SkyDance 1 The ZEROG SkyDance performance company was born in June of 2006 as an experiment asking the question: What would a virtual worlds performing art look like, and would it be interesting? A growing audience was already in Second Life dressed up and looking for interesting experiences.
At the time I was studying at the San Francisco Art Institute studying conceptual performance and reading Augusto Boal’s “Theater of the Oppressed” which offered techniques for a more immersive, inclusive and interactive theater. This was a perfect inspiration for performance work inside the social, virtual world of Second Life.
One of the things that sets the SkyDance apart from most performance works that later appeared in Second Life is that the SkyDance was always performed life and directed in real time with a minimum of automation.
Real time direction of each SkyDance performance provided an audio and video synchronization and as the SkyDancers flew through the specially designed stage they performed choreography to real time directorial cues like any other theater company.
This video is the first SkyDance, machinima filmed by Tao Takahashi in 2006. The original score by Mic Mahoney was a 3 minute waltz remixed by DC Spensley to be 9 minutes.
The SkyDancers were encouraged to dress their avatars in any way they wanted, but while performing they wore an additional form of SkyDance specific costume called “cascades” designed by Sabine Stonebender. Cascades were large avatar attachments that resembled long flowing gowns many times the size of the avatar. Cascades made the performers visible from great virtual distances and made it possible to create theatrical relationships based on color, size, proximity, and motion.
The 100 meter tall and 50 meter wide and deep stage set situated at 500 meters altitude and included custom scripting making the entire stage set into a musical instrument. As the performers fly in and out of objects in the sky small bits of sound are triggered to play on their proximity making their flight trajectory directly influence the audio portion of this theatrical work. While the basic musical theme carried over from performance to performance, the additional sounds triggered by the SkyDancers made each performance unique.
SkyDance 1 was performed live for the 2006 International Symposium for Electronic Arts, the first ZERO1 Biennial in San Jose California and the Bumbershoots Festival in Seattle.
Original score by: Mick Mahoney remixed by DC Spensley Standard definition machinima by: Tao Takahashi and InKenzo