Is Dance in SL art?

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It’s always nice to hear someone else’s perspective, because it makes you think.  Especially if it’s a perspective you’ve never really thought about before.

I’ve been asking all sorts of questions on the blog lately (and will continue doing so), but I was particularly struck by someone’s opinion.  Not because I think their opinion is ‘wrong’ or ‘bad,’ but because it’s a perspective I had never considered.

When I first came into SL, I was at clubs all the time.  Not to socialize, but to dance.  That was my focus.  And once I discovered dance shows and how to choreograph, I was hooked.  Dance is my ‘thing’ in SL.  It’s why I am here at all.  I love dancing, I love watching others dance, I love making dances. Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance!

Now, we all know that there are things we’ve become ‘blind’ to after being in SL for a while.  We have become accustomed to people’s hair and clothing (flexi-prims) moving through their avatar.  We know that when someone appears to be sitting ‘in’ a chair rather than ‘on’ it, chances are they forgot to turn off their AO.  When people look naked on a crowded sim, or clothing appears to float in the air behind them, we know that all the mesh they’re wearing hasn’t loaded yet.  They’re not really wandering around naked.

When we dance in SL, we used pre-made animations.  Animations that, as was pointed out, always look exactly the same every time.  So how can we call dancing ‘interesting’ or ‘entertaining’ or ‘art’ when it’s just a pre-made animation loop?

Now, I have my own thoughts on this question, but I’d like to hear yours.

So, whether you’re a dancer, a venue owner, or an audience member (or all 3!), let me hear your thoughts.  Is dance in SL art?


10 thoughts on “Is Dance in SL art?

  1. Dance is whatever the creator of the act wants it to be. Some try to be enterteining, Others artistic. Personally, I try to be an enterteiner. But anywone who has seen me dance will attest both the music and dance are just engines towards me delivering bad jokes or a silly story.

    Your question does lead on to something I was trying to express the other day though. As a non dancer (such as myself), for all the new toys, gadgets, HUDs and animations, what do I see differently watching the act?

    To me, a viewer, dance has not changed much scince HUDDLEs first appeared.

    1. Ouch! 😛 Ok, so as a ‘non-dancer,’ what things would you like to see (or consider ‘new’) when it comes to dance performances? Or do you think that innovation/change has hit the proverbial wall?

      1. Inovation and change can still happen. From my limited view, change happens when Shadow took group Burlesue and did ran shows the way she did. Or Misse at Club Image, she presented dance in a new way. Diawa has in the past done something on stage I have not seen before.

        Innovation is not dead. But using toys and gadgets to do the same thing is not going to show me as an audience member anything new.

        Name the top 5 things that has changed in performing dance scince HUDDLEs came out and tell me how, as an end viewer, that shows me something different to what was being done with HUDDLEs and Xpose and cheap rezzers.

        Then think of the top 5 things that have changed for an end viewer since they came in.

        I imagine the 2 lists would be mostly different.

        All that said, if I am wrong, and there are no other changes that can be made to the dance world, does not mean people should stop doing it. Something people often misinterpret from my point of view. Some people can still be enterteining and if someone is more artistic and expresses real feelings and emotions in dance, who the feck is anyone to tell them ‘it has all been done before so stop doing it’. As long as people enjoy what they do, they should keep going.

  2. I think it is art. It is about how the dancer puts it all together… selecting the music, the animations, building the sets, organizing costumes, perhaps writing emotes. It is a lot of time and effort put forth to create a dance. And ten people could do the same song (which has happened with some songs) and every one is a different expression. Art is defined as: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. So to me, the animations are like the paints, the set and costume are the canvas, the HUDs are like the brushes.

    I am very accepting of the human desire to create and have fun in SL. I consider fashion, sim design, picture taking, building, and many other things in SL to be art. I just want people to be happy and have fun, slive their slives their way with respect and tolerance for differences. I think to say SL dance is not art because someone else created animations that loop and are not modifiable is like saying a RL artist is not really an artist because they are using store-bought paints. Though they can change the colours by mixing, but in a way, that is what we do when we align animations for a dance and mix them with other elements such as set, costume, and emotes.

    I don’t think we always have to be doing something that has never been done before. I think it is okay to simply dance and create dances because it brings us joy. I think it is interesting and entertaining to see how people put the pieces all together to create something special, something that is special if for no other reason than, they put a piece of their spirit into it. I love people and I like seeing them do things that is fulfilling to their spirits, I like seeing them having fun and being happy. I find it contagious.

  3. It’s like kids and Legos. I love seeing the things kids build with Legos. The Legos don’t change, just the way they are put together is usually different and unique each time.

      1. I actually thought about doing that with one of my challenge shows… all dancers do the same song and see what they come up with. Would be interesting.

        1. It would be. I don’t think you could do it as a performance, because the audience would get tired of the song, I would imagine. However, video is an option. 🙂

  4. Well i know a few around who has real life involt into art too, like studying set design in real, making their own animations conecting those sensors on their body, or crating their own sets on blender.. the emotes parts, would be more of a writter, as in a real show the actor or the dancer does not really write usually

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