Sometimes it seems that there can be only two types of people in Second Life – those who adore the ZeroG SkyDancers, and those who have not seen their stupendous performances yet.
Describing their productions is difficult. One can speak of a fusion of light, colour, forms, fluidity, movement, of rising to impossible heights, on the power and potency of the music that seems to draw together disparate elements … but simply, to appreciate this spectacle, this artistic triumph … you have to see it. And now you can – on this week’s Designing Worlds. We’re inviting our audience to join us early in the Northpoint Studio at 1pmSLT, so that they can be transported to the Skydancers’ area and learn how they can not simply watch the show, but also take part in an amazing interactive experience.
The SkyDancers themselves move through the air, sometimes floating gracefully, sometimes darting like quicksilver yet it flashes of brilliant, radiant colour, moving through an elegant, mysterious world that we are permitted to glimpse and, perhaps, to join in a quest to give light and life to our own wings.
The SkyDancers are the brainchild of DanCoyote, in real life the artist DC Spensley, and in both lives known as DC. He has been making and exhibiting his work since the mid 1980s. Frequently considered an interdisciplinary artist with a keen interest in the critical significance and cultural value of art in contemporary society, he was invited by curator James Morgan of the CADRE Arts Laboratory and Ars Virtua Gallery in Second Life to appear in the first exhibition of Ars Virtua in Second Life.
“I logged in a month before the show date to get oriented in Second Life and felt instantly at home,” he says.
In fact, you might say he had been preparing for virtual worlds without even knowing it. While producing physical works in material gallery spaces in real life, he was also producing another body of digital work which he characterises as being not quite suitable for printing, too rich for the web of that moment and not suitable for TV.
“This work happened before there was a venue to share it so I had a huge backlog of work that found a perfect home in Second Life,” he says. “I feel like a native born to work in this virtual space.”
DC is now the creator, producer and director of the SkyDancers show. “I bring everyone together, assign roles, write scripts and technical specifications, fund-raise, recruit talent, design build the sets and partner with collaborators and contractors to realize the broader picture,” he explains.
In recent shows, ZeroOne Paz (the composer), ZenMondo Wormser (scripter and code poet – and, incidentally, the deviser of the wonderful Prim Perfect store metrics tool), and Anhinga Chaika (assistant director) have been close collaborators. In addition, the noted architect Scrope Cleaver has assisted by building the seating system that allows the audience to be wafted effortlessly through the air in association with the movements of the narrative, lifting to incredible heights nearing the ceiling of what is possible in Second Life … and certainly goes well beyond what is possible in real life!
But at the core of the production are the SkyDancers themselves.
“The SkyDancer team is a very tight and close knit family,” says DC, “an incredible group of talented and generous hearts. I can never repay the contribution of the performers who work so hard on the show. Their hard work challenges me to do my job better and humbles me because they always match my efforts with such enthusiasm and dedication.”
And the response of the SkyDancers is equally enthusiastic.
“Taking part in a performance is much like an RL performance,” says Lina Lageos, who has appeared in all but the first of the productions. “We get nervous and hope to do our best, and hope that Second Life cooperates! Then it’s a rush to land in the audience at the end and hear their amazement and appreciation for our hard work.”
“It is honestly moving and emotional,” says Pielady Smalls, who has been with the show for two seasons. “The plot is not always obvious to the audience, but it gives us a context to our choreography.”
“It’s exhilarating!” says Wytchwhisper Sadofsky, who is in her first season. “Once you achieve the zone it’s like riding a wave till its done. I absolutely love it. My team is awesome! Everyone accepts each other for who they are and we are all unique individuals. DC is great to work for and has a wonderful vision!”
“Taking part in a performance is indescribable really,” agrees Talulah Bancroft. “Imagine your first day in Second Life … now imagine knowing everything you know now on that first day … now throw in some rainbows, fairies, cotton candy and dolphins and that’s pretty much what it feels like.”
So join us – either by coming to the studio at 1pm SLT to take an interactive part, or by watching the show on the Treet Live stream at 2pm SLT!