"La Performance" - An Interview with Artistic Director Jie Loon
‘Free’-moving SL dance performances combine animations with improvisation
by Lora Constantine (Second Life Herald)
Austrian-based avatar Jie Loon founded the “La Performance” dance troupe on Second Life out of a love for performance and dance in real life. “La Performance”, in Jie Loon’s own words, tries to “interpret songs and transport mood of modern music… use possibilities [on SL] to do something new.”
In Jie’s view, typical dance, in a virtual world without advanced puppetry controls, is “a bit like roboting… you sit on a ball … and move.” That’s certainly the stereotypical view of a Second Life dance scene. However, the challenge when creating art in dance here would be creating an artform that both embraces this limitation and develops from it.
According to Jie, “Dancing is an expression of feelings… now the difficulty is that you cannot express feelings in sitting on a dance ball or in using an animation… In [reality], the creator of a dance anim or a gesture is the ‘leader.’ He/she does the choreography and dancer only clicks on and use a prefab anim.” But, this prevents the dancer from expressing their art.
Jie’s innovation is in her creation of the technique of “’Free’-moving”, which integrates premade dance animations with a live flavor, and gives the dancer more freedom in creating the art of the dance, “I wanted to be able to express something in dancing… not play anims that others had done before… ‘Free’-moving takes an anim as basis of movement and combines with improvisation. You can say we try to ‘go’ with this anim; we ‘expand’ the prefab moving free in direction we want.” Months of training on a grid-formation stage with two rehearsals a week are required, but, according to Jie, it all starts with a song, “Basis of all dance is music; I try to interpret… choose a song with good rhythm and good mood to have a basis for expression. The anim I use as basis has to fit its rhythm to this song and give possibilities to move in the mood… I want to use human skills of dancers who are able to express feelings by moving.”
In the spirit of live performance, a “La Performance” show is essentially an experience for both dancer and audience. Although much time is put in creating this endeavor, Jie created the group to “have fun and do nice and positive things and transport positive mood.”
Unlike Ballet Pixele, La Performance does not attempt to tell stories like traditional ballets, but tries to create a new performance with the experience of each show.
The diverse and international troupe functions entirely from donations, from clothing to website to venue. With humble starts in a sandbox, “La Performance” has moved six times before finally settling down in their skybox venue in the Shakespeare and Primting island sims. The troupe’s opening performance was called “The Thing About Love.” The current season performance of “You Are So Beautiful” plays every Sundays at 2 PM SL Time, http://SLurl.com/secondlife/Shakespeare/186/28/582