A fun, flexible product like Yoga gives us marketers some really interesting ways to demonstrate its flip and fold and multiple mode functions. So when we came across the group, THE SILHOUETTES™, we exclaimed ah ha! These are the perfect artists to visually represent Yoga’s qualities in body-bending and mind-bending ways. We recently spent a day in Denver, CO with them filming a new, yet unnamed dance performance, choreographed to celebrate the availability of our newest Yoga, the IdeaPad Yoga 11S at Best Buy and on www.lenovo.com. We spent a few minutes chatting with Lynne Waggoner-Patton, creator and director of The Silhouettes about the Yoga dance performance piece.
THE SILHOUETTES YOGA 11S Performance
Q. What did you think when you first saw the Yoga 11S?
A. I was amazed at its flexibility and how it converts to many different shapes making it adaptable to different situations. Because I travel extensively for my work I am constantly struggling with finding a place to work effectively. For example, when I try to work on the airplane and the passenger in front of me leans their seat back, it closes my laptop to a point where I can’t see the screen making it impossible to work! I wish that I had a Yoga laptop when I was on set with America’s Got Talent because it would have helped so much. I wouldn’t have had to drag my computer bag everywhere because the Yoga is so much lighter and smaller. It would have made designing shows in the talent tent, backstage and in the shuttle bus much easier.
Q. Tell us about the creative development process. Where did you start when it came to developing the choreography for this dance performance?
A. When I was first contacted about creating a show for the Yoga I thought it was a perfect fit. THE SILHOUETTES™ create shapes with their bodies using flexibility and adaptability. The Yoga is very similar in the fact that it is extremely flexible and gives the audience, or the consumer, the ability to use the different shapes and adapt to any environment making it extremely versatile… just like us.
The idea to portray the Yoga laptop through our shadow work by moving from one large shape to four different distinct shapes seemed to be the best way to emulate the incredible design. The children in the cast actually held the Yoga laptop and transformed it to each of the four modes so they would have a better understanding of what they were trying to convey. I was a bit nervous at first because I was afraid they would drop it but they moved it with ease and even the youngest member of our cast was successful. They were so fascinated with the way the Yoga moved into four different positions that it was difficult to pry them away from it so we could begin rehearsals.
Q. People probably ask you all the time, but how do you create and map out new shapes?
A. THE SILHOUETTES™ are story tellers through shadow dancing, and the shapes we create are always part of a greater message. This makes it easy to come up with ideas for new shapes – as long as they fit into the story line. We love the challenge of each new performance and our goal is to create beautiful shapes that the audience can recognize. The great part about working with children is the many different sizes and heights we have to work with along with their beautiful spirits. This combination and their willingness to try new shapes is what makes our product very special and a joy to be part of. There is a great deal of laughter during rehearsals - especially at the shapes that are supposed to be a beautiful piece of art and turn out looking like a dragon body with a chipmunk head. The children never give up though and the teamwork and dedication they present makes for a successful outcome. THE SILHOUETTES™ audience is inspired to use their imagination. Similarly, the Yoga users are inspired to use their imagination to configure the different modes to adapt to each environment.
Q. What elements did you want to get across about the Yoga 11S through the performance? What story did you want to tell?
A. The main storyline for the Yoga 11S was to show how one object that looks very familiar can change into four different objects that take it to a completely different level. During rehearsal I kept telling the children that it was just like a transformer toy… you think it’s one thing, which is great, but then you can play with it four different ways which is like having four toys in one (something any kid or adult would love). They jumped on board and offered ideas on how to manipulate the shapes to match the versatility of the Yoga.
THE SILHOUETTES showcase the four modes of the convertible Yoga 11S in a scene with a sweet, dancer-made convertible car.
Q. Tell us about the group. How many members are there, and how has your recent recognition affected everyone?
A. There are 70 cast members on THE SILHOUETTES™ team. I send out casting calls for each new project and the children who are available respond. I then choose the cast that best fits the project. The cast trains at Rocky Mountain School of Dance, Inc. in Arvada Colorado, a studio I’ve owned for 21 years and we lovingly call it ROCKY – HOME OF THE SILHOUETTES™. The values and morals of ROCKY easily transferred over to THE SILHOUETTES™ when I created it in 2009. The most important value is that it’s not about “you” (the performer)… it’s about moving the audience and telling a story that will inspire and move their hearts so they can imagine, dream, believe, give and love.
When we began to understand the magnitude of the recognition we were receiving from our performances on America’s Got Talent, my main goal was to keep the children (and parents) humble and remain true to their values throughout the process. We’ve worked hard to keep the cast and families on task so that greed and promises of fame and fortune do not alter their spirits or take them down the wrong path in life. We continue to help organizations that help homeless children and children in need. We’ve donated over $60,000 to help with this cause and will continue our efforts in the future. There are over 1.5 million homeless children, whose average age is 9 years old, on the streets in America alone and we intend to do something about that. Denver’s Road Home, Mt. St. Vincent’s Home For Children, The Tanager Place in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and the Irish Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children are just a few of the organizations we are helping in their fight to save children. By keeping this mission alive, it helps ground the children in the cast and reminds them that although we have been very blessed, there are millions of children less fortunate and we must continue to share our blessings.
Q. Talk to us about the group. How did you get started? What was your inspiration?
A. I was hired to create a show for a corporate event in Denver and the production company asked me to create a show using shadows, pictures and dance. They wanted me to create something that would help the audience remember Colorado. I suggested we move the screen downstage and have the dancers create a shape and then the photograph of that shape would appear on the screen overlaying their shadows and revealing the photograph to the audience. They received a standing ovation and a tremendous positive response from the international audience. We performed for many corporate events after that first performance and then America’s Got Talent saw a clip of our show and asked us to audition. I sent a few dancers to the audition and they presented a DVD of our work and the international recognition began. Every single time the children took the stage I told them, “This is it! This is the last time so enjoy every moment because it’s special” … and then they would pass them through to the next round again and again. It was the most exciting, thrilling, scary, emotional roller coaster ride of our lives and we have all learned so much from the experience. A whole new world has been opened up to us now and we are blessed to be given the opportunity to create shows for companies such as Lenovo.
Q. How do you use technology to choreograph dance performances?
A. THE SILHOUETTES™ would not exist without technology. I use my computer to select and edit music, photographs, videos, communicate with clients and cast, book travel for the cast and crew, interact and communicate with our fans, Skype with producers, connect to the projectors to run the shows and much more. Coming from a choreographer and dance instructor who started out using records to teach, I am amazed at the flexibility and speed technology has provided. I no longer stand outside of the music store waiting for them to open so I can try to find music. I can search at any time, any place and in any situation and therefore I am able to be a flexible and adaptable company and meet production timelines and changes easily. It will be even easier now that the Yoga has been created.
Not all of the scenes rehearsed made their way to the final cut. In this pose, dancers create Yoga’s laptop mode.