Friday, 21 November 2014

The Dawn of Dance Recital -- Wherein the Students demonstrate to Babypea what they have learned!

It took a while to come down off the ceiling after the amazing weekend of the Dance Galaxy at LEA12 in which the Dawn of Dance students strutted their stuff for 70 people who filled the sim  to capacity.

But now I can look back and share a few highlights of the experience.   24 students started in the class, 17 stayed the course and 13 danced in the Dawn of Dance recital.  While not everyone felt ready to perform a solo, 4 of us did while 2 others danced a duet and 2 more danced in a group dance with some of their friends and all 14 (including Baby) danced in an energetic group dance choreographed by Babypea von Phoenix, our wonderful teacher and coach.

Roni at the Dawn of Dance recital - photo by (Roni) Ronda Saunders

Roni performed a lively electro-swing dance to The Swing Phenomenon by Bart&Baker, featuring Nicolle Rochelle, with a very minimalist black and white high tech set which she built.

Jo (JMB) Balogh at the Dawn of Dance recital - photo by JMB Balogh

I knew from the start that I wanted to perform a flamenco dance and I found Gipsy by Jesse Cook, some wonderful dances from A&M, poses from oOo studios and put them all together, with a outdoor courtyard set I built.

Anashra Dubois at the Dawn of Dance - photo by Aubreya Joszpe

Anashra Dubois danced to Fireflies by Owl City and she built one of the prettiest sets seen that weekend, with her lovely costume completing the effect.

Snow Mistwood at the Dawn of Dance  - photo by Babypea von Phoenix

Snow put our hearts in our mouths as she danced to Come fly with me - Frank Sinatra, along the length of an airplane in the sky and down along the wings!

Maia and Aytia at the Dawn of Dance  - photo by Babypea von Phoenix
After a musical introduction from Swan lake, Maia and Aytia, in their black and white tutus, changed pace and danced to Radioactive by Imagine Dragons.  Their set of moving islands was very innovative.

Empressdyme and Nasiyah with friends at the Dawn of Dance  - photo by Babypea von Phoenix

Empressdyme and Nasiyah invited some friends along to dance with them to  Shake it off. Their wonderful set even had rain with puddles!

Finale dance at the Dawn of Dance - photo by Babypea von Phoenix
Dancers:  Babypea, Cherri, Ruby, Barb, Jewel, Maarah, Anashara,
  Nasiyah, Jo, Roni, Empressdyme
Snow, Maia, Aytia
With her great generosity of spirit,  Babypea wanted every one of her students to experience performing at the Dawn of Dance recital, so she put together a group finale for 14 of us, which of course included her!  It wasn't easy on such a small stage but she managed it brilliantly with a high energy dance which had us popping up on the stage in groups at various times.   She even included the shadow dancer effect which everyone loves.    

Roni and I had to find our movers by camming under the stage and sitting on them.  This was rather daunting and due to lag Roni's didn't rez for quite a while and she was in panic mode for a brief period.   But eventually 14 dancers were shaking their booties to Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox's Sisters are Doin' for Themselves, which Baby had kept as a surprise for us till the day.

Dance performances are but fleeting moments in time but they live on in our memories and can be captured not only in photographs but also in videos.   Fortunately Renaissance woman Roni has mastered that art too and she made videos of her performance and mine on our dance platforms before the day.

Miss Ronda Saunders electroswinging to The Swing Phenomenon 
by Bart&Baker feat. Michelle Rochelle

Miss JMB Balogh dances Flamenco to Gipsy by Jesse Cook

Thanks to everyone who made that day so special for me:  to Roni, my dearest friend, who shared the whole experience of learning to create and perform a dance with me, to my fellow classmates and dancers, and to our inimitable DJ Gunner von Phoenix.   But most of all thanks go to Babypea von Phoenix who created the whole idea of the classes and the recital and showed endless patience with her scatty students as they floundered their way through a priceless learning experience, culminating in a truly enjoyable performance which was a triumph for everyone!

On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.

~George Gordon, Lord Byron

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Dawn of Dance - Wherein the Queen of Dance shares her secrets with the Dance Noobies

One of the things I love about Second Life is that even after seven years plus,  I can learn something new every day I am inworld.

So when BabypeaVonPhoenix Bikergrrl, one of the acknowledged Queens of Dance in Second Life, announced she was giving a 6-week series of classes, The Dawn of Dance, on creating SL dance performances Roni and I signed up immediately.   What a golden opportunity for a couple of dance groupies!  Not only would we learn to put together a complete dance performance but we would actually have the opportunity to show what we learned in a "dance recital" at the end of it all.

BabypeaVonPhoenix Bikergrrl in front of her class of dance students at Dance Queens Centre
It turns out that Baby is one of the most organized people you could wish to meet in Second Life, which of course one has to be, to create and perform as often as she does with her own company of Elysium Cabaret Dancers as well as Guerilla Burlesque and a myriad of other companies and troupes around the grid.  So she was very well prepared indeed when she met with her initial 24 students in the classroom at the Dance Queens Centre.   

Baby spoke in voice but followed her very detailed and comprehensive notecards which she later gave to everyone.   However there was plenty of opportunity for the students to ask questions in local chat at any time along the way.  The Dawn of Dance classes were for people who were brand new to dance performance and designed to provide a solid foundation to help them get started in the wonderfully creative, artistic world of Second Life dance.  Not only would Baby share what she had learned over the past few years but she had arranged for others whom she considered experts in costuming, particles and stage effects to share their expertise with her dance noobies.   As she said in her first notecard:

 A candle loses no light by lighting another candle, thus we are happy to share what we know with others.  However, we are not teachers and are not all-knowing.  The adventure of SL dance is that the learning never stops.  We are also still learning.  Thus the information we share is not all there is to know.

The first class provided an introduction to choosing music and dance animations and the intricacies of the various dance huds which make life easier for the dance performer as well as the amazing Spot on choreography system.  Next class covered building and decorating sets with everything that entails.   Baby said she had no notion about building until she began to dance and learned all she knows about it now, which is not inconsiderable I might add, by initially taking apart ready made sets and props and she learned by doing!

For our third class on costuming SexyS Quintessa came to share her vast knowledge on the subject.   SexyS has been creating burlesque, comedy and art performance dance acts in SL since 2009.  She is an award-winning dancer in both lives, and an active member of Dance Queens. She dances in Guerilla Burlesque, Lady Garden Cabaret, Elysium Cabaret, and is Director of A&M MOCAP Maniacs.

SexyS in all her costume glory!   

Baby gave our fourth class on the topic of emoting which is one of the foundations of Gor dancing although it is used to set the mood or further the story line in other types of dance.  I can't say that I am a big fan of emoting since I tend to watch the dance rather than local chat, but recently Lat "Yummy" Lovenkraft wrote a post on the Dance Queen's blog called the Return of the Emote? which showed another point of view.

Misse Tigerpaw, who dances with Club Image and is a specialist in particles gave a very comprehensive lecture on the making and using of particles in dance performance.  Misse also shares her knowledge on her particle website which is both in Japanese and English.  She uses particles quite subtly here in the Raven on youTube.

For our last instructional class Baby had arranged for Klark Harvy of the Spirit Light Dance Company to demonstrate the use of stage effects.  He took us to a special demonstration area at the Spirit Light Dance Academy where the group give classes in all aspects of dance performance in Second Life.  We watched a video of the Company's performance of Tron which Klark had choreographed and which illustrated some of the stage effects for which the Company is renowned. He then proceeded to give us the details of how they were created.  While the amount of information was rather overwhelming for dance noobies, Klark introduced us to many of the "possibilities" in this area and when and when not to use them.

I have to say that taking these Dawn of Dance classes and creating a dance and set for the "graduation" dance recital has been one of the most fun things I have ever done in Second Life and I think Roni would agree with me.

This Saturday, November 15th, at 3pm SL time, some of Baby's students get to strut their stuff on stage as part of the Dance Galaxy festival on LEA12 here.  Yes Roni and I will be taking part.

Thank you Babypea for the opportunity you gave to the lucky students who signed up for the Dawn of Dance classes and for all the information you so generously shared with us.   In Baby's own words and which she uses to sign all her communications :

Dance with Passion!