Facets and Rabbit Holes

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Workshop Schedule

Dance Resource Posts, Tips, & Tricks


As a seasoned and passionate dancer in SL, if I can save one person hours of frustration by learning from my mistakes, goofs, and “what was I thinking????” then my day is complete.  If I can inspire others as they inspire me, then it’s a good day.  If someone uses what they learned, makes it their own, and excels to new heights they enjoy….that’s an amazing day.

My motto:  there are no rules, observe everything and be open, do what makes sense to you, and most of all – have fun!  ~ Eva

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Madness Matters

I think madness matters when you’re creating. It’s that insane place where anything is possible, ideas run rampant, and reason takes a back seat. Almost 90% of the time my ideas twist and turn as I bring them to life, but I think that’s what gives it flow and energy..not being too rigid. If I was building a house…probably good idea to stick religiously to the plans. Creating a dance? There’s definitely wiggle room! I think it’s those little details that can really make a performance special.

So what’s happening? “F” words. (No not THAT word!) Focus…feasibility…fun. Figuring out what I can accomplish within the time I have and what’s most important to me. Big one…time wasters. So much easier to sit there browsing the news for an hour than trying to work through a creative block. What does it get me? Lots of anxiety! (Both from the news and from procrastinating.) It’s good to step away sometimes…take that mental breather. Ever wonder why some of the best ideas happen in the shower? Because you aren’t overthinking it!

So…thoughts of the day.

  • MocapAnimations has moved their sim and has a free 1000L GIFTCARD FOR GROUP MEMBERS (ENDS 2/27/2021). I think the join fee is 350L, they occasionally do the gift cards for group members, and they have some great animations. I love the contemporary and queen packs. Gift card is on the back wall, go straight after entering the store. Click on it and choose deliver. New LM: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/MocapAnimations/131/16/24
  • Paragon Dance Animations is moving, 2/26/2021 is their grand opening & 2 year anniversary. DJ’s, giveaways, and all kinds of fun 10 am to 7 pm. Landmark still under wraps so make sure to check!
  • Be nice to your dancers. Name your movers (I use numbers: 1 LIGHT etc, 2 LIGHT etc, 3 LIGHT etc), etc. This let’s your dancer use area search to find their mover and sit on it without camming around madly. Especially good if the movers are hidden.
  • I have an entirely new organizational system. A OneNote notebook for dance ideas, workshop notes, venue details, DJ notes, etc. and a small binder with a calendar and pages for daily tasks, dances coming up, goals, bills to pay, etc. (have to have internet – right?). Last but not least, new organization of my inventory – especially for upcoming shows and when I dance with someone else. I feel better when I know what’s coming up and where to find info/things. So far, so good!
  • Workshop news: I’ll be setting up/playing with a new Discord channel/server for Harleyquin Workshops. This will let me share my screen for classes about editing music with Audacity, etc.
  • March workshops will be announced this weekend…finally!

I just stood in MocapAnimations writing the second part of this blog entry…oops. They probably think I’m crazy – oh wait! that ship has sailed…grins.

Happy dancing and stay crazy!
~ Eva

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MetaHarpers (MST), Spot On, and Sneetches

Over the last few days, I’ve been questioning two beliefs that I’ve always held true – is it possible to be independent and that a teacher can teach anything. What brings about these doubts? Dance systems in SL. I love tools, and I will use any tool that allows me to do more and/or makes things easier. Exploring what MetaHarpers can do has been on my list. I’ve been asked so often about MST that I planned on teaching it too.

MetaHarpers and Spot On both provide complete dance performance systems for SL. Everything from dance animations/choreography, movement, rezzing sets, creating dance routines to control an entire performance, and more.

For MetHarpers, the key component is MetaHarpers Show Tools (MST) which consolidates most everything using this one system and is the only tool needed for dance performances. They also offer two different Choreo HUDs, a Dancers edition and a Directors edition. The dancers edition can be used to create dance sequences or freestyling up to 80 people.

Spot On offers separate tools for each function – Smooth Dancer HUD for animations, Choreographer Design System or Formation System for dancer movement, Stage Manager for rezzing sets, and Performance Director for easily creating routines and controlling all of these functions from one HUD.

Both systems have their strengths, weaknesses, and things one can do but the other can’t. MetaHarpers has controlled audience view (cams) which allow you to control what the audience sees, creating a unique experience. Spot On seems to be better at moving movers larger distances such as understage to onstage. Neither is “bad”, neither is the “right one” or “wrong one” to use. I feel like Dr. Seuss and the “Sneetches” story:

Now, the Star-Bell Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.

But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches
Would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.”
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort
“We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!”
And, whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
They’d hike right on past them without even talking.

One of the dance groups I belong to is moving to everyone using MST for performances. I must say, I’m starting to like the Dancers Edition Choreo HUD for freestyling and inviting people. With up to 80 dancers, I’m definitely looking at it hard for running crowd dances. It might be an improvement from what I’m using now.

For dance performances, I use Spot On. I love Spot On. I’ve used it for years, I know it, I’m comfortable with it. In a recent workshop, I shared info about a number of different tools – dance systems, animation HUDs, rezzers, etc. Do you know what I found? I unintentionally highlighted the Spot On tools and was more lackluster about the MetaHarpers tools. That definitely isn’t what I call independent. Is it because I don’t feel comfortable with MST? Know it as well?

When there are two competing systems and you are an avid user of one of them – is it possible to teach both systems equally? or will I always highlight the “weakness” of one over the other? Is it better to learn MST from someone who is as passionate about MST as I am for Spot On? Is it doing a disservice to others that may find the other system is a better tool for them but were perhaps dissuaded by my approach?

I’ve heard comments from MST users that were a lot like the Sneetches. That because they used MST it was somehow considered “less” or “not as good” as using Spot On. They were judged based on this fact. They didn’t have “stars on thars”. The Sneetches had a good message on that.

In dance – should the tools really matter? I don’t think so. What should matter is what someone creates, whether they use two spoons and duct tape or the fanciest dance system available to get there.

While I don’t believe I’ll teach MST at this time, I’m now aware of my unconscious emphasis of Spot On when communicating about different tools and can consciously even it out.

Learn from others, explore, research, try the different tools available – and make up your own mind. Don’t let someone else’s passion (or lack there-of) about a system be a factor in your decision.

To all the Sneetches, stars on thars or not, happy dancing!

~ Eva

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Deep Thoughts and Technicolors

I’ve missed rambling here, one of the reasons I created this blog. Have you ever had so much packed into your brain that you spun in circles not knowing wear to begin? Yep, that.

For me, SL is an extension of me. No matter how hard we try I’m not sure we can truly separate RL from SL. I am who I am, my thoughts and feelings still me in both worlds. What I share and with whom are very different however – the goofy fun DJ side I can let loose in SL…not so much RL. (They’d up my medication) Dance and creating in SL is an extension of my personal art. Dancing in the kitchen is about as close as I get with that in RL.

My point is…the motivations, drive, unconscious fears that sometimes stop me in my tracks are the same in both worlds. Whether it’s learning new skills for work or creating in SL, both are testing my boundaries. I procrastinate in both (imagine that…ha).

I’ve been reading/listening to a book on “Deep Work” (which isn’t just for work). It’s recognizing that space where you are intensely focused and find your most creative and thinking self. It’s about how we as a society have begun to lose this ability.

To reach in and find that technicolor place where imagination and deep thinking roam free generally takes a recommended 90 minute block of time without the “quick satisfaction” distractions such as checking facebook/emails/etc. that draw our attention away.

I find that I procrastinate relaxing into creativity more often than not…looking at my list of to do’s which is 80% easy things that make me happy when I cross them off the list. I can say “see what I did today?” and point to all those items. Some are pretty necessary – wash dishes, pay bills, grab that Abranimations advent calendar gift, but others could wait.

The other thing I sometimes do? Schedule so many commitments that time isn’t left to really focus and create something new that makes me really happy. Some of my favorite dance performances have come together pretty easily, others have been evolution over weeks and months. The key to those? For each I sank into that deep space where creativity took over and I stopped overthinking or rushing.

So today, I let my mind drift and consider my motivations. What makes me happy when I create? What feeds me? What inspires me? This applies to dance, work, and even home. Finding these helps me find the key to unlocking the door and stepping into that creative space – instead of distracting myself browsing the news websites.

May your imagination fly free and creativity abound.

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Next Workshop: 11/7 & November Schedule

Due to RL juggling and Halloween madness, the 10/24 & 10/28 workshops have been rescheduled to Wed 11/4 and Sat 11/7. Note: there will now be 2 different workshops each week, both offered on Saturdays and Wednesdays.

Wed Nov 4th @ 4:30 pm & Sat Nov 7th @ 10 am:

Creating Dance in a Virtual World: Choosing Music

During this workshop it’s all about the music! We explore different styles of music, transitions, pauses, the audience, ideas, inspiration, and soooo much more!

Length: 1 hour
Everyone welcome!

Wed Nov 4th @ 6:00 pm & Sat Nov 7th @ 8:30 am:

Spot On Smooth Dancer Animation HUD Class 1: I Wanna Dance!

Let me introduce you to the Smooth Dancer! During this hands on workshop we focus on the basics – loading animations, inviting others to dance, playing animations, how to reinvite and remove dancers. We also review what it can do and why it comes with a toolbox!

Goal: Feel familiar with your HUD and ready for a second date!

Length: 1 hour

Everyone welcome! Smooth Dancer HUD not required!
Prefer to listen and follow along? Comfortable seating is provided!

Sat Nov 14th @ 8:30 am & Wed Nov 18th @ 6:00 pm:

Spot On Smooth Dancer Animation HUD Class 2: Creating Sequences

Sat Nov 14th @ 10 am & Wed Nov 18th @ 4:30 pm:

Creating Dance in a Virtual World: Choosing Animations

Sat Nov 21st @ 8:30 am & Wed Nov 25th @ 6:00 pm:

Spot On Smooth Dancer Animation HUD Class 3: Tips & Tricks

Sat Nov 21st @ 10 am & Wed Nov 25th @ 4:30 pm:

Creating Dance in a Virtual World: Transitions

———————————————————————

Late arrivals for Activity Workshops:

If arriving after an activity workshop has begun, please find a seat to listen and follow along. Kindly minimize disruption as possible. Thank you!


Disclosure: Harleyquin Learning Center isn’t affiliated with or receives compensation from any dance tool creator. Expanded tool workshops are planned for the future. Use whatever tools work for you and always keep an open mind!

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My new favorite thing… Animation Name List Generator

I’m always on the hunt for tools and tricks to make things easier or better, and this is one thing that’s been on my list for a looong time. So what is it?

Animation Name Printer

It’s an inexpensive script that you add to your animation HUD. Click on your HUD and it will list all the animations in local chat, then the script self-deletes.

But didn’t Spot On add this to the Smooth Dancer HUD, you ask? Well they did, but each animation name is in a different chat message, so you get all that date/time/hud name junk before the name of the animation.

This hud lists 30 animations in each chat message until it’s listed all animations. No junk stuff to erase/ignore/trim off! Just animation names!

Why would I use this? When I’m creating sequences, I load up a HUD with animations that I think will work then create the choreography as I listen to the music. As I create my sequence notecard, now I have a nice clean list of animation names to copy and paste from.

Easy peasy.

<pictures here>

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Excuse the construction dust – Workshops are BACK!

You heard it right – Harleyquin workshops are back with a remix! What’s a remix, you ask? Taking the best pieces, shaking up the environment, and putting a fun and playful spin on things!

LM: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bluebell%20Island/59/72/3403

Coming up in October:

Sat Oct 3rd @ 10 am & Wed Oct 7th @ 6 pm:

Creating Dance in a Virtual World: Music, Movement, Message, and the Kitchen Sink

During this workshop we look at some of the key elements in creating a dance: choosing music, animations, movement and tools, the dance message and connection with the audience, costumes and sets, special effects and particles

Length: 1 hour
Everyone welcome!

Sat Oct 10th @ 10 am & Wed Oct 14th @ 6 pm:

Creating Dance in a Virtual World: Dance Tools for Animation, Movement, and Coordination

During this workshop we talk about different types of dance tools, a suggested process for learning, and tools available from Spot On, MetaHarpers, and Barre.

Sat Oct 24th @ 10 am & Wed Oct 28th @ 4:30 pm:

Creating Dance in a Virtual World: Choosing Music

During this workshop it’s all about the music! We explore different styles of music, transitions, pauses, the audience, and soooo much more!

Length: 1 hour
Everyone welcome!

Sat Oct 24th @ 8:30 am & Wed Oct 28th @ 6 pm:

Spot On Smooth Dancer Animation HUD Class 1: I Wanna Dance!

Let me introduce you to the Smooth Dancer! During this hands on workshop we focus on the basics – loading animations, inviting others to dance, playing animations, how to reinvite and remove dancers. We also review what it can do and why it comes with a toolbox!

Goal: Feel familiar with your HUD and ready for a second date!

Length: 1 hour

Everyone welcome! Smooth Dancer HUD not required!
Prefer to listen and follow along? Comfortable seating is provided!

Stay Tuned for November!


Late arrivals for Activity Workshops:

If arriving after the workshop has begun, please find a seat to listen and follow along. Kindly minimize disruption as possible. Thank you!


Disclosure: Harleyquin Workshops aren’t affiliated with or receive compensation from any dance tool creator. Expanded tool workshops are planned for the future. Use whatever tools work for you and always keep an open mind!

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Inspiration, voices, and letting go

I had to pause for a moment as I thought these words in my head: “when I met P!nk”….

Then I realize – I haven’t actually met her. I was so very lucky to have been able to attend one of her concerts earlier this year. If you’ve seen her…you feel like you met her. She’s so real…she just lays it all out there. She gives it everything she has, and it was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. The audience milling about outside the arena was a literal melting pot, and I felt overwhelmed with…acceptance. No difference, no judgement, each of us were unique and I felt as one with every single person there. I almost put “but I felt” but there are no “buts” – there is only and. and I felt as one.

In society today, acceptance of who we are feels harder. Maybe part of it’s the media, a plethora of other things. What I know is me. My circle of influence, the people I surround myself with, and me, myself. I can’t change the world, but perhaps…just perhaps I can share that feeling of acceptance with others. That feeling of oneness. A friend shared with me these words yesterday, “there is room for everyone”, and there is. I may not understand everyone’s choices – but do I have to?

Today, instead of worrying if what I do is good enough or that I’m letting people down. If I’m “past my prime”. Instead of letting judgement cloud my head, worrying about who has stars on thars…today, I will focus on being me. Laying it all out there and giving it everything I have. Not think about what is expected, but releasing my voice…loudly. Letting go. Dismantling the wall inside.

I’m so very moved by this, and thank a very special person for sharing it with me.

Blessed be. Namaste. May the lord keep you and watch over you.
~ Eva

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Reawakening the Madness

Did you ever know something, believe in it, then realize you’re not living it? Sometimes it’s the universe that gives you a nudge, or a shove…or a friend, comrade, or a random person even. I forget sometimes that believing isn’t enough. It’s living it that makes a difference.

The words that are running through my head at a louder and louder volume: Be who you are. The best version of you. Don’t be what you think others want you to be, what you feel pressured to be.

My style. This one was like a smack upside the head. I like exploring new dance styles and ideas, but for me right now my creativity wants to live in what speaks to me. The songs I chose for dances are great songs, but they aren’t me. They feel hollow when I think about creating. My ideas basically repeats of videos or what would be expected. So what’s my style? I’m drawn to epic, to quirky, to dark and powerful. Not always, but that’s my space right now. Why fight it? Isn’t art about expression? Dance is expression and definitely art in my book. I forgot why I create for a looong time – not to perform, but to express, to release my creativity and enjoy the process (most of the time! ha).

I think ambition isn’t about having to be the best, or the most well known, or the richest. Sure, many might define it that way – especially hedge fund managers and car salesman. Ambition to me is the drive, the inner drive to accomplish something. Not for glory, not for accolades, but because we believe. So…now I’m thinking, what is my ambition? Time flies way too fast, it’s so easy to drift along on the waves and forget about the things you want to accomplish. I like drifting on the waves, and sometimes we all need those waves to rebalance.

Time has flown since I last posted. A lot has changed in, for, and around me. A lot has stayed the same. Simplify is one of my new mantras.

Don’t apologize for who I am is another. People can accept me as I am or not, and that’s ok. I’m me. I have my own style. I can’t be someone else, and trying to be someone else, something else is draining.

The third, the third is asking myself why. Why do I dance, why do I teach? Because I have to? Because I feel responsible to? Because I “have to”? or because I love to? What has the dancers in my head twirling in happiness? What creates that constant underlying burn of excitement and ideas? What grabs my heart and twists it and seems to take on a life of it’s own?

Welcome to the madness. 🙂

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It is a good day

A dear friend has made a difficult but wonderful choice for her, changing her focus and direction, and embracing new things. I am so very proud of her.

The world evolves, things transition, people leave your life and new ones come in. We evolve. I remember when I was in my 20’s that I thought by the time I was in my 40’s I’d have everything figured out. Nope, didn’t happen. I continue to explore, to learn about myself, fall down and brush myself off.

My biggest questions and challenges right now? Learning to say no. Learning what makes me happy, what I find fulfilling (two different things!). Exploring new skills and building on the ones I have. Working on my tendency to withdraw into my “inner sanctum” – leaving others to wonder where I went.

Most of all, I awoke today thinking about my priorities. What is important to me? How do I want to focus my time?

Reading a book recently, I stumbled over a new term – “micro obsession”. My jaw dropped and I know I said “wow” aloud. Bells rang and angels sang. A micro obsession is basically becoming absolutely and overwhelming consumed with something. It pulls attention away from other things, consuming our thoughts and even our dreams. aka – total opposite of balanced.

I’m not sure when having this tendency (which I always called “jumping in with both feet, and hands, and head, and every other body part”) began, but it was definitely way back when AOL and dial up were the norm, or before. Want an example: I’d become infatuated with Revolutionary War Reenacting – I think I saw it on tv or read a book. I loved camping, I was a scout leader, I love traditional ways and the colonial period always resonated with me. I went to events, joined a reenacting group, began studying everything I could get my hands on, made clothing for my boys and spouse. (and me of course.) It was always in the back of my mind – go to a flea market? I’d look for wooden bowls to fit the period. I went to a work conference and lugged a suitcase of fabric so I could work on the cold weather breeches for my boys.

Eventually, things shifted. Katrina hit, gas prices rose through the roof. I couldn’t afford to drive all up and down the east coast. My son was at the age where he’d join the ranks and spend more time with the men, but things didn’t click and it created anxiety for me. Did I tell you I skated with a roller derby team for a while? Fresh meat. That ended when I broke my tailbone. It was amazing while I was involved, then it passed. (Though I still have the goal to get back on my speed skates at the local roller rink).

Some of these micro obsessions have settled into “normal” passions in my life – camping, incorporating elements of my time ‘living’ in the colonial period, quilting.

When you step away from something, or jump off the treadmill, it gives you time in that “cooling off” period to determine what you really want. You. Not expectations, or “have to’s”, but what is fulfilling. For me here in SL, I have my hobbies – plantpets, DFS farming (I have chickens RL too), teaching, and dancing.

Who you talk to, who you focus on, is all an investment of energy and time. I have no patience for rude people, or pushy people, and I don’t date in SL. I’m too nice – not fair to them or me.

So today, I’m cleaning out the clutter – in my house and in my head. I’d say my inventory but you wouldn’t see me for 3 years. Searching youtube for house cleaning inspiration videos – do you believe they have them? Mine could use a deep clean, but *definitely* need inspiration for that.

Thank you to those who have been so supportive of me, who believe in me, and who have been so very patient. Many of you may not even know what an inspiration and impact you have made on my life, even with the briefest of exchanges.

I feel good, and inspired, passionate, and hopeful. There is no limit to the number of new beginnings you can have.

Namaste,
~ Eva

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The best laid plains…no workshop tonight

It seems the fates have alternate plans for me tonight as I’m still at work until an unknown time.

The Smooth Dancer workshop planned for tonight will be rescheduled and posted on the calendar and blogs.

ps – please send chocolate and pepsi!

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