Interview with a Dancer #9 – Ric Lyle

I’m so excited that this next dancer agreed to be interviewed – it’s about time for a male perspective, don’t you think?  He’s one of the nicest guys on the grid and you can find him performing with the Fusion Dance Crew.  My apologies to him for the extended delay in getting this published!

Ric Lyle



SL Name:  Ric Lyle
Display Name:  Same
Rez Day: 08/19/2007





What led you to/How did you start dancing in SL?
RL:  I started going to clubs all over SL.  Music is one of the best things about SL.  I tried to really dance to the music and bought animations to match the type of music and tempos.  I joined Chippendales and became a Lead Dancer.  In those days we did routines.  I’ve been with a number of dance groups since then.  My style did not really fit burlesque.  I even became a Beautiful Freak for a while but never got the chance to do a routine.  I figured if I had my own dance group I could do whatever I wanted to do.  That’s when Fusion Dance Crew started, thanks to my RL wife and SL partner Feli Ibanez.  She is really the one who made it happen and keeps it going even now.  But, it all starts with the music.  You have to feel the music and dance the animations that fit the music..

How long have you been dancing?
RL:  I’d say 4-5 years.  I’ve been a dancer for about 5 dance groups before Feli and I started Fusion Dance Crew.  I also dance with La Performance these days, and occasionally will stand in if someone needs me.

Where do you dance?
RL:  At our club Fusion Performing Arts Center.  And I go to various clubs throughout SL whenever I can.

How much time, on average, do you spend in SL each week?
RL:  These days, not enough.  I’d say 6 hours a week, primarily on the weekend.

Of that time, how much (%) is spent working on dances/performances?
RL:  About 50%.  I like creating routines and sets.  And it gives me something to do in SL.

How long does it take you to create a set (start to finish)?
RL:  Depends on how elaborate.  Most I would say take me 4-5 hours.  I use parts from previous sets if I can.  I like building sets.  It’s another chance to be creative.

Name your ‘go-to’ store for dance animations.
RL:  I like 3 the most:  MyAnimations,  Henmations and A&M.

Name your ‘go-to’ store for non-dance anims.
RL:  I don’t use non-dance animations very much, so I don’t have a fav store.  I should use them more often.

What dance HUD do you primarily use?  Why?
RL:  I’ve used Huddles for a long time.  Maybe one of these days I will switch to Barre, but I don’t have a lot of SL time to learn a new HUD.

Do you use a movement system?  Which one?  Is there a reason you prefer one over the other?
RL:  I do use one.  I use SZi Formation HUD.  It is easy for me to use and here again I haven’t had time to research and learn others.

Do you use other HUDs?  What are they?
RL:  For dance routines I’ve used other HUDs at times, for sword fighting, ninja moves, various special effects, poofers, etc.

Do you build your own sets or work with a scripter/builder?
RL:  I build my own these days.  I like working on them.  You can find so much good stuff through XStreet.  And I think I’m getting better at it.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about dancing?
RL:  Hmmm…”come to center” before changing animations.  I must say, however, that it sure helps having an SL partner who is also into dance.  She critiques my routines and I critique her routines.  And we are able to discuss routines and shows in RL.  Helps a lot.

Do you emote?  Why or why not?
RL:  If by emote you mean telling a story in local, yes, most of my routines today have a story.  I write them myself.  They are the hardest part of pulling a routine together for me.

Where do you find your music?
RL:  Sometimes I hear the music on the radio in RL, or hear the music in travels around SL.  But most of the time I’m looking for a specific type of music and I usually try Amazon MP3 listings.  Feli helps me a lot with music choices; she is really good at it.

Do you make your own mixes?  If yes, where do you find music and/or sound effects?
RL:  Yes.  I use the free version of Virtual DJ.  I buy sound effects and most music at Amazon.  Most of my routines have more than one song so I often have to blend songs together.

What is your stance on the issue of music copyright in SL (and also in YouTube videos you might post)?
RL:  I buy my most of my music.  I’ve just started taking music from YouTube, but the quality isn’t very good.  Music is everything so the quality has to be good.  Artists also need to get paid for their work, so I pay if I like it.

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;
RL:  I, and the other dancers at Fusion Dance Crew, try to bring the “full package” to every routine.  By that I mean great costumes, music, dance animations, sets, story and special effects.  We use all the items you listed, except lighting.

What’s your favorite store for costuming?
RL:  There are some good ones out there, but I do a lot of my shopping for costumes through XStreet.  It’s faster than going from store to store, and I can usually find what I’m looking for.  Hey..I’m a guy, what can I say.  Besides, most of my costumes I put together using bits and pieces from several or more costumes.  I actually like putting costumes together.  I’m a straight don’t tell anyone this!

Is there a particular artist (in SL or RL) that inspires you?
RL:  There are so many good people in SL dance.  I admire all of them for contributing to keeping dance alive and well in SL.  There are two groups that have been an inspiration to me:  Pink Ladies and Tigers and Kittens.  No only do they put on clever routines, but they are a good group of people who have been together a long time and still like each other.

What’s the most embarrassing or frustrating thing that has happened to you during a performance?
RL:  Well..I have gone completely naked on stage a few times, by accident.  I change clothes sometimes 3 times during a routines and sometimes my timing is off.  But then again, I do get close to totally naked in a lot of routines, hahaha.  Sometimes I try to hide costume changes with poofer of one sort or another.

What is your greatest fear as a dancer?
RL:  I’m sometimes afraid that some of my stuff won’t work as expected.  Sometimes it doesn’t…

What is your biggest complaint about dancing in SL?
RL:  I don’t have any complaints about dancing in SL.  All dance in SL is good.

Are there challenges being a male dancer that female dancers don’t face? What are they?
RL:  Actually I think being a male dancer is easier.  Because women are the ones who dominate SL dance, they all cut me a lot of slack in my work because I’m a male.  I appreciate it.

Do you ever consider how an audience member’s computer setup might affect their enjoyment of your performance?  (ie. – particles, effects, lag, etc.)
RL:  Not very often.  I just do my thing and hope people can see it well enough.

What’s the best comment/compliment you’ve ever received about your dancing?
RL:  I pride myself on being one of the better free style dancers out there, mixing the right animation to the music and making it smooth to watch.  When people recognize my skill at this, it always makes me feel good.

Have you ever done a dance you look back on now and think was awful?
RL:  Yes there have been a couple of “stinkers.”  But I usually go back and try to rework and update it when I can.

Do you have a favorite performance/routine?  What is it and why is it your favorite?
RL:  I like all my routines in my inventory.  I try to improve them whenever I perform them.  I usually do male oriented themes (e.g. Tron, The Barbarian, Ninja, Superhero, Robots) which I don’t think we see enough of in SL dance, because there aren’t a lot of guys doing routines.

What’s the most helpful piece of advice you would give someone new to dancing in SL?
RL:  Choose music that inspires you.

How long do you think a show should be in SL?  Is there an ‘optimum’ max length?
RL:  I’ve come to the conclusion that an hour is about right.  I learned this by trial and error.

Where is your favorite spot to spend time in SL if you are not dancing?
RL:  Feli and I go to Soul Mods club on Friday whenever we can.  They have a great group of people, most from the UK.  They are all very quick witted and verbose.  I’ve never seen a place generate so much local chat in a 2 hour period, all without gestures.  The music is generally Northern Soul and US Soul.  I look forward to our visit every week.

What is one thing you’d like to see ‘arrive’ in SL dance?  (Something that is not currently possible.) 
RL: It seems like we already have a lot of tools available to us, and the tools are getting better and better.  I am one of the few, I think, that actually like dance competitions.  I’d like to see more of this, I guess.

And there you have it, folks, the latest ‘Interview with a Dancer’!  A great big thank you to Ric and again, apologies for the delay in publishing!