By Rhiannon Colclough
Of course, we know that dance didn’t begin with us – it is as old as almost time itself, beginning with the first beats of hands against the ground, a drum, whatever, and then the beat of feet against the ground, responding to those hands’ beating. But since we can’t go back in time to see the dancers in the long ago, we have to content ourselves with our imagination.
Or can we…?
Well, there are movies, or pictures, from back when, but those are not extensive nor are they three-dimensional. So what options do we have?
We can go to an RP sim and see how the people danced! These sims are usually very conscious of being as authentic as possible, and the people who perform in them do as much research as possible to get that feeling of authenticity, of feeling as if you are immersed in the past.
Sonatta Morales, a woman who has done research into clothing and dance acts of the past – she is a clothing designer as well whose fashions inspire covetous desire among those into lavish and elegant RP clothing – is one of those people. She does a gorgeous (and slightly salacious!) dance every Saturday afternoon at the Eldorado in the 1920’s Berlin sim, modelled after the (in)famous club of the same name in RL Berlin during the 1920’s. The Eldorado was famous for being an in-place for those who wanted to enjoy sophisticated entertainment not constrained by conventional notions of sex and sexuality.
Sonatta’s entertainment, fantastical and extravagant, is awe-inspiring even without realizing that she needs to come up with these shows – every single week! – all by herself. When asked how she comes up with ideas for her shows, she states, “Berlin was famous for its cabarets and fantastic nightlife, shows were a big deal involving lots of performers, fabulous costumes and fantastic sets. I try to keep that spirit in mind when I’m creating a show, and I choose from themes pertinent to that time frame. The original Eldorado was famous for their transvestites and some of them became real celebrities, I think there’s no better starting point than a good drag show. I just camp up some idea and make it look fabulous and sexy. I have fun performing and I think people have fun watching it. ”
She does admit, she can’t recall exactly all the themes that she’s come up with; as she put it, “I’ve been presenting weekly shows for four years and each week I bring something different [so] you will forgive me for not remembering all of them. I can tell you, it’s a good collection of vamps, femme fatales, priestesses, queens, goddesses, statues coming to life…”
She has been in Berlin since it opened, and considers her dance career to really have started with the Eldorado (although she says she did dance before but it was more sporadic). Sonatta explains how the cabaret came about: “Berlin had The Keller, a place where we traditionally gather every day for the Happy Hour, it had a little stage in the past and we had some performances there from time to time, but I always pestered Jo to build the Eldorado, a gay venue that was closed by the Nazis, famous for its shows and pretty “girls” in real Berlin. I thought our Berlin deserved a proper cabaret with weekly shows. Well, after a couple of years she built it, gave me the keys and there I am, with a new show every single Saturday.” She is an extremely busy woman and would welcome suggestions for her weekly performances!
How busy is she? Well, she dances weekly at the Eldorado, and she also designs clothing, jewelry, shoes, and hairs for her vintage shop. When asked how she designs the stunning clothing she creates (see the pictures – the clothing is AMAZING!), she answered, “I love history of fashion, I love old cinema, I love reading. I don’t specifically research to create something, actually I stop looking at dresses and references when I’m working on a collection. How can I make anything half decent after admiring a dress made by Schiaparelli or Balenciaga? I like to keep a certain distance from those geniuses when I’m working. I prefer to digest whatever beauty they’ve already inspired in me and bring something personal to the world.” When asked what inspires her, she immediately piped up with, “The glamour and elegance of times past, Nature, the world around me.” She admitted that she doesn’t have time to do everything she does: ” I’m always late, my backlog is ridiculous 🙂 ”
Want to see what it’s like to step back in time? Sonatta has an invitation for you: “Come up and see me sometime at the Eldorado but don’t forget our 1920s dress code. I promise you the best period music and a very good time. :** kisskiss.” Trust me, you will not regret it!
If you go:
First stop by here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/1920s%20Berlin/237/232/751
to get your historically accurate (and FREE!) outfit. There are many choices. Then walk into the station and board the train. Walk out the station and turn right – after you cross under the elevated train tracks, you will see the Eldorado. Enjoy the show!
And if you want to see Sonatta’s decadently divine clothing, when you take the above landmark, turn around and cross the border to Vintage Retro sim and walk down the street – her shop is on the right.