Interview with a Troupe Leader #4 – Aelva

It’s kind of hard to pin down a pixie, so when you do, you make the most of it!  Please welcome Aelva to the ‘Interview with a Troupe Leader’ series!

Aelva~_~The Dreamer~_~ 2014
Photo Credit: Graham Collinson



SL Name:  Aelva
Display Name: Aelva
Rez Day: 16th of january 2011

Name of troupe/group:

~*~The Night Theater~*~



What led you to/How did you start dancing in SL?
A:  There was to be a benefit for Jordan Reyne, and I offered to contribute an act to one of her songs.

How long have you been dancing?
A:  About 1 ½ years.

How much time, on average, do you spend in SL each week?
A:  SL is always on, if I’m home. And I am almost always home.

What made you decide to start a dance group?
A:  I had already more or less run one for a while and figured I could just as well stand on my own two feet.

Do you have your own theatre/venue?  If yes, what is the most difficult thing about owning a venue?
A:  I do have my own place. And it’s ever changing. Always chasing a new idea. I am constantly working on one project or the other so prims are needed. And it gives me the freedom and space to do what I please, when I please.

What’s the hardest part of running a successful dance troupe?
A:  Getting people to come see the shows.

What kind of shows does your troupe do?  (ie – variety shows, shows with a theme or storyline, etc.) 
A:  It depends on what mood I am in. I want diversity. Do something new, with a twist.

How much time, on average, do you spend on a new production/show?
A:  Depends on how long the creative process is. On average, a full show has taken between 1-2 months.

Do you do multiple performances of the same show?  If yes, explain the reasoning behind it.
A:  Well, yes, between 2 and 6 performances per show. To try to suit as many timezones as possible. And any demand. I try make most of my shows portable too so I can set up at any place quickly. I still haven’t found the perfect regular time for shows.

Does your troupe rehearse before a performance?  If yes, how often?
A: We do rehearse. How many times depends on how well rehearsals go. Sometimes setting up group acts takes a few times to adjust everything and get everybody used to the routines.

How long does it take you to create a set (from start to finish)?
A: That completely depends. Between a month to an hour. I can get very caught up in details and if I get stuck, sometimes I have to move on to the next number till the solution presents itself. If I’m inspired and things flow, it will just be a few hours.

Name your ‘go-to’ store for dance animations.
A: Abranimations – Cant really beat their quality and price, and A&M Mocap. It’s not a coincidence these dances are seen in almost every show.

Name your ‘go-to’ store for non-dance animations.
A: Don’t have one here, it varies.

What dance HUD do you primarily use?  Why?
A:  Right now I make the choreo on the Barre and then run the show through the Performance Director from SpotOn. Absolutely love these toys. Looking forward to any new ones coming out in the future.

What problems/difficulties in performing group numbers are there that are not present during a solo performance?
A:  Always a million more variables when more than one person is involved. From rezzing issues to crossing mover paths to letting everybody’s voice be heard.

Do you use a movement system?  Which one?  Is there a reason you prefer one over the other?
A:  I’m in love with all my SpotOn toys. Thinking I’ll have to learn how to strip just to have an excuse to play with the Chat Stripper.

Do you use other HUDs?  What are they?
A: The Barre of course. It’s just so easy to choreograph with. Playing with particle and lighting ones too.

Do you build your own sets or work with a scripter/builder?  Do you have specific team members assigned to this task? 
A: Well, I’m very used to doing it all myself. I am very thankful for my friend Martty Gerther who helps me make shows now. I’m pretty quick at building though – that is the easiest part in this. Even if I am a noob at it. So much to learn!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about dancing?
A:  “Do what makes you happy.” (That’s from Momma Shadow by the way.)

Do you emote?  Why or why not?
A:  Nope. I just think it sounds fake when I do it. I hope I can portray emotions with animation, costume and scenery instead. I find I lose my words when emotion grabs me. Like with sex, I might not talk much but I doubt there will be any question about what I’m feeling.

Where do you find your music?
A:  There is always music. I fall in love with songs every day. And I can be extremely sensitive to sound. And every song I fall in love with, I want to dance, paint a pixel picture of.

Do you make your own mixes?  If yes, where do you find music and/or sound effects?  What about voice-overs?
A:  Not yet. I learned how to stream for the Christmas Show so I have a lot to learn still. But that would sure be one more piece to the puzzle.

What is your stance on the issue of music copyright in SL (and also in YouTube videos you might post)?
A:  As long as you give proper credit? I can’t really say I have submerged myself in the issue yet.

What are your preferences when it comes to dance performances?  – Large/small sets; particles/none; effects/none; faders/none; emotes/none; movers/none; lighting/none
A:  Anything that makes a good show. We have the tools and our imagination. Those are our limits and our limitlessness in sl. Use them. It’s all about creating a moment of magic.

What’s your favorite store for costuming?
A:  I have a few. Everybody that knows me knows how I adore Boudoir. But there are so many more – Mon Cherie, deviousMind, Purple Moon. I find a lot of things on MP and at different fairs.

What’s the most embarrassing or frustrating thing that has happened to you during a performance?
A:  Must be opening show for Theater Dramatiques about a year ago. We got so laggy I couldn’t get my HUD to respond at all. We had to cancel the show. Turns out every chair in the place had 6 scripts and we had planned for a full sim, and that is just one detail. Cleaned up good after that though and learned a very big lesson. The rest of shows went perfectly.  🙂  Which was good, since it was the first time I ran a full show and used the SpotOn and the then new version of the Barre. And it was at LEA and with a new troupe and I wanted so badly to make a good impression on those that had believed in me.

Do you ever consider how an audience member’s computer setup might affect their enjoyment of your performance?  (ie – particles, effects, lag, etc.)
A:  Yes!. And taking all that into consideration when setting up costumes and making sets. Take lighting, for example. Nowadays, I don’t always wear a facelight, I set my windlights to Canimod instead so I see everything clearly. You really can’t count on pleasing everbody this way because everybody has different setups. But you can try and make things easier – warm huds, props and costumes up in everybody’s memory. Go easy on other memory distractions.

What’s the best comment/compliment you’ve ever received about your dancing?
A:  I’m just happy people come back. That is the best compliment you can get.  And hope they leave a show feeling happy they came.

How long do you think a show should be in SL?  Is there an ‘optimum’ max length?
A:  Between 30 and 60 minutes. It all depends on the show. Less than 30 feels too short. More than 60 can be hard to keep the audience’s attention.

Do you have a blog/SL group/website/flickr/facebook/other account you’d like to share?
A:  That’s under construction still.  🙂 I do post ads of my shows on Facebook though. Add me there if you would like.

What’s the most helpful piece of advice you would give someone new to dancing in SL?
A: Follow your heart, make your dreams come true and don’t do it thinking you will make money on it. It will cost you blood, sweat, and tears, so burn bright for what you do and make it worth it. And don’t be afraid to ask for advice. I have met so many wonderful performers and creators here that I owe thanks for putting up with my thirst for knowledge.

Where is your favorite spot to spend time in SL if you are not dancing?
A:  I like my houses. (That constantly change.) They have movies and change to suit my mood. I need them as my hiding places. I spend most of my time working on projects though, so I don’t have as much time to explore anymore as I used to. I try to make it to the Photohunt on Mondays; that is a very good place to find new favorite SL spots. For those curious, I can share a note card of some of my favorite places in SL.

What is one thing you’d like to see ‘arrive’ in SL dance?  (Something that is not currently possible.)
A: Uhm . . . Naked Firemen Fridays? Or FireLadies – I’m not picky.

Any other thoughts/comments/ideas you’d like to share?
A:  This is everybody’s chance to live out their dreams. Let them, support them, as long as it is not at the cost of somebody else’s. RL is harsh enough, we have the power to choose who we want to be. Kindness costs a lot less than pettiness. And I like wings!  Oh! A shiny!!!  *Flutters off in a puff of pixie dust*

Well, I think that about sums it up – be nice to each other, and what SL needs is naked Firemen Fridays!  A big thank you to Aelva for taking time out of her busy schedule to be interviewed.