Late last week I caught up with a few dancers from the Dance Queens dance festival, currently underway here in SL. There are several acts over two weekends, showcasing various acts and dances, that (while not my thing in particular) should be quite the spectacle to visit, given the sheer amount of effort put into putting on such a thing. I caught up with Medora Chevalier and Trill Zapatero, and sat down for a little interview when they had some free time in their schedules.
Medora Chevalier: "Hi Xymbers"
Xymbers Slade waits for things to rez in...
Medora Chevalier: "This is the staging made by Trill Zapatero, based on
her split screen and SL9B build - the Apocalypse will not be televised."
Xymbers Slade: "Not bad (smile)."
Medora Chevalier: "It's beautiful (smile)."
Xymbers Slade: "So this is where the dancing's going to be then? (smile)"
Chevalier: "Call this a staging! No - it is over on the sim for the
Dance Queens Festival... different acts are at different places over
this weekend and next."
Xymbers Slade: "Well, that answers my next question then, I was going to
ask when it was being held. Is it all interpretative dance, or just a
simple social gathering?"
Medora Chevalier: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohZI4XRY-bwdDRldi1sMkhTVl9wOTJfQlQ3NEZIdHc&pli=1#gid=0 , "Interpretive."
Xymbers Slade leafs through the schedule ... "Neat stuff, for sure. How long have you been doing this sort of thing?"
Medora Chevalier: "Well as dancers this is sheer luxury working with an
artist of Trill's stature, and the wonderful collaborative music of Jana
Kyomoon & Junivers Stockholm. I've been doing dance choreography
for shows since the Rings with Carp in 2008."
Trill Zapatero: "And the WALL, and Alien Bolero 2 years ago, that was a
major big time extravanganza!" ( blushes) , "we've been friends since
Medora Chevalier: "Trill is a huge inspiration!"
Trill Zapatero: "Medora is a huge inspiration!"
Xymbers Slade: "Dance was always lost on me, I'll admit, I take it
Trill's far more well known then, or is a big name in this? Color me
Trill Zapatero: "I brag about her to everyone."
Medora Chevalier: "Well, Trill has been a well known artist for ever in SL."
Trill Zapatero: "Trill spends too much time online."
Xymbers Slade: "I think we all spend too much time online. (grin)"
Medora Chevalier: "Well I didn't really choreograph it, but I did
perform... and Follow the Light - big live music and particle show with
dancing with Junivers again."
Trill Zapatero: "That was probably one of the most amazing happenings ever in SL."
Medora Chevalier: "We like extravaganzas (smile)."
Trill Zapatero: "Yesss, with all kinds of spectacle and particles."
Medora Chevalier: "Well, Trill has been building for a long time for split screen - how long did it take you Trill?"
Trill Zapatero: "This is a modified part of that build, that took me about 2 months and some."
Medora Chevalier: "Jana and Juni have been building up their collection of collaborative music over the last year."
Trill Zapatero: "But modifying this didn't take that long."
Medora Chevalier: "And I choreographed over about 3 weeks."
Xymbers Slade nods, "Always nice to 'build on the shoulders of giants'... or at least stuff already established... (smile)."
Medora Chevalier: "But Bolero - Ravel arranged Stockholm - that took me about 3 weeks to choreograph originally."
Trill Zapatero: "Well the theme really fit what Medora had in mind."
Xymbers Slade: "So what are you currently up to? I did hear something
about this Dance Queens thing. And what's next after this? Do you have
something in mind?"
Medora Chevalier: "Well it's a dance festival."
Medora Chevalier: "But all of us like work that has a message."
Xymbers Slade: "Aha, so something with morals then? (smile)"
Medora Chevalier: "And the message for this is, that when civilization
collapses under the weight of the banking and ecological and injustice
crises, there will still be beauty, humanity and love."
Xymbers Slade: "There's an 'Occupy' joke in there somewhere but I'm not going to be the one to make it."
Medora Chevalier: "The important things are not those we buy but those we give."
Trill Zapatero: "And make!"
Medora Chevalier: "It goes beyond any single campaign and to the heart of what it is to be human."
Xymbers Slade: "Are you expecting large turnout for this?"
Medora Chevalier: "Well I guess we would like to have a full audience."
Trill Zapatero: "A show for friends."
Medora Chevalier: "Though the time is quite early for our usual fans."
Trill Zapatero: "40 is our capacity."
Xymbers Slade nods...
Medora Chevalier: "They know that we always dance and create for change.
The show is called Dance for Change. We believe that the connections
between people of different nations, ages, races, languages in this
space is how we build positive connections... a web of light."
Xymbers Slade: "What's the toughest part of doing it all? The one
necessary part that needs to be done but makes you go 'we could do
without this if we cut corners' ?" ... Although I get the sense you
don't cut corners at all, with the amount of work I'm seeing here in the
Medora Chevalier: "Well - I guess getting everything blended together in harmony."
Trill Zapatero: "Are we any where near 'minimalists' ?"
Chevalier: Choosing the dances well - there are over 100 for 45
minutes... and making sure the dancers place themselves where they
complement the build."
Trill Zapatero: "Minimalism is so last week."
Xymbers Slade: "Do you program your own dances in or do you hire other help to work with that?"
Xymbers Slade: Xymbers Slade doesn't know the first thing about dances/animations.
Medora Chevalier: "We use dances from the mocap studios in SL, but I
choreograph them all and I always include some sky dancing and
particles... part of the magic of special SL art - not just a copy of
Xymbers Slade nods
Medora Chevalier: "Of course there's always some fingers crossed that the tech gremlins leave us in peace!"
Xymbers Slade: "Are you planning on doing anything bigger, like going
more than one sim and broadcasting from sim to sim? Maybe for the
Medora Chevalier: "Well yes I'd like to..."
Trill Zapatero: "How many sims did you guys use for the WALL?"
Medora Chevalier: "In the past for the Wall and the Rings we were loaned
4 sims as the audience was big enough. But that was when the education
institutes had more in-world sims. 40 is small."
Xymbers Slade: "Oh wow, that was what, 2008, 2009?"
Medora Chevalier: "Yes, 2008, but then it was revived and we have a new
rock opera that will launch in September, so this is like a nice
refresher before that."
Xymbers Slade: "A rock opera? Can't say I've heard of a blending of rock
and opera as a genre. Maybe I'll slip by and take a look, then."
Medora Chevalier: "Well like Tommy, it tells a story using songs as a narrative."
Xymbers Slade: "Ok, last question on my little list, what do you hope people bring home from all these dances? (smile)"
Medora Chevalier: "Hope. Hope that even in the depths of the worst
crisis our planet and people have ever faced we can use our creativity
and our love across the world to pull through and live a better life in
Xymbers Slade: "In these times, hope is something in short supply, I've
noticed. Given the time and amount of energy expended into building
this, I bet you'll be more than successful (smile)."
Medora Chevalier: "We hope so - Trill, Jana, Juni - and all the dancers,
We all believe in that and we represent an internationalism: Trill from
Canada, Szavanna from South Africa, Sofia from Portugal, me in the UK,
Dove and Angelique in the USA, Juni in Sweden. But all in all its our
gift to those who come along, given with love and hope. So many
countries, and we have to plan around time zones, languages, chat lag
and typos, etc."
Xymbers Slade: "Rare that I see that kind of co-op anymore, in SL or
real life, honestly. It's a nice little 'global effort' you have here
The schedule can be found at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohZI4XRY-bwdDRldi1sMkhTVl9wOTJfQlQ3NEZIdHc&pli=1#gid=0.
If you wish to see what kind of dances and things are being put on. Go
show them your support and tell 'em I sent you (smile). Dancing isn't my
thing personally, so I'm not going to give it a dragon hoard rating,
it'd just go right over my head.