Sunday, February 10, 2013

"Wolf" Act - Part 1 (creating a dance act for Guerilla Burlesque)

As promised, I am planning on detailing how I create the dance acts I present at Guerilla Burlesque. I intend to lead you through my personal process, from when the concept first germinates in my mind, to it's performance, which is scheduled for the show on March 2nd - so we have just twenty days to make this happen! Bear in mind, my process is not "the" way to do it, and in fact, I know other dancers on the Guerilla Burlesque team do it completely differently. On the other hand, I am often asked "how do I start", so for those of you thinking you might like to try this dancer caper out, welcome aboard.

For me, the process always starts with the song. I have been dancing for four years now, so it's safe to say I have used most of my favourite songs, but I have learned, too, that your favourite song cannot always be made into palatable entertainment. It's also my duty to point out that favourite songs tend to drop off your playlist after you've listened to them on repeat play for a few hours.

The song I have chosen to work with is Wolf by First Aid Kit. Little known chryblnd trivia: I have the radio on 24 hours a day, a habit from my youth when I had reason to be a very light sleeper. I find the continual flow of radio provides enough background noise to grant me unbroken sleep. That said, I am sometimes woken by the same song, every time it's played, and these songs tend to end up in my lifelong favourites list. 

Wolf is one of those songs. Released late last year, it woke me up several times through the holiday season. I like the drums, it's got a rollicking beat, and I was struck by the vocals, which seemed very Americana to me - though it turns out they are a Swedish band. And in a special bonus ending, the song turns out to have a story, or a bit of a story, which is just about perfect for my purposes, since I can create something that fits the bones of the song, but takes it in my direction.

So now I move onto what I would like to do to tell my version of this story. If you liked the song, you might already know there is an official video, and that's the first thing that will affect my interpretation. While I have complete admiration for those people who are recreating music videos in SL - it must be such a painstaking process - it's not my thing. I prefer to tell an original story, and that's how I let myself call what we do "dance interpretation". The result, of course, is that pagan rituals, leafy headbands, white dresses and fake wolves are out. 

But I still want to tell the story of a wolf or wolf pack. And I still need to have a sexy girl in there (because that's how I roll. Shut up. Don't judge). And here is where the brainstorm starts. I want the realism, I really love highly realistic stage sets. I wonder if there are any good wolf avatars out there? I used a wolf avatar once before, in my opening act for Beautiful Freaks Burlesque Circus. It was from Grendels, if memory serves. I wonder if there are newer avatars. maybe someone's doing mesh? Oh and I love forests, everyone knows most of my acts are just fresh versions of me prancing around in a forest. Wait, that's no good, I need to break that mould. But ... if I used the mover, that would meet the "fresh" requirement ... wouldn't it? Ehhh .... well I am not doing metaphorical wolves and prancing around Wall Street!

This is generally where I start building a set, a process that, for me, is like doodling, but cooler. The picture that ends up on stage may have nothing whatever to do with the picture I start out with. But here it is, so that you know. And no, I have no idea what that huge torus is for. You have no idea how long I stood around waiting for it to rez though :-)

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