I finally got a chance to catch the dance production "Olmannen" by the Second Life Ballet troupe this evening. I admit that I am not very fond of ballet — I find the movement very stilted and regimented and the music not to my taste. But I love dance and virtual worlds, so I felt it was my duty to check it out.
On the plus side, I think the performers and crew did a great job creating an evocative and lovely ambiance. The sets were lush, the costumes fanciful and bright, and the music an interesting blend of modern and classical (composed by Alazarin Mondrian). It certainly had all the trappings of a ballet.
But put aside the frippery and what is the essence of a ballet: it’s a dancer expressing with her body a classical theme or emotion, a rich blend of athleticism and grace set to music. Going to the ballet is about having a transcendent experience, watching humans doing superhuman feats with incredibly artistry and feigned effortlessness.
The performers in "Olmannen" certainly seemed to be working hard. But, to put it bluntly, they weren’t dancing. They were enabling custom scripted dance animations in precise time with each other. The result is quite pretty, but in the end is spectacle without power, merely impressive rather than awe-inspiring.
2 thoughts on “The Olmannen ballet: art or the appearance of art?”
I dance in “Olmannen” we use gestures. they are not scripted. Inarra the ballet instructor makes all of the animations herself. It is very hard to do. It is also very hard to time down the dance moves. nothing about our moves are scripted or poseballs we use all chat commands and gestures. since animations is the only way you can dance in SL. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your experience. I have no doubt that it is hard work coordinating actions with several other avatars, set effects, and music.