Interview with a Dancer #7 – Diawa Bellic

If you’re involved in dance in SL, you’ve met our next interviewee.  She is one of the most talented, prolific, and entertaining dancers in SL.  Please welcome the Diva of Dance – Princess Diawa!

Diawa 2 2014



SL Name: Diawa Bellic
Display Name:  Diawa Bellic
Rez Day: 07/17/2008
Location: Central Valley CA (aka Hell)





What led you to/How did you start dancing in SL?
DB:  I spent almost two years in a very busy Tribute band in SL and felt I found my calling as far as what I wanted to do and be in SL – to bring entertainment to new and higher levels. (Click here to watch Diawa perform as all the musicians in the video.)  I got my start in dance from Chryblnd Scribe (owner of Idle Rogue and manager of Live SL Musicians).  She hired me to dance along with the live musicians she was managing at the time. She built sets for them and I would dance to their show.  She was the first one to bring that to live music and it was received very well.

How long have you been dancing?
DB:  Over 4 years.  This is one of the earliest videos of me dancing, but I had been dancing for Chry before this was recorded.

Where do you dance?
DB:  I dance at Guerilla Burlesque and I have produced and performed my own shows in {Euphoria} and also at my friends’ venues.

How much time, on average, do you spend in SL each week?
DB:  o.o 40 hrs? (has no RL)

Of that time, how much (%) is spent working on dances/performances?
DB: Now . . . about 10%.  Before . . . about 70%.

How long does it take you to create a set (start to finish)?
DB:  That completely varies, but I like to take a week or two at least to build a good set. I could put a worthy set together in an hour or so if I had to.

Name your ‘go-to’ store for dance animations.
DB: S4D, 3FX, MyANIMATIONS, Henmations, A&M, Abranimations, Sine Wave

Name your ‘go-to’ store for non-dance animations.
DB: I don’t have just one place, I use everything that SL has to offer.

What dance HUD do you primarily use?  Why?
DB: Barre.  Are there any others?  🙂

Do you use a movement system?  Which one?  Is there a reason you prefer one over the other?
DB:  I have used most of them. Presently I use SZi and SpotOn. I like to use the SZi mover for simple set ups – it’s fast and easy, just like Kat. 😛  For more technical and smooth movement, I use the SpotOn.

Do you use other huds?  What are they?
DB: Oh, boy – well, many at times. Like this:

Diawa - HUD pic

Do you build your own sets or work with a scripter/builder? 
DB: Yes I do build my own.  At times I have my very talented friends assist me (misse tigerpaw (Club IMAGE), Chewie Quixote (Guerilla Burlesque), SexyS Quintessa (Guerilla Burlesque), and recently I’ve been calling on Chrissy Rhiano (Winds of the Sahara Cabaret).  All of them are in the Elite dance Troop {Euphoria} owned and formed by yours truly and managed by BabypeaVonPhoenix Bikergrrl (Elysium Cabaret) and LiLAnGeLs (The Velvet Vixen Burlesque Club).

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about dancing?  
DB: Cache your dances right before going on. The crowd has to have the animations you’re using cached to see them start on time also.

Do you emote?  Why or why not?
DB: No.  I never understood emoting in show dance – nobody reads them, and if you try, they’re usually so long they get pushed out of your chat box before you can finish reading them. Also, they take the focus away from your dance and set that you worked so hard to put together.  And, I suck at them.  I think if emotes were shown on a prim with scrolling text it would be easer to follow and you could still focus on what the performer is doing.

Where do you find your music?
DB: I steal it from Chopsy . . . HOOOOOOOOOOO! Lol, jk – Chry, YouTube searching, sim hopping, my parents.

Do you make your own mixes?  If yes, where do you find music and/or sound effects?
DB: Yes, I use Audacity and cut sound bites from YouTube and other places.

What is your stance on the issue of music copyright in SL (and also in YouTube videos you might post)? 
DB: I feel that you should buy the music you use.  I would be lying if I said I always do, but I buy a good 80% of what I use in my shows. If you’re going to use someone’s work to potentially profit (tips), I think it’s the right thing to do.  After all, you buy everything else you’re using (animations, clothes, props, textures, and lighting).

What are your preferences when it comes to dance performances?  (Large/small sets, particles/none, effects/none, lighting/none, faders/none, emotes/none, movers/none?) 
DB: I like to go big . . . all the bells and whistles. There are many pieces to a performance, but the top 3 are 1) Music 2) Dance (choreography) and 3) Set Design.  Your music choice and choreography are very important – roughly 70-90% of your focus should be there.  For me the dance part comes naturally; for some this isn’t as easy and they should focus on their dance.  Good music and choreography will help to carry your act through.  Costumes are also important and have an overall effect on the top 3 attributes.  Costumes alone cannot carry an act like the other attributes can, but shouldn’t be overlooked.

What’s your favorite store for costuming?  
DB: I like them all.

Is there a particular artist (in SL or RL) that inspires you?
DB: Ellie and Slappy (Virtual Burlesque) were/are my first inspiration, but there are many.  Didds is, I think, one of the biggest inspirations in SL Dance, making the use of movers mainstream.  I will take some of that credit also, I saw her using them before anyone and I think I helped make the use of them popular.

What’s the most embarrassing or frustrating thing that has happened to you during a performance?
DB: omg . . . a Halloween show AzabellaAlamar (Guerilla Burlesque) and I worked on long and hard on for months.  It was the first time she did anything like this and everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.  All that hard work she did with me and I assured her for months that she was in the best hands (myself) and she had nothing to fear.  It was a disaster.

What is your greatest fear as a dancer?  
DB: The question does not compute . . .  My greatest concern – the music stopping and or messing up midway.

What is your biggest complaint about dancing in SL?  
DB: Nobody does what I say, lolol.  I don’t know – too many that can’t be fixed, so . . .

Do you ever consider how an audience member’s computer set up might affect their enjoyment of your performance? (ie – particles, effects, lag, etc)
DB: Yes, to a point.  I feel if people in SL want what most people want from a performance, they should consider their ability to see it (so upgrade that 2005 laptop).

What’s the best comment/compliment you’ve ever received about your dancing?
DB: Lol, I have them written down.  Many, many inspiring ones that I open up and look at when I am feeling all my efforts are for naught.  I have been told some very uplifting compliments that makes all the hard work worth it.

Have you ever done a dance you look back on now and think was awful? 
DB: I cant think of any, but I am sure there were one or two.

Do you have a favorite performance/routine?  What is it and why is it your favorite? 
DB: No, I don’t have just one.  🙂

Do you have a blog/website/flickr/facebook/other account you’d like to share?  
DB: YouTube – click here for the link.

What’s the most helpful piece of advice you would give to someone new to dancing in SL? 
DB: Go watch some shows, ask other dancers questions – find out if it’s really something you want to invest in,  There’s a lot to being an above-average dancer/performer.  The bar has been raised a lot since I started.

How long do you think a show should be in SL?  Is there an ‘optimum’ max length?  
DB: No longer than an hour – 45 minutes, I think, is about the average time someone sitting behind a PC can sit and watch someone else have fun.

Where is your favorite spot to spend time in SL if you are not dancing?  
DB: Wherever they will have me. 🙂

What is one thing you’d like to see ‘arrive’ in SL dance? (Something that is not currently possible.)
DB: Real Light.

Any other thoughts/ideas/comments you’d like to share?
DB: I like to recognize my first true SL friend Trinity Demonia (*Trinium Designs*).   If we hadent found one another, I honestly feel that I would not have chosen the path that I am presently on. She showed me how to build, bought me my first dance HUD, and taught me a lot about SL and its infrastructure.   Racheal Young (Barre Dance HUD – is the single person in SL that had and has the biggest influence on my successes and abilities as performer/dancer in SL.  I can say without a doubt that without her in my SL, I wouldn’t be the performer Di is today.

There’s no doubt that Diawa has had a lot of influence in the dance community.  I’d like to thank her for taking the time to be interviewed.  As a dancer, she is constantly pushing the limits of what can be achieved in SL.  So if you get a chance to see her in action, don’t miss it!