Second Life Ballet

I went to the Second Life Ballet last night at the IBM theatre. And how was it? Hmmmmm.

The open air IBM theatre is a pleasant enough space – though lag meant that someone tried to sit in my lap because they couldn’t see that there was already someone sitting in the seat. And then came TWO sim crashes – one immediately after the other. And then I had a personal crash – probably caused again by the amount of lag in the sim. Still I guess there’s not a lot that can be done about that.

The ballet was Olmannen – and I wish I could give you a synopsis of this three act ballet, but the program was written in such a small typeface that I couldn’t read anything but the titles! The director, Inarra Saarinen, says “…she is interested in exploring the unique capabilities and intersection of movement in virtual and physical space.” and there, I think lies the problem. Because the ballet is performed in a fairly real recreation of a 3d theatre space, audience one side of the curtain, the stage the other, with very traditional wings and backdrop, this somewhat limits the unique capabilities of the virtual space that could be possible within Second Life.

And each act seemed to last about 90 seconds (subjective I know) which meant that with all the lag I was experiencing, there was hardly time to get my camera fixed on the stage before the act was over.

And we were told before the performance to turn our world to midnight or sunset to get the best from it, which I duly did – but there was no lighting at all on stage, even though the set included streetlights as props at one point. Made things more than a little murky (see the pics).

The music was pleasant, but as it took over 50 minutes to see less than 5 minutes of ballet, there was a feeling at the end of disappointment rather than the elation of watching a good theatrical performance.

I’m glad they’ve done it, and there was a lot of work in it, but I’m not sure the experience was pleasurable enough to go again. The experience is too slavish a copy of the real world theatre, and doesn’t use the capabilities that might be possible within a virtual world where the rules are, shall we say relaxed, from the real.

Olmannen Ballet 001

Olmannen Ballet 006

Olmannen Ballet 002

Olmannen Ballet 003

Olmannen Ballet 004

Olmannen Ballet 005


~ by slconceptual on June 11, 2007.

3 Responses to “Second Life Ballet”

  1. Yeah.. I’m glad it didn’t cost me money to go see this. I was so delighted with the idea, but the execution was POOOOOOOOOR. Even the abranimations ballet HUD would have been better than the anis they were using, and the dancers had really horrifically deformed looking shapes when I was there (shapes can be tricky, but generally speaking, your hands should not be bigger than your head, etc.) I would not suggest that a friend waste their time on this, unless they wanted a laugh. The best part? all the audience members shouting “BRAVO!” as if they had also become some kind of twisted caricature of a real ballet.

  2. Yes, I noticed the enthusiasm of the sudience too – though of course I kept my mouth shut – didn’t want to cause any bad mood or hurt feelings – they had worked hard at it.

  3. If you really want to see some good Second Life dancing, watch the videos of Phoenixa Sol on YouTube…..

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