If you haven’t seen her group dance this year, you are most likely living under an SL mesh rock, because JenzZa Misfit and her dance troupe Misfit Dance & Performance Art have been making the rounds and performing at exciting venues like Fantasy Faire and Relay for Life celebrations around SL. She has an interesting and fresh take on the SL dance world, preferring to often combine art and education, using her dances and shows to tell stories and inspire the audience to think beyond “pretty!, shiny!”.
To understand how JenzZa got here, you have to go back to the beginning to see where she’s been. JenzZa was introduced to SL by a friend in 2006. Unlike a lot of us who got into the game in fits and starts, she jumped right in. In her first year she was interviewing and writing for a SL magazine, she interviewed Bruce Willis, the SIM, Muse Isle was mentioned in Rolling Stone Magazine and she even knows my personal hero, Ira Flato, from Science Friday on NPR. (yup… supergeek status confirmed!). She met the owner of Muse Isle, which is one of the oldest live music venues in SL, and when he had to leave SL, she took over the SIM and had been running it ever since.
JenzZa was well on her way to being “a SL overachiever” to use her words and finding a way to make SL her fulltime RL job. Most of us can only dream of this, but JenzZa had done it! There she was, writing, producing, hosting, coordinating. Then she met a computer whiz and together they took about 9 months to develop a product allowing couples to walk, fly, swim and teleport together, among other things, called RendeZvous. It’s been on the market since 2007 and the second generation of it was released in 2013. I don’t know about you gentle reader, but in my first year of second life, I was working very hard on learning chat etiquette and how to rez and unpack a box vs. wearing it around!
How in the world does someone who is this busy fall into the dance world? JenzZa saw Klark Harvey perform “Singing in the Rain” and she was hooked.
“Theater dancing ..is like a gift that just fell on my head ..about 9 months ago :)”.
She found the Spot On tools and was well on her way to becoming a dance addict like the rest of us. She spent some time dancing with groups where she found her own creative voice, and decided that it was time to branch out and create her own group. She knew that she had a very clear idea of what she wanted to present; dances that were not only fun and pretty, but she also wanted to combine an educational aspect to them. Not that she doesn’t do fun and pretty! I have fond memories of a fantastic set to “Holiday Road”, or as I like to think of it… The Chevy Chase Vacation theme song.
JenzZa builds her own sets, mixes her own music, picks the costumes and choreographs all of her dances. Her troupe is make up of some of her best friends and they love to sit on movers, look fabulous and help to tell her stories. This is how she describes her vision and where she sees herself going with dance:
“.. and because I had worked with so many education projects in the past … I knew it was something I could do more with than just present it for fun so a broader audience ..than our own stages so to speak.”
On set building: “Sets .. I am not a “builder ” .. I don’t create the objects ..I buy them .. find them in inv .. lol.. whatever .. and put them together .. so I am building.”
One of her first large projects was her Butterfly Strong dance that she created to be performed for Relay for Life and as a result, she was invited to perform it at Fantasy Faire, where the Misfits danced it for 12 days in a row. It was seen by over 500 people! That was actually the first dance I ever saw of JenzZa’s, though I didn’t catch it at Fantasy Faire… I lucked out when she performed it on the sailing sim where I live.
She has been guesting recently at the Empire Room on Friday nights, so I have been lucky to be able to see more of her fabulous creations. Last week she performed a dance to “Same Love” by Macklemore, and her set was built by a famous Italian artist. It was amazing. This was one of her educational performances, where she used the song and set and choreography to tell a story of self-awareness, discovery, acceptance and love of who you are not matter what that is. It was a beautiful dance that clearly showed the audience that knowing who you are and what you want is truly the path to happiness and love.
JenzZa has many contacts, both inworld and out, thanks to her years of working in live performance. Some of her inworld work is going to be making its way into the mainstream again this fall:
“Some of my work …will be featured this fall on a public access TV thing ..in NJ .. I dont have the details yet.”
She is currently performing an hour show called “Mosaic” at Muse Isle. I also got a sneak peek at a new dance that she is working on that involves turtles, a shack and the bayou… and that’s all I’m going to say about that!
The guts it takes to branch out and do all that she is doing, building a dance troupe, taking responsibility for all aspects of the creative process, marketing herself and the group and getting her message out is a daunting undertaking for even the most seasoned dancers. JenzZa does it with class and sass and a joy that is palpable to the audience. You must see JenzZa and her Misfits perform! They will be out and around and I guarantee that you will leave inspired and itching to find a song that helps you to tell a story, or just bring a huge smile to the faces of the audience in front of you.