Coming up on Saturday March 3rd at 3:00PM SLT, the Gypsy Rose Lee Theatre has its grand opening.
Here’s the show announcement:
Burlesque Dolls of Gypsy Rose Burlesque
Saturday March 3 – 3PM SLT
Welcome to the new Burlesque Dolls Gypsy Rose Burlesque Theatre, a tribute to the icon of classic burlesque: the legendary Gypsy Rose Lee, and carrying on the tradition of Lary Correia’s Burlesque Dolls.
We invite you to our grand opening on Saturday, March 3rd at 3:00PM SLT with a range of wonderful acts by Kyshra, Jilley, Queenie, Alexis, Josephine Jinx, Exhi, Corri, Lina and more! And who can resist the sultry tunes and announcements by the irresistible Diamonique Viper?
There will also be a raffle for a 1000L gift card for the excellent fashions of Devious Mind.
That’s the TL;DR, but who is Lina (Melina Aurotharius), and with all the venues and dance groups out there, why start a new one? What does it mean to start a new group, and what challenges do they face?
I know I want to know more. So, let’s go exploring, shall we?
Yes, let’s do that…
Lina invited me over to the new Gypsy Rose Burlesque theatre… it’s still under construction, but it’s impressive so far.
I asked her how she got her start in SL.
“I used to play for a long time in another avatar based client,” says Lina. “People there were telling me SL could be a great place for me to take my shop and my clothing creations and expand upon what I had already done there, plus it was a lot more technically advanced. So, literally 9 years ago today, I logged into Second Life and never went back to IMVU.”
In your face, IMVU! *cough, cough* (Okay, back to pretending to be a journalist. Think CNN… think CNN…) From a career in clothing, how did she get into dance?
“As far as my start in dance it hit me pretty quick. I was fairly bored in Second Life, and a friend of mine stumbled upon a show while he was out looking for strip clubs. He took me to a show for my birthday and I was hooked. I started going to a few shows a week and I was in awe. I watched dances like Baby and Jilly and Queenie (BabyPea Von Phoenix and Jilley of Empire, and Red Queen of… well, pretty much everywhere!), and thought I NEED to do that. Soon I signed up with Winds (of the Sahara) as an extra and made my debut Oct 2017. From that day I was so hooked I did whatever I could to get on stage and have not stopped.”
And nothing’s going to stop her… nothing going to stop her noooooooooooow!
(Okay, I just had to.)
“Dance for me is an outlet for my creativity in many ways like it is for a lot of us,” she says “For me, I use it almost as a kind of therapy. After the Las Vegas shooting, I did the song “Invincible” by Pat Benatar, for example. Most of my acts are inspired by things I have going on in my life and almost an expression of my emotion and stress I deal with in the outside world.”
Dance Therapy, folks. After years of seeing articles about virtual worlds therapies for PTSD pop up on the feeds, maybe it’s time to get the soldiers up on the movers and dancing? Put down the M-16, pick up the HetaHarper Tools, and feel the rhythm!
Let’s Learn With Lina!
Speaking of the tools of the trade, I then asked Lina if it was hard to learn dance?
“The tools, I am always learning,” she says. “I use the SpotOn tools and learned them pretty quick thanks to their YouTube videos. I will admit though I am still learning all the time, different tricks and methods that make things easier. As far as putting together an act, I listen to Pandora until something comes along that makes me want to move, or until I can “see” it in my mind. Some of my acts come to me in the most unsuspecting places, like while I am driving or in the shower, where I sing the most, so I try to keep a notepad in my phone to keep notes and ideas.”
(I’d just like to point out here that using a phone notepad application in the shower is not a good idea, even if it’s “water resistant.”)
What comes from her moments of Eureka?
“I usually do group acts, however for burlesque, which is my favorite I try to stick to being as traditional as possible. Lady Correia (of Main Event’s Burlesque Dolls) was one of my mentors. My burlesque acts are always solos, and a few times I have done couples acts. I really enjoy using a lot of people in my acts, however, and giving the audience a lot to look at.”
(Have you seen my jaw? I dropped it somewhere.)
I was curious about this… when you think burlesque, what do you think? And what’s the real definition of the art of burlesque?
In a world that the media portrays as a forest of dance poles and worse, how does dance performance and burlesque stand out and keep its standards?
Lina explained it for me: “Well anyone who knows me and has seen me on stage knows I am not shy and will do just about anything and… show just about anything if the dance calls for it. Burlesque however when it is performed traditionally is more about the tease than the please, I love the idea of leaving them wanting a little bit … more. I have seen acts that seem more about the dancer just showing off the goods than it is about the art. I have also seem some gorgeous acts that are full striptease. I support any dancer to express themselves as they can imagine, that is what is so beautiful about second life is that limitless boundary of expression.”
And the rewards can be great: “When an act goes great it is almost like a high, the dances don’t crash, your music hits the right spots and the particles rez it is a blast. I try not to take it too seriously. I have not literally cried over a bad night (yet) but when it happens, and it does happen to all of us, I try to take it as a challenge, learn from it and make it better next time. When things do go wrong, ask for help too. the dance community really is a huge family and there is always someone willing to help each other get past a block or a problem.”
To give thanks…
As we’ve seen with everything in Second Life, the groups aren’t just groups, And it isn’t just for dance, it’s more like a family…
“They really are and many of us dance at all different venues together. I have seen us support each other through things too in ways that really touch the heart outside of the dance world, family tragedies, illness, marriages and births, we really can be supportive towards each other in ways that go far beyond the keyboard.”
“I did want to be sure to thank everyone who has supported me and encouraged me along the way, especially people like the staff at Winds, A&M and Empire Room who have always made me feel at home and Antonio who has always pushed me to be my best in dance and give me a good kick in the butt when I needed it.
Speaking of Antonio, I asked him for his thoughts on the new place:
[17:44] R.: want to toss in a few quotes?
[17:44] Antonio: who me?
[17:45] Antonio: for her interview nah this is all her, I just support and encourage her, I stay in the background.
The longest journey begins not with a single step, but a kick in the butt.
Starve a cold, Antonio a… FEVER!
A kiss to build a dream on…
Which then leads us to why she is starting the new Gypsy Rose Burlesque Theatre:
“I love to watch just the huge variety in dance period. Some people make the creepiest things like tentacles and snakes, which terrify me look amazing and then the next act might me something so beautiful. I find for myself though that burlesque comes most naturally to me. I love the movement and the mood of the tease. I guess that I why I chose to open my own after Lady C closed the Main Event Showroom.”
Lady C’s burlesque was a very special place to many of us, it was a place that would bring you back in time. She made her dance into an art and taught us all to do the same. Feathers and sparkles and lushly textures stages all set to the music that could be anything from tongue in cheek suggestive to some that were cute, or downright sexy. She held her standards high and taught us all how beautiful it is, I felt there was a void left to be filled and jumped on it with the support of my friends encouraging me along the way I am making it happen.
From my early days in Second Life dance I have always kind of had the idea of running a show in the back of my mind.”
It isn’t just “I have a barn, let’s put on a show” for dance, because it takes a whole lot more to put together an event-friendly venue:
“I have picked up little things here and there from different venues I have danced at, I chose a building with simple textures and a design and color scheme that would leave the focus on the stage and hopefully be welcoming to everyone. My main goal is not to fill seats but to have everyone enjoy themselves and want to come back. I want a venue that runs smooth and is relaxed and a place that my dancers and audience wants to return to and looks forward to every month. A venue that does not belong to “me” per say but to all of us who enter those doors.”
So, why the name Gypsy Rose Lee?
“Well the name Burlesque Dolls of Gypsy Rose Theatre is a nod to Lady Corriea. She has been such a huge influence in my dance. When I took her burlesque class she spoke about Gypsy Rose Lee and her style and talents and her influence in the burlesque world. It is my way of thanking Lady C for all she has done for me with her teaching and encouragement.”
What have you got planned for the opening?
“Performances are already planned by Kyshra, Jilley, Queenie, Alexis, Lina, Exhi, Corri, and Josephine Jinx. And a few more that may join in. Diamonique Viper, with that sexy voice from Lady C’s, is the DJ.”
Ohhhhhhh myyyyyyy. Now Diamonique’s voice… yes, yes she is.
She is also planning a give away with a gift card to Devious Mind for L$1000. “Great place, too, I love her designs!”
Let’s wrap this up…
Thank you, Lina. It was wonderful to talk to you about your experiences in Second Life Dance, and I’m looking forward to the grand opening event. I’ll bring my camera along and maybe, you know, might take a few pictures here and there, you know?
You can see her perform at the new Gypsy Rose opening on March 3rd at 3PM. Also, she’s at A&M, Winds of the Sahara, Elysium, Virtuoso, and at the Dance Queens shows (I’ll be posting about the Dance Queens Showcase in the Weekend in Second Life Dance post because it’s a good introduction to the various performers and styles and acts.)
So, who wants to be next?