did not ‘get’ the chicken hated it.  The chicken was symbolic of the futility of our justice system.  So you see, I bypass the realistic at times and go for the metaphoric, thereby leaving room for viewer interpretation.  Not always, of course.  I would die of exhaustion if every dance I created was some meaningful artistic expression.  I also do ‘fast food’ dances which are just plain fun; just me having a good time.  I do love comedy as well as metaphor, and I love to have silly fun with some of my dances.  It all just depends on the song.  It is always about the song and what images they inspire in my head.  My sense of humor does come out to play on stage.

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

There are four primary elements of a dance: the song, the costume, the set, and the choreography.  I usually start with the song, then build the set.  If I am starting with the costume, I then try to find a song to suit it.  Every now and then, I build a set cause it just feels good, then again I try to find a song to suit it.  Usually, I prefer to have the set built before starting the choreography.  Once I have the set, I can make informed decisions on mover work, where to start, where to move to, where to finish.  I can then create the choreography, and adjust the timing on the movers so that I am not scooting when moving.  As a rule, costuming comes last in my dances, unless it is a dance that is starting with an inspirational costume.  I enjoy costuming the least, partially because I hate to shop.  No one in the world hates shopping more than I –  in both lives.  That is why I don’t like Christmas – all the shopping.  I enjoy building sets the most because I love to decorate and create environments.  Choreography can be a lot of fun, but sometimes it is very challenging to find animations that work with the music.  The hardest part of dance creation for me is always picking that first animation to start a dance.  It usually takes me as long to pick that first animation as it does to pick all the ones that follow.  I go through dozens of animations, trying one after another, just to find the right one to begin a dance.  It can be like finding a needle in a haystack.  But once found, it is usually clear sailing for the rest of the choreography.  Once I have my song, set, and choreography, I decide on costuming and then,  I look the set over, watch the dance, and think if it is feasible to add in special effects or particles.  These are the pretty bows on the package, so I save them for last.

I have started and finished dances in one day, even elaborate ones like “Rewired” which, yes, I started and finished in the same day.  And I have had dances that took 140 hours to create.  It just depends on the dance, and on what effects I want to use.  Some give me trouble.  Sometimes I want to do things that aren’t possible, so I spend a lot of time experimenting to find a way to do what I want to do.  Sometimes elements of a dance will give me fits, and sorting them out can be very time-consuming.  Costume hunting is massively time consuming.  And boring, waiting for things to rez or loading page after page on MarketPlace.  I also, at times, have had dances take over and go places I had not intended.  They do seem to take on a life and mind of their own – a spirit, of sorts.  This is sometimes great, because I finish up with something that surprises even me.  But sometimes the surprise is not a good one, as I have, on occasion, finished up with a dance I did not like.

How do you overcome the personal doubts and distractions that challenge all artists?

Every now and then I feel that pressure creeping in – that nothing is good enough and how am I going to make this or that dance spectacular because every dance has to be more than just a dance, right?  It has to be spectacular so that people are entertained.  That is when I am flinching and feeling I do not want to work on dances.  I don’t like that pressure.  It is not fun.  So, then I go and read Elysium’s charter, and remember why I wanted to start Elysium: so that I could have a place to dance where I could do anything I wanted.  Yes, dance should be entertaining, and many of us delude ourselves into thinking that we are so incredibly entertaining that other people could not possibly get bored from watching one of our dances.  Yes, I have to keep the entertainment factor in mind.  However!  If I am not having fun, there is no reason for me to be doing this.  So, I read the charter and remember why I am doing this above all: fun and friendship.  I often say, dance is how I socialize with kindred spirits.  Not every dance I make is going to be spectacular.  Sometimes they will be cute or funny or bizarre.  There is room for all.  When I am balancing the ‘fun and friendship’ aspect of dance with the pressure of having to produce something that will entertain others, it is a lot easier for me to create free from the personal doubts.

As for distractions!  They are a serious problem for me.  I often get hammered in IMs.  Because of this, it can take me five hours to get one hour of work finished.  I actually started dancing on an alt, because she has few friends, gets few IMs, and I get more done on her in one hour than I do in five hours on Babypea.  I haven’t worked out how to get around all the distractions on Babypea.  At least my other half understands and does his best to give me space and let me work when I need to work.  I am blessed that he is so supportive of my dancing.

One thing that is a really bad bad thing to do, and will destroy a dancer’s spirit, is comparing yourself to others.  If you do that, you will be miserable.  You will either feel inferior and never good enough or you will feel superior and be looking down your nose at other dancers, rather than enjoying and appreciating the pieces of their souls they are sharing with you.  So, my advice to anyone who dances and doesn’t want to feel miserable and encumbered with self-doubt is to never compare your dances to those of other creative souls.  If you are comparing, you are self-doubting and that is something you might want to think about.  Maybe ask yourself why, and what can you do to concern yourself with feeling satisfied with what you create.

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

Chest pains, knots in my stomach, and PTSD!  Being an Owner sucks in some ways.  People can be so hypersensitive, taking offense very easily, and it is stressful trying to balance everything.  Trying to make everyone happy when everyone wants different and often opposing things – it is futile.  And frustrating.  I wish I could make everyone happy all of the time, but it is just not possible.  But overall, I think Elysium is lucky.  Most of our people are good-natured and benevolent souls, and most of them are a joy to work with.  Most of them make Management’s job pretty easy, and they make dance fun.  They make me smile and laugh.  Fortunately, most of the difficult ones (the divas, which come in both female and male form) leave sooner or later, and usually when they do, I find myself exhaling in relief.  I think I am lucky cause so many who have stayed make me feel so happy when I am dancing with them.  They make up for the occasional bad eggs, and I am very grateful to them.

As a dancer and choreographer, what Elysium gives me is a place where I can dance anything I want.  I have creative freedom there.  We have few rules, so there is plenty of room for me to try different things.  I love variety, love to experiment, and love to have new dance adventures.  That’s why I wanted to start Elysium.  I wanted a place where I could dance anything, from burlesque to gospel, hip hop to ballet, jazz and tap to country and even comedy.  I also love having a stage that is large enough to accommodate big acts or I can box it down for smaller acts.  I can fit almost anything there.  Another thing I get from Elysium is a chance to meet a lot of dancers from other troupes, through our guest performances.  I really enjoy meeting them and seeing what they do.  I also enjoy promoting them, because they are part of our extended dance family.  It makes me feel happy to welcome dancers from all over Second Life to our stage.

What principles do you live your life by and how does that assist your creative powers and imagination?

I have a very strong work ethic, I am a hard worker in both lives.  When I commit to something I will go to the outer limits to fulfill my commitment.  Yes, real life comes first, but if I commit to something in Second Life, I consider that as important as a real life commitment.  I am very well organized and like to stay on top of my work load by finishing things ahead of schedule.  So, I start early and am very dedicated.  I am also a bit OCD, so a bit of a perfectionist but not to the point of being impossible to live with.  This all helps me to take my dancing seriously and to really focus on it with passion.

The human element is important to me, and peoples’ feelings mean more to me than ‘things’ so I try to be encouraging of others.  I don’t lie and am not insincere, but I don’t go tearing apart things other people create.  I try to keep in mind, a dance is a piece of a person’s soul, they are sharing it with me, and I should be appreciative of their gift.  I’m not one to sit and look for everything that is wrong.  This helps me to be humble so that hopefully I don’t embarrass myself by letting my ego get out of hand.  It helps me to consider ways that my dancing could improve.

I tend to look on the bright side, and prefer to bask in positive energy.  I am often reminding myself I am among friends, and that helps me relax so that I can function as a creator.  I have my share of haters, and I consider them extended fans.

Babypea snorts.

My sense of humor above all sustains me.  My gratitude for what I have keeps me bubbly and happy.  And then there is bliss.  Joseph Campbell said, “If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that you never even knew were there.”  So, I try to keep that in mind as well.  Follow your bliss.  Have fun with it.  Take chances, make mistakes, get messy – I love Ms. Frizzle.  She so rocks!

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

Not much.  I am very tired and want to take a year or two off.  I have a lot going on in RL and want to be more focused on it.  For my dancing, I want to spend more time on simpler, intimate dances.  I am sick to death of scene changes, and am shying away from them to a point.  I am growing weary of gimmicks and trickery.  I just really feel like I want to focus more on choreography and less on flash.  I know you can have both, of course, but sometimes I think the flash distracts from the choreography.  I am moody so I suppose what I do with my dances will depend on my mood.

The magic of those moods commands the emotions of the audience, every week at the Elysium Cabaret. Horror, joy, sorrow and the sublime – all these powers of human experience are woven into the elegant forms of Babypea’s art. And they inhabit the genius of each Elysian, as you’ll discover in our continuing series of Elysium Interviews.

Photo courtesy of Babypea von Phoenix.

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Elysium Review, January 6 2017 – George Michael Tribute

A life may pass, but true talent lives on forever – echoing through the art it inspires and the people it delights. George Michael’s death was an occasion for remembrance and gratitude for countless fans, and Elysium Cabaret was among them, conducting a George Michael tribute show this past weekend. Each choreographer’s vision was the lens that George’s awesome work shone through, producing onstage visions that were sometimes freaky, sometimes fantastical, and always heartfelt. DJ Gunner von Pheonix directed the show with proper solemnity and gratitude for this beloved performer’s legacy. Host Paul Woodrunner made the audience feel included and inspired by the occasion. And the performances at The Empire Room never failed to do honor to George.

Act One: Babypea with Gunner, BB, Pan, Sorcha and Kyshra – Freeek – George Michael

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George Michael was an expert at pushing the envelope, and Babypea is his kindred spirit in that area. Her devotion to George Michael took his sexy, freaky song to a whole new level by weaving a love story from a whole other planet – opening with an alien ship landing in a metropolis, and two extraterrestrial lovers getting down on stage. Flanked by a retinue of bizarre, nude figures, this pair of freakish lovers touched, tangled and ground together in the center of a flying saucer. It was as enthralling as it was exotic, and dripped with the sexuality George Michael was famed for.

Act Two: Lulu with Candy, Angie, Babypea and Jilley- Freedom – George Michael

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Freedom of expression, of sexuality and of art, were all principles of George Michael’s life and work, and Lulu put them into practice, transforming The Empire Room stage into the edifice of an adult bookstore and having dancers perform in scanty, sexy outfits. As the lingerie-clad squad shook it, spun and spiced up the stage, the heat definitely hit the top of the thermometer. It was a display of choreography and sensuality that was as both classy and sleazy – qualities that radiated from Mr. Michael himself!

Act Three: Lina with Mona, Kyshra, Nella, Snow and Josie – Too Funky – George Michael

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Things went from freaky and free to downright funky – and kinky! Lina’s act was all about sexuality at its most outrageous, with dancers performing before a slideshow of erotic photos, bondage pictures and striking images of George Michael. The song may’ve been about being too funky, but the dance was just to the audience’s tastes, served hot and with plenty of kink to spice it up.

Act Four: Corri with Paul and Wiz – I Want Your Sex – George Michael

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Modern dance honored a modern-era chart-topping shocker, as Corri and her dancers hit the stage with some 80s moves to George Michael’s boundary-breaking 80s hit! Featuring red hot lingerie and topless male dancers, Corri’s performance showed we can always have faith that she’ll bring the ultimate sexiness to the stage. It was the definition of dirty – and delightful!

Act Five: Goddess Shayna with Lina, Lulu, Ame, Wiz, Babypea, Jiller, Corri, Gunner and Kyshra – White Light – George Michael

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Using phases of darkness and light, Goddess Shayna evoked themes of reincarnation with her tribute to George Michael’s moving tune about not giving up on life. As groups of dancers advanced to the spotlight at the fore of the stage, others stayed receded in darkness, with the song building in force and furor to live on for the sake of passion. As the climax hit in a burst of brilliant white light, all the dancers shone below a strip of George Michael images, as the living incarnation of his amazing musical canon.

Act Six: Wiz with Ariel Arrowmint – Father Figure – George Michael

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Solitary except for a sleeping figure in a nearby bed, Wiz danced to a song of unconditional devotion. The conditions of the stage were exquisitely tawdry – a run-down apartment – but the dancer’s motions were just as exquisitely tender. This homage to the sensitive side of George Michael struck many chords, bringing out a touching image of what love ’til the end of time truly means – finding grace in the worst of circumstances.

Act Seven: Ame with Zach – A Different Corner – George Michael

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As the set gave way to Ame and Zach Starostin, the romance stayed strong. Set in an elegant penthouse, the pair sparkled in glittery body paint and swirled within streamers, coming together in a dance that had all the hallmarks of a true romance – sensitivity, sexuality and splendor. They made love a truly magical thing, and brought the audience to their feet with praise.

Act Eight: Gunner with Paul, Zach, Melvis, Baby, Kyshra – Bad Boys – Wham!

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Gunner’s act brought out the devil-may-care attitude of the 80s with classic from George Michael’s Wham! days. Our DJ and his brothers in badness hit a bar for a wild night on the town, with some modern dance moves and primal energy. The good time music that George Michael was known for was in full effect, as Gunner’s squad cut a rug in a way that would put Chippendale’s to shame!

Act Nine: Jilley with Eva and Dream – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – George Michael

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Jilley closed out the night with a finale that was festive and full of fun! With more images of George Michael scrolling behind a group of lavishly dressed dancers, elegance and grace was on display. George Michael’s ode to the birth of 20th century dance and the freedom of expression found a magnificent avatar in Jilley’s 24-karat crew of dancers!

Act Ten: Kyshra (Crowd Dance) – Liberty Funeral March, Paul Barbarian’s Second Line, Somebody to Love (Queen)

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In front of a display of George Michael pictures and glimmering candles, arranged like a wake, the crowd gathered for Kyshra’s selection of classic secondline funeral tunes – a fitting send-off for one of the world’s finest modern musicians! Swaying and shifting in classic jazz moves, the audience united to honor George Michael in the way that many of America’s musical stars have enjoyed. It all closed out with Queen’s triumphal tune, reminding us that just as controversy, heartache and calamity never kept George Michael down, our own courage and creativity is how his spirit best lives on!

Creativity and artistic courage is always in full supply at The Empire Room! The legacy of George Michael and a host of other artists inspire us every week – just as our audience’s eye is what keeps our spirits alive! We hope you’ll see more of our talent – and join our family – for the many shows ahead in the new year!

Photos by Sorcha Wylde and Storm Wylde.

Elysium Review, December 30 2016 – On the Eve of ’17

We’ve got a feeling – that this year’s going to be a great year! Elysium Cabaret started off 2017 with a stellar show that stunned the audience with displays of celebration as festive as freshly popped champagne. We know we’ll go strong, and you could hear it in the excitement of DJ Gunner von Phoenix’s voice as he announced each of the show-stopping, jaw-dropping dances that hit The Empire Room stage this past Friday. We know we’ll never fail to thrill, and you could feel that energy radiating from the hearty welcomes given by host Paul Woodrunner. And we know that you, our beloved audience, will see many awesome acts over this new year, as Elysium Cabaret showed with its variety of exciting, sensual and visually stunning routines.

Act One: Babypea with BB and Jo – Celebration – Kool & The Gang

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Babypea is a true starlet, never failing to shine, and her opening act lit up the audience. Its subject was celebration, and the driving tunes of Kool & The Gang seized the attention of the audience and started the night by sending the crowd’s energy through the roof. Upbeat, elegant and flawlessly orchestrated, this act put all the icons of New Year festivity on display – from fine dresses to flashing lights – and got the party going right!

Act Two: Angie with LuLu and Candinette Metaluna – Earned It – The Weeknd

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January may be mid-Winter, but New Years is meant to be one hot holiday, and Angie really cranked up the body heat with her rendition of one of The Weeknd’s most smoldering melodies. Erotic and graceful, Angie’s dancers evoked the spirit of refined sexuality that comes alive on this romantic holiday. With sexy outfits and sleek moves, this act was as juicy as a New Year kiss at midnight!

Act Three: Ame with Zach, Gunner, Baby, Paul, Jilley, Devlin, Wiz, Kyshra and Winnie

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Few can argue that Kid Rock doesn’t really rock, and Ame’s act left no doubt when she shook the stage with a monster of a choreographed number to his hit tune, New Year. The prior act’s sensual blazed away into a supercharged routine that seamlessly directed a colossal crowd of dancers, psyching up the audience and bringing down the house!

Act Four: LuLu – Chandelier – Sia

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LuLu summoned a darker note to the stage with her act, Sia’s awesome devotion to the self-abusive side of partying hard, with a dance that shone with splendor from every detail. On a stage dressed in notes of gold and black, and decked with icons of celebration, LuLu literally swung from a chandelier, with a gorgeous display of orgiastic motion. With shifting props and exquisite attention to timing, this was a truly spot-on rendition of a perfect hymn to the agonies of ecstasy.

Act Five: Lina with Monavie Voight, Josephine Jinx, Goddess Shayna, Queenie, Melvis Baum, Seb, Prestor and Paul Woodrunner – Let’s Groove In Our Suits & Ties – Earth, Wind & Fire/Justin Timberlake

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The follow up to LuLu’s sardonic solo act was a massive routine by Lina – a nine-person swarm of celebration that wowed the crowd! Grooving in New Years’ finery, Lina’s squad of dancers got down with modern dance moves in a classic environment. It kept the audience’s high spirits at their highest, putting on a brilliantly orchestrated display of choreography that illustrated the New Year tradition of getting together and getting down!

Act Six: Winnie – What Are You Doing New Years’ Eve – Ella Fitzgerald

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Sometimes whimsical, sometimes woeful, Winnie is always wonderful. And for this exquisite New Years’ act, she went for wistful and nailed it, taking the stage as a solitary dancer and seizing the audience’s attention with a gorgeous rendition of Ella’s hopeful, tragic New Years’ tune. Marvelous and delicate, dainty and sweeping, her dance dazzled the eyes and, as ever, moved many hearts.

Act Seven: Devlin – Partyman – Prince

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On this ultimate occasion of new beginning, Devlin broadened our minds with his thrilling routine – an Empire Room choreographer debut that drew from a classic Prince tune to announce that the Partyman was in the house! Wonderfully composed and with a dash of sass, Devlin’s act was all class, with his involvement of the Mad Hatter and the best song from the 80s’ Batman delivering an exciting homage to Tim Burton’s work. He was an outstanding avatar for the spirit of celebration, and we hope to party down with him more over the months ahead!

Act Eight: Kyshra with Babypea, Jilley, Queenie, Jo, Ame, Shayna, Winnie, Lina, Fuki, Monavie, Nadi, Gunner, Wiz, Si, Rory, Zach and Paul – Show Me How You Burlesque – Christina Aguilera

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“Wow” was the word that echoed during Kyshra’s number – a saucy, sexy, astonishingly elaborate dance routine that brought almost the entire Elysium cast onto the stage! Just as New Year celebrates inspiration, Kyshra’s act got right to the heart of what the Elysium Cabaret is all about – bringing many talents into harmony for a visually amazing display of what SecondLife can do! It was a fitting finale – a Times Square of a routine – that

Act Nine: Eva (Crowd Dance) – Don’t You Worry Child (Swedish House Mafia), Give Me Everything (Pitbull), The Final Countdown (Europe)

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Eva’s crowd dance selected tunes that got right to the essentials of the New Year holiday and electrified the audience with them! Bringing the crowd onto a stage adorned in New Years’ swag, Eva’s group number reminded us that fresh beginnings mean new hope, revived energy and a feeling that something big is about to happen. With a packed house moving as one under The Empire Room’s golden rafters, it hardly gets bigger than this event in SL!

We’ll continue to raise the bar in 2017 – you can count on that! With hilarious, happy, heart-rending and hot-and-spicy routines, the Elysium Cabaret is sure to bring the full breadth of imagination and inspiration to the SecondLife stage. Here’s to seeing you in the stands for an awesome year ahead!

Pictures by Goddess Shayna and our crowd picture by Sorcha Wylde

Elysium Review December 23, 2016 – Christmas Cabaret

“Elysium” is another word for “Heaven,” and this Friday, the Elysium Cabaret celebrated the holy holidays with a show that was both dazzling and divine. Host Paul Woodrunner was in especially warm spirits on this Winter weekend night, a bit more jolly as he greeted the crowds that came through The Empire Room door. DJ Gunner von Phoenix commanded the show over the PA, and wove together all the merry melodies of each act with humor and heart-warming holiday wishes. It was a wonderful affair, most of all thanks to the dances that dazzled the audience: Some silly, some sacred and all of them so very special – a perfect recipe for an Elysium Cabaret Christmas treat.

Act One: Babypea – A Christmas Alleluia – Chris Tomlin (Live) ft. Lauren Daigle, Leslie Jordan

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Divine splendor was shown in full spectrum by Babypea, who presented a truly glorious Christmas story. Her lone dance in divine white began dancing, as if the evening star itself, before the scene of a nativity manger. Set with the assembly from Christ’s birth, the scene of dark background and stark images soon gave way to a heavenly vista with light effects that were amazing in detail and awesome in intensity. It was as spectacular a celebration of the Christmas day’s holy beginnings as ever graced the stage.

Act Two: Sendar with Eva – Nutrocker – Trans Siberian Orchestra

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The second act was strikingly personal and splendid in its composition – a debut by Sendar that dedicated itself to expressing devotion and gratitude, to God and to all those who were blessings in his life. Set by the altar of a church and lit by the glorious stained glass window, Sendar’s dance were sewn with statements announcing his desire to please God with dance and all the kind acts of his life. This outstanding breakdancing routine concluded with a rousing declaration of thanks for those who’ve blessed his journey.

Act Three: Misha with Nadi and Luna – Where Are You Christmas – Faith Hill

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The night then moved from the snow-decked outdoors, with Misha’s celebration of the finer qualities of a Winter Wonderland. As snow fell and ice skaters swirled on a frozen lake, the crowd’s imagination was woven into Misha’s seamless vision of a snowy Christmas lakeside scene. A welcome frolic in a frosty forest with artful ice skating and happy melodies really hit the spot for the crowd.

Act Four: Gunner with Babypea, Paul and Jo – I Hate People -Leslie Bricusse (Scrooge the Musical)

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No Christmas would be complete without a grinch to grouse about it, and Gunner played the role ideally, decked out as the classic model – Scrooge himself. Dancing through the settings of the Dickens Christmas Story, Scrooge has never looked more spry, singing in tune with “I Hate People.” There was a lot for the audience to love in this charming, cantankerous romp with the old codger, envisioned to cranky perfection by Gunner.

Act Five: Selene with Yukio and Azure – Carol of the Bells – Christmas Metal Songs

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Selene’s Santa helpers put on a show about how nice it is to be naughty – a paradox that’s dear to the heart of the Elysium Cabaret and that was presented in an exquisite parlor, decked for Christmas. In front of a majestic tree, wreathes and mantle, girls dressed in red corsets and fur trim danced in a way that managed to be both merry and sexy. It was all about fun and frolics, holiday style, and Selene put on a spectacle that didn’t lack in either – or in exquisite detail.

Act Six: Corri with FT, Zach, Ame and Ray – Leroy the Redneck Reindeer – Joe Diffe

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The humor and high spirits continued, taking the audience all the way up to the North Pole, for Corri’s rendition of a little-known Christmas ballad about a redneck reindeer! As Santa and his crew of elves bounced and spun about a terrific depiction of Saint Nick’s famous frozen home, the reindeer in overalls, complete with pickup truck, led the choreography. A fun number through and through, it was a gift for the audience full of cleverness, amazing costuming and remarkable staging.

Act Seven: Eva with Cowgrl, Rosewan, Monavie, Ariel Arrowmint, Nadi and Lexi – Celtic Carol – Lindsey Stirling

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Our holiday revue switched from the redneck to the refined, as Eva’s act took us to a Victorian toy store set in a town from Dickens, for a romp of the toys. Amid giant gift boxes, girls clad in traditional Teutonic dresses danced as playthings come alive. So many of the X-mas hallmarks were present on the stage – gas lamp buildings, falling snow, dancing dolls – bringing us a scene straight from a storybook that had all the delights the audience could hope for.

Act Eight: Ame (Crowd Dance) – Shake Up Christmas (Train), Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays (Pentatonix), Let It Snow/What’s It Gonna Be, Santa (Chicago)

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The stage then shifted, readying for the crowd dance, courtesy of Ame. Upon a wintry field, the audience joined the Elysium Cabaret dancers as one family, and stepped in time to an exotic selection of holiday tunes. Togetherness, gratefulness, glamour – the Elysium Cabaret Christmas show had it all.

We hope to bring you even more spectacular displays and splendid times in the year ahead. You are dear to us, and inspire what we do. May you have only the best of holiday seasons, a merry Christmas and a sensational 2017!

Photos by Storm Wylde, Goddess Shayna and Michael Romani.

Elysium Review December 11 2016 – Hot December Nights

The holidays are in full effect at Elysium Cabaret, as this weekend presented a Winter gala full of fun and festivity. The stage was often frosty, but spirits were warm, as host Paul Woodrunner and hostess Shayna gave everyone a welcome as sweet as a cupcake. Even our gravely DJ, Gunner von Phoenix, sounded jolly as Saint Nick as he introduced each merry act and kept the Yuletide tunes flowing. The audience settled in for a long Winter’s show that was sometimes fantastical, sometimes flamboyant, and always full of fun – even during a toasty trip to a torch-lit dungeon!

Act One: Jo with Seb, Ayita and Maia – Cold December Night – Michael Bublé

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The night began with a merry romp to the Bublé tune, Cold December Night, featuring Jo‘s dance in the snow – and with the snow! Traditional snowmen with stovetop hat and carrot nose danced in this cheery retinue amid falling flakes and frosted fir trees. It was a scene with all the hallmarks of the holiday season and a rousing way to announce a holiday show.

Act Two: Selene with  Carol Bikergrrl /Azure Sharketooth/ Yukio Onna / Cici and Annie- Enter Telephone – Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce vs Metallica

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Characteristic Christmas frolic gave way to goofy fun, as Selene put together a spectacular scene of a Verizon store gone mad, all to the strains of a mash up of Metallica with Lady Gaga’s smash hit, Telephone. In this spot-on replica of a store that many of us will spend far, far too much time in this holiday-shopping season, dancers swept and the scene shifted. With riotous movement and stunning special effects, Selene’s show was truly off the hook!

Act Three: Babypea – Who Wants to Live Forever – Queen

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The greatest gift of all is Heaven itself, and Babypea summoned an image of the celestial realm that managed to be cosmic, critical and compelling all at once. On a stage set with icons of opulence and salvation, Gunner died in a hospital bed, was buried, and rose from this scene of remembrance to dance forever with his beloved Babypea. Betwixt a lavish coffin to a gold cross, a gorgeous dancer in white gauze and her perished lover swept about the stage as if on their bridal day. With shafts of paradise’s light cast about them, the dancers illustrated resurrection and deliverance, showing that Babypea is just as capable of painting a vision of the divine as she is of the profane.

Act Four: JenzZa and the Misfits, with Dulcikate Noel, Phoebe, Love Lefko, Cuddlebug Clowes, Sebastain Bourne, Miny and Rumour Bashir – Baby Likes to Rock It – The Tractors (Misfit’s Toys Custom Mix)

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The Empire Room’s latest special visitors, JenzZa and the Mistfits, rolled an army of toy soldiers onto a stage decked in colossal presents, then swept the crowd away into a foot-stomping dance routine. This squad of nutcrackers and its lead ballerina spun and swirled, truly rocking the audience out of their seats in full-bore holiday style! With energy and artistry, awesome mixes and marvelous special effects, this troupe brought something absolutely special as their gift to The Empire Room’s loyal audience!

Act Five: Corri – Bring it to Pain – Body Count

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No band fits the Christmas spirit like Body Count – and Corri showed it! Elysium Cabaret’s bad-to-the-bone naughty girl hauled the audience into a flame-decked dungeon and put on an erotic routine that had sweat dripping from the stone walls! Sensual gyrations, a sheer costume and a pounding soundtrack made sure that even if it was cold outside, The Empire Room was at the boiling point.

Act Six: Eva with Misha, Selene, Nadi, Cowgrl, Lexi, Melvis, Si and Diamonte – La La La – Shakira

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Scantily clad dancers and evergreen tunes continued as Eva hit the stage with a piping-hot Shakira routine! Plumed with cerulean blue and wearing little else, Eva’s dancers shook it and worked it in front of a sterling silver world map. There was no “fa” to be found in this “la la la,” but joy was certainly spread to all who bore witness to the thrilling spectacle.

Act Seven: Sebastain with Zack, Ray, Paul and Gunner – Shake Santa Shake

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Sebastain crammed the stage chock-a-block with naughty Santas, in this frosty fusion of sexy dance with Christmas celebration. Stripped to the waist, Sebastain and his squad of brawny Saint Nicks shook it for all the nice and naughty ladies in the audience, in a North Pole scene decked with snowy trees, presents and a swanky sleigh. It was tasty gift that mixed Chippendale with Christmas symbols, and got our pulses racing in time for the big finish.

Act Eight: Kyshra (Crowd Dance) – Bang A Gong (T-Rex), Bang Bang (Ariana Grande), Bangarang (Skrillex)

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As the finales go around here, the crowd hit the stage and Kyshra’s choreography made sure things went out with a bang! Her talent for weaving spectral light with crystalline settings served as a beautiful backdrop for “bang” themed tunes. The whole audience was popping – and locking – in celebration together, enjoying a high-energy ending to a high-spirited Winter night!
As DJ Gunner reminded us, this holiday show was but one of many during this special season! The Empire Room loves any excuse to show topless Santas, sexy dead ladies and exploding Verizon stores. More fantasy and fun are in store for the weekends to come, so make sure you sleigh on down, sit on the edge of your seat and brace yourself for a one-of-a-kind Yuletide spectacle to close out our exciting season!

Photos by Goddess Shayna.

Elysium Review, December 3, 2016 – Elysium Fourth Anniversary Show

Elysium Cabaret celebrated its four-year anniversary this Friday – four years of excitement, creativity and dance! The revue presenting a dazzling showcase of choreography, special effects and the best in Second Life animation. Our outstanding host, Paul Woodrunner, and charming hostess, Jilley, entertained the audience as they packed the house, waiting for the show to begin. DJ Gunner von Phoenix got the hype going and the tracks rolling, revving the crowd’s engines with his distinctive growl. Then the curtain rose, the dancers swept into motion and a cavalcade of Winter fantasy, wild sci-fi and top-talent performance art began!

Act One: Ame Starostin with Zach Starostin – Bring Him Home – ThePianoGuys

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As with most creative efforts, the Elysium Anniversary show began with love! A pair of dancers attired in classic ballroom costume swirled and dipped onstage, orchestrated by the seamless choreography of Ame Starostin and her partner, Zach. Their elaborate Baroque hall setting hosted a whole narrative of two lovers courting and coming together in this exquisite composition by one of Elysium’s truly elite talents.

Act Two: Ally Romani – Dance Me to the End of Love – Leonard Cohen

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The show then turned from the romantic to the abstract, with Ally Romani putting on a performance of modern dress, modern dance and modern art that was truly striking. Clad in a tux and sweeping a violin bow about the stage, Ally conducted the audience’s attention around a foggy collection of bunkhouse beds. With a message emblazoned behind her, Ally made a strong statement with her dance about the bold nature of creativity and survival against the odds, even the Holocaust – a fitting act to celebrate our beloved Cabaret!

Act Three: Kyshra – E Nomine – Mala

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Kyshra literally set the stage ablaze as her act opened on an infernal cavern and a demonic dancer, twisting sensuously amid a ring of skulls. This succubus queen arched and writhed as embers danced with her and chains swung above flame-colored crystal. It hardly comes hotter than Kyshra’s dances, and this red-hot number sent the mercury through the roof with its vision of the fire down below!

Act Four: Nadi with Zach, Ame, Krysta and Ray – Love Runs Out – OneRepublic

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The crowd then plunged into grunge as Nadi put on an urban act that was raw, intense and hot as it gets. Flanked by muscled male dancers, Nadi got down in a graffiti-strewn cityscape, thrusting the onlookers right into the heart of the blackboard jungle. It was a heart-pumping, hip-twisting homage to the classic street dances of the modern age – another chapter that fits so well in the canon of Elysium dance imagination.

Act Five: Winnie – Simple Gifts – Allison Krause and Yo Yo Ma

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After hot times in the city, Winnie whisked us away to a sublime setting – a winter wonderland rendered with exquisite detail. At the center of a snowy forest, the artist herself spun and stepped in balletic style, surrounded by a court of deer and darling animals. Married with the heart-moving track, this was a sentimental piece that surely stirred the emotions of the audience in concert with the snowflakes that swirled the stage.

Act Six: Babypea with SoCo, Gunner, Fuki, Wiz, Ame, Zach, Gert and Kyshra – Red Lips (ft. Sam Bruno) – GTA

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The uncanny Babypea commanded the crowd’s attention with an act that was mind-blowing performance art at its best: A pure-white dancer frolicked in a gauzy frock, surrounded by soot-black, bestial dancers. The troupe took the audience from a craggy wilderness into a Cthonian castle of menace and majesty, blending seduction with the sinister like few others can!

Act Seven: Raemida with Rhonda, Shayna, Queenie and Alexis – Into the Night – Santana

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Raemida‘s rousing number brought together a Mediterranean villa, Arabian dancing girl attire and a favorite musician of the Latin world – Santana! Showing off their sleek bodies and smooth movers, Raemida’s dancing girls presented a sight that got heartbeats racing and spurred the senses. As the pounding track and thrilling motion mixed together, the stage was practically on fire.

Act Eight: Jilley with Paul and Seb – Robo Booty – Opiuo

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Jilley never fails to raise the bar with her performances, and this latest act sent it straight into outer space with a stunning sci-fi spectacle. A trio of robotic dancers sliced and spun a set of lightsabers as a techno track took the crowd through a succession of science-fantasy sets. Complete with flashing, foggy special effects, this act truly spoke to the soul of future shock by blowing the crowd’s minds with its high-tech awesomeness.

Act Nine: Eva (Crowd Dance) – I Can’t Drive 55 (Sammy Hagar), Low Rider (War), Life is a Highway (Rascal Flatts)

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Once things had heated to the burning point, it was time for the traditional inferno of dance that closes out each Elysium Cabaret performance – a crowd dance, supplied by Eva this weekend! This one took place in a mechanic’s garage, with the crowd going through a series of dances that hit every speed, from gunning it in top gear to getting groovy at a mellow pace. It really showed off the potential of dance in a way that’s distinctly Elysian – celebrating together!

There was so much to celebrate in this special show: Four years of camaraderie, creative support and spectacular genius. The Elysium Fourth Anniversary show displayed the spectrum of styles – from space opera to schoolyard rock, high fantasy to romantic realism, seasonal splendor to timeless abstraction. The infinite potential of Second Life dance was honored as much as our beloved Cabaret and its fans and family, setting the stage for years to come. At The Empire Room and among the Elysium Cabaret, inspiration springs eternal!

Photos by Goddess Shayna and audience member, Kazuo Thei.

Elysium Interview with Ame Starostin

“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

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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.

Elysium Review November 25th 2016 – Celebrating Thankfulness

Thanksgiving gratitude was served up rich and hot at The Empire Room this weekend! As our esteemed establishment’s proprietor, Paul Woodrunner, calls them, the Elysium Family settled into their seats for a feast of dance and dazzling artistry. Hostess Jilley gave everyone a specially crafted warm welcome at the door, and the audience enjoyed a dance card featuring an assortment of acts from across the grid and many of the Elysium Cabaret favorites. DJ Gunner von Phoenix served a great blend of music throughout the night, which featured comic acts, classic cabaret and some truly ingenious presentations by SL’s elite choreographers

Act One: Babypea with Gunner, Paul, Zach, Ame and Jilly – Baby’s Turkey Song Mix

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Babypea began the Thanksgiving menu of dance with song of sympathy for the turkeys out there. On a traditionally appointed farm, dancers poked fun at the Thanksgiving tradition with dancers clad in feathers and beaks dancing to songs of vegetarian protest. This lively medley making fun of the Thanksgiving meal was a cute and creative kick off for what would prove one of Elysium’s most imaginative shows.

Act Two: Lady C – Get This Party Started – Shirley Bassey

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Lady C turned the turkey trot in a sterling silver soiree, as she cranked up the volume and attitude with a strip tease on a set that screamed of celebration: Champagne bottles, strings of crystal and glasses brimming with bubbly surrounded Lady C as she spun and swayed to the brazen tones of Shirley Bassey. As her strident, swaying motions took her up and down the shining staircase of a silver ballroom, Lady C shed her shimmering garments, finishing the act by standing topless and triumphant at the height of the steps!

Act Three: Corri – Winter Song – Ronan Keating

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Corri celebrated winter’s glory with an act that applied exquisite beauty to its every delicate aspect. Amid a fine drifting of snowflakes, upon a frozen pond snug within a rustic fence, Corri danced as daintily as a ballerina to an ode to the seasons of love. This moving melody about the changing nature of romance stirred the crowd’s hearts as Corri spun upon the ice amid snow-flocked firs, weaving a scene that was no less than a perfect dream of winter.

Act Four: Cowgrl with Rosewan and Eva – Back It Up – Caro Emerald

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Cowgrl heated things up for her next act, with a spot-on jazz dance number. Everything echoed the elements of classic Broadway jazz shows, from the glamorous gowns to the high-kicking heels, the black backdrop with big modern-font, the floating bubbles and frolicking music. It was a celebration of a dance tradition that applied true care and class to the characteristics of that awesome style.

Act Five: Misse Tigerpaw – This Love – Taylor Swift

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Guest Dancer Misse Tigerpaw of Club Image applied much the same exquisite detail to her Thankgiving gift to The Empire Room – a dance tableau that seemed to have every feature painted by a masterful hand. A screen styled like an invitation faded away, revealing a set that sewed together realistically detailed foliage with hand-drawn cut outs and three oversized memento boxes. Atop these boxes, Misse spun and stepped, dancing to a song of love’s happiness and hurts below a suspended arrow. As stray seed pods swirled with ethereal blue light in the wheat field below, the arrow fell at the finale, striking Misse, only to have her circle gracefully to a landing and dance on above a sky of pen-and-ink tears. It was truly magic to behold!

Act Six: Eva with Misha Selene, Nadi, Cowgrl and Lexi – Together in Electric Dreams – Mechanical Black

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Eva showed that her creativity keeps pushing boundaries, as she brought artistic and technological innovation together in a celebration of the social powers of the internet! As the curtain opened on a tableau that looked like a series of chat windows open on a computer’s desktop – topped off by a laboratory scene. As the song commenced, the dancers “uploaded” from their chat window profile photos onto the laboratory, where common clothes were cast aside for sensual sci-fi outfits and a wild dance was enjoyed by all. It was an extraordinarily crafted image of the SL experience, brought to life with symbolism, custom props and some spot on choreography!

Act Seven: Jilley – Thankful – Josh Groban

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For the holiday night’s final act, Jilley drove home the theme of ‘thankfulness’ with a song about gratitude and a stage set for beauty. She mixed an ultra-modern setting with costume majesty, striking choreography with special effects, to produce a truly stellar scene. It was a gorgeous abstract ode to an essential quality of humankind and a spectacular finale for a show that truly showed off SL dance talent!

Act Eight: Ame (Crowd Dance) – Good Grief, Rise, This Wheels’ on Fire

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As for the crowd dance to close out the night, Ame’s was second to none. With variety like a Thanksgiving menu, it conducted the crowd through a spectrum of musical and dance styles. Good times and a great crowd closed it out in a characteristic way that spoke to a key element of the Thanksgiving spirit – coming together as family to celebrate!
This week’s stellar show was a true Thanksgiving event in many ways: A gathering where friends and family contributed their very best to the night’s menu. This gala occasion showcased humor and heartache, beauty and burlesque, celebration and cyber culture. It reminded us that we have so much to be thankful for in life – and so much ahead to enjoy together during this epic holiday season at The Empire Room!

Photos courtesy of Goddess Shayna.

Elysium Review November 11, 2016 – Honoring Our Heroes

Elysium put on a display of great devotion to a very important holiday, Veterans Day, November 11 2016 in The Empire Room. The routines were respectful remembrances and sentimental dedications to those who’ve served and to lost friends alike. DJ Gunner von Phoenix, a brother in arms and staunch advocate of veterans, went above and beyond in his duties by calling for a daily thanks to be rendered to any veterans the audience may encounter. This moving missive to the crowd was well received, just as the crowd were themselves. Our hostess, Jilley, made it a point to warmly welcome all who entered with aplomb and kindness, and Paul Woodrunner served up some drinks and chit chat as the show went on. The spirits of the audience were surely moved by the dances they beheld – many of which were deeply personal and divinely orchestrated.

Act One: Corri with FT – Holding Out For A Hero – Bonnie Tyler

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Our celebration of heroes began with an epic routine by Corri, set in a burning urban landscape. As a lone dancer danced passionately to the rock opera of Jim Steinman’s Bonnie Tyler hit, Holding Out for a Hero, drama was on display.

Act Two: Ally Romani – Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms

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Amid desolation and destruction that was reminiscent of the 9-11 Ground Zero wreckage, Ally Romani‘s romantic piece hallowed a personal hero in her life – her father. The choreographer danced in center stage, wearing combat togs with blades drawn. Lit by red, white and blue, this glorious scene mixed romance and patriotism into a routine both dignified and sensual.

Act Three: Jilley with Paul, Wiz, Ray, Zach, Michael, Rory, FT and Taylor – Men in Black – Will Smith

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Heroes that save us from aliens was Jilley‘s subject – the Men in Black from the classic comedy-action franchise danced in a synchronized fashion in their hyper-technological headquarters. These suited gents have never looked swankier!

Act Four: Sebastain Bourne with Jo, Ayita, Lily and Nadi – I’m Your Boogie Man – KC and the Sunshine Band

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The dance card turned from heroes to villains for Sebastain‘s routine, as the Big Bad from Nightmare Before Christmas – Oogie Boogey – had his time in the spotlight. Surrounded by ectoplasmic backup dancers on his infamous roulette wheel, the spectral green boogeyman got down in high-funk style!

Act Five: Zach Starostin – Labrinth – Jealous

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A somber and moving piece was at the center of tonight’s show, and rightly so: The Starostins produced a piece to honor a friend lost to suicide. After a heart-gripping monologue about the young man who inspired the piece, Zach danced atop a bridge in a heavenly garden, in sync with an angel floating below the still waters. Elysium has scarcely witnessed a more personal and powerful homage, with every detail a work of art shaped with care for a dear friend.

Act Six: Jo with Sebastain – Will O’ Wisps – Brandon Feitcher

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The next act had no less a bucolic setting, but was far more fantastical – a garden that could only exist in a storybook, with luminescent plants and drifting sparkles. The center of the dance was a Will O’ Wisp, Jo, who soon found her own hero in the form of a Huntsman. The pair, clad in silvery clothing and encircled by a court of wild beasts, cavorted with passion above a starry night that was straight from Van Gogh’s imagination, making it a truly glorious tableau about the most romantic archetypes of heroism.

Act Seven: Babypea with Fuki, Kyshra, BB and Sorcha – Mannequin Factory – Porcelain Black

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Is the female form itself something heroic and holy? Babypea certainly made that statement, with a piece devoted to the allure of the feminine shape. As sterling silver figures danced and posed in a spectrum of movements that ranged from coy to catty, lighting effects flashed around that would put a firework show to shame. The setting evolved into an entire factory of these faceless, shapely mannequins, striking a note of cultural commentary and delivering a spectacular climax. I was honored to be one of her dancers and blessed by the best birthday present ever – being on stage as part of the Elysium family!

Act Eight: Ame – Requiem for a Soldier – Band of Brothers Soundtrack

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Focus then fixed where it truly belonged for the Veterans Day finale – a routine devoted to the brothers in arms within the armed services. Set in a gorgeous park and strewn with falling leaves, Ame‘s dance featured a slideshow of veterans through a history of conflict. It was a marvelous message of gratitude to soldiers, sailors and air force across the world, made resonant by Gunner’s gracious urging that we should do all we can to honor the vets we meet in our daily lives.

Act Nine: Crowd Dance by Kyshra – Brick House 2003 (Rob Zombie), Fat Bottomed Girls (Queen), Bootylicious (Destiny’s Child)

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The crowd dance by Kyshra brought the show to a rousing conclusion. The audience piled onto the stage before an abstract background that was glamorous enough for a Broadway production, and danced as one to a roster of songs that sang strong about sexy ladies.

Honoring fallen friends and the sacrifice of the armed services, Elysium presented a show with dignity and grace. Their holiday series continues on with more special events in the future. Be sure to be among the seats as the year finishes out with some of the biggest acts of the season!

Photos by Sorcha and Storm Wylde.

Elysium Review, November 4 2016 – Bad is Good

The Elysium Cabaret bid farewell to a month of happiness and horror with a show devoted to how it was pretty good to be bad. Hosts Jilley and Paul Woodrunner gave great welcome to a packed house while DJ Gunner von Phoenix conducted the acts – and a group of dancers! – through one spectacle after another. Whether the dancers’ story was one of naughtiness, romance against the odds or laughter in the face of bitterness, it was a night that had the audience upright on the edge of their seats at The Empire Room!

Act One: Diawa with Yougao Destiny – Flesh Without Blood – Grimes

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Diawa’s act put the mood squarely in the pink, with a super sexy number featuring starlets in blush-colored skirts. As they leapt around a mesmerizing stage of abstract shapes, it brought a certain hypnotic quality to this kinky number. The choreography was as smooth as latex and as hot as the pink that pervaded the stage!

Act Two: Shayna – Veil of Tears – Beats Antique

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In an mystical garden grown from the imagination of ancient Egypt, Elysium’s resident goddess, Shayna, danced as an avatar of a spirit from that bygone mythology. Surrounded by a select court of animals from the Nile Kingdom, Shayna moved with grace and majesty within a tableau that was a grand replica of an Egyptian tomb. It was a stirring ode to humanity’s first lore of resurrection, raising both the spirits and the senses of the crowd.

Act Three: Ariel with Devlin, Rhonda, Nara and Raemida – Too Darn Hot – Ella Fitzgerald

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An island tribal romp set inside a stage of burning orange light showed off Ariel’s talents to an audience that surely felt the heat! As women in primitive costumes of skin and bone ground, spun and thrust on the stage, the backdrop showed a blazing sunset with a lonely sailboat, overlooking this raunchy rite.

Act Four: Nadi with Paul Woodrunner, Eva Harley, Ame Starostin and Zach Starostin – Don’t You Wish It Was True – John Fogerty

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Nadi’s routine lifted spirits with an homage to Pixar’s ‘Up’! As the cantankerous old man danced in a pixel-perfect replica of his house, a troupe of kids arrived to bedevil him with their own dance. A merry nod to tricks and treats for this past month definitely had laughter and joy rising to The Empire Room’s rafters.

Act Five: SoCo with Sebastain, Lily and Fuki – Ashes of Eden – Breaking Benjamin

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Soco framed a scene of heart-wrenching romance within a macabre setting, bringing the audience along for a narrative of lovers within a grim environment. The stage took the form of a glorious graveyard garden, complete with moving statues, waterfalls and weeping angels, as two romantics danced together. Both sad and splendid, morbid and moving, Soco’s act was as profound in its emotions as it was perfect in its design.

Act Six: Babypea – In These Shoes – Kirsty MacColl-Ibizarose

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Latin passion in a hard, foreboding atmosphere was what Babypea’s number was all about. Featuring a dancer in a scantily tailored Flamenco outfit, this scene was set in a grim, dark desert where the only life had thorns to it. It evoked notions of how love is often a matter of survival against the odds, and was as sleek in its motion as it was rich in defiant romance!

Act Seven: Monavie – Devil in Me – Gin Wigmore

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Mona‘s act was hot as Hell this week, with an infernal scene that turned power exchange on its head and had temperatures rising to the peak of the thermometer! Clad as a sensuous, demonic figure, the choreographer herself took us in a dark lair lit by red candles and a hand cupping a flame, where a ruggedly handsome man was bound helpless on a chair. This scene of temptation and agony was a thrill to behold in every regard – action, design and costume weaving together into a tableau of eroticism at its most hellish.

Act Eight: Gunner von Phoenix with Kyshra, Minty, Jilley and Fuki – Girls Want To Have Fun – Cindy Lauper

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In a penthouse hung with erotic portraits and opulent furnishing, Gunner von Phoenix conducted a troupe of ladies in lingerie for an act that was classy and erotic! Arranged in a class dance line, these lovely models lunged and swayed to their conductor, composing a routine that raised the temperature of The Empire Room to the top floor! There was plenty of fun to be had for these girls under Gunner’s command, with a sexy routine dedicated to the finest in good times – penthouse living.

Act Nine: Crowd Dance by Ame (Captain) – Bad; Bad Romance; Bad Blood

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Ame’s crowd dance was bad, bad, bad – in the best of ways! Stepping and swaying to a series of “bad” themed songs, it was a Halloween-time homage to a month where it’s nice to be a little bit nasty. The set was strewn with almost as many dancers and fallen leaves, dressed in a gorgeous seasonal scene of the leaves changing.

 

Some things never change, year round, and the excellence of Elysium is one of them! As October gave way to November and we enter the holiday season, The Empire Room will host some the most exciting shows of the Elysium Cabaret season. Be sure to grab your seats in what will surely be a packed house for the holidays weekends to come!

 

Photos by Storm and Sorcha Wylde.