Kyshra Rhiadra is one of the most diverse choreographers and dancers that Elysium can boast among its troupe – she renders dance hall music, ballads and classic selections through her artistic command of Second Life’s technology. But two elements stand consistent in Kyshra’s work – their attention to the highest level of quality in motion, costuming and set design, and their devotion to the music they bring to life so vividly. She is also among the most humble and enigmatic of our artists, making it a natural choice for our interview series to begin with an Elyisum Interview with Kyshra Rhiadra.
What inspires the ideas for your dances?
For the most part, listening to music. I hear something and it starts as a little “hey…this is neat. I could do….” and it just takes off from there. Music and dance for me go hand in hand. One leads to the other in an endless loop.
What first inspired you to pursue dance in Second Life and what was your very first dance?
I fell into dance by accident. I was looking for some place to go and have some fun, and ran across a theater that showed movies. The owners also said they had burlesque shows every week. So, I signed up to be a cigarette girl – a hostess – in a cute little dress. Only, the first show that I was supposed to go see, I ended up dancing in. It was called ‘Spanish Nights’ and I was in this very elaborate black mermaid cut gown and big, feathery fans. I knew nothing about dances or building sets or choreography. But, somehow it all worked out.
Your dances are usually very sexy. How does sexuality express itself through your dance?
For me, life is sensual in nature, and by that I mean that we experience the world around us via our senses. Touch, taste, sound, sight…I believe that in order to truly live, once can’t cut oneself off from those things. For me, the body is spiritual in nature and it’s something to be celebrated – all shapes, all sizes, all the things that we are and do. Including our sexuality. Dance expresses all of those, and to me it’s an incredibly intimate experience to dance. I try to engage all sense and emotions at one time or another to keep the people involved and engaged.
What part of yourself finds a voice through your dances?
In RL, I’m very shy. I was never a popular person or one of the in crowd. I always sort of walked on my own path. What I discovered with dance is that everyone, if they’re truly dancing, expresses that path. Who they are, what they see themselves as. It’s a method to communicate without speaking. Sometimes we have voices that are stifled for reasons that we may not be entirely aware of. But, dance, for me, lets me speak what I sometimes can’t say.
You have a distinctive name. Where did it come from and how did you choose it?
I use variations of it in a lot of different games. Originally I went by Kishandra in a completely unrelated game. That was too long for here, at the time I actually joined Second Life, so I played around and came up with Kyshra. At the time, when you entered a first name, you were presented with a list of last names, and this one just sort of sounded right.
What does being a part of Elysium give you, as a dancer and choreographer?
I spend a lot of time alone in RL. My family is several states away, though we’re still close. I can log into Elysium and find another kind of home and family that shares my ups and downs and doesn’t judge who I am or what I do. I get to be me here, rather than putting on a face or presenting myself as other people think I should.
Your profile mentions your love of reading and writing. How does that speak through your dances?
When I first started dancing, emoting was a pretty large part of what I spent hours working on for my dances. As dance has evolved in SL, some areas moved away from that style of dance, but it’s still buried there. When I create a dance, I try to tell a story. Sometimes, I’ll write down notes, just like I used to for my emotes, to flesh out as I repeatedly listen to the music. Then, instead of creating the story with words like I used to, I create it with the sets, costuming, and animations.
What are your goals as an artist? Tell us what’s coming next for your fans!
Wow. I still fall back to “…I have fans?” I want to continue to learn new things to bring even more entertaining sets to people. I think it’s important that we have an effect on our audience, whether that’s making them laugh, or cry, or, yes, turn them on a little. [Kyshra smiles]
I also hope to inspire people to reach out and find their own method of expressing themselves, the true self that they have inside. There’s nothing more beautiful, to me, than seeing a person figure out “Yes! This is me.” If I plant those seeds, then they can grow.
Kyshra can be found onstage at Elysium nearly every weekend through our latest season. We thank her for her time, and hope you enjoyed meeting her. Next week, our interview series continues with another Elysium mainstay who manages our troupe with humility and grace – Wiz Nirvana.