Facets and Rabbit Holes

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                                       Dance Resource Posts, Tips, & Tricks  


As a seasoned and passionate dancer in SL, I freely share and support others in their own dance journeys.  My beliefs:  question everything, learn from everything, take from it what you will and do it your own way.  Have many teachers, no one is a master, no one knows “THE WAY”.  I teach based on what I know – my own foundation, what I have learned, my own ways – but they are not the only ways.  Enjoy the ride, speak from the soul and create art with your dance.  We are all always learning, always growing.  Release the music from within…your way.  ~ Eva

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Choreography Design System – Movers move for dancers not in that dance

Scenario:

  • You are using the Performance Director
  • You are performing 2 dances – dance 1 has three dancers in it, dance 2 has seven dancers in it
  • Your Performance Director has 2 notecards in it – one for dance 1 and one for dance two
  • Movers 1, 2, and 3 have two notecards in them – dance 1 and dance 2
  • Movers 4,5,6,7 have one notecard in them – dance 2
  • You are using the same movers for both dances, and you are going to keep them all rezzed for the show

Issue:

When you play the routine for Dance 1 – dancers 4, 5, 6, and 7 move too!  They aren’t even in that dance!  <insert strangled cry here>

Why did they move?

When you load a performance director routine, this tells the movers which notecard to activate.  Have you ever noticed that your text labels change when you do this?  Maybe it changed from Dancer 1 to Werewolf?  Now the mover notecard for that routine is active and the mover will follow the movements for that routine when you press play.

But wait – movers 4, 5, 6, and 7 don’t have notecards for that routine!

They don’t, but movers still want to move and when they hear the Performance Director shout “GO!” like the great wizard of Oz.  They are going to follow one of the notecards they do have in the mover when you really want them to stay put and wait their turn.

The Answer:

Dummy notecards!  (yes, that is the technical term – I think…)

The movers for dancers 4, 5, 6, and 7 need a mover notecard for dance 1 too.  No, they aren’t in that dance, but they need a mover notecard that basically says “stay right here” for this routine.

I’m assuming you’re using a backstage routine/notecards so that all your movers wait backstage.  If this is the case, copy the backstage notecard for that mover, rename it the name of your 1st routine notecard, and put it into that mover.  Now mover 4 has a notecard for each routine, and for dance 1 the mover is being told to stay in its backstage position.

To sum it up:  All movers rezzed need instructions for each dance, much like military bootcamp.  You have to tell some of the recruits to stay, and some of the recruits to go run that 10 mile course.

 

Creating Dummy Notecards (a mover notecard that tells the mover not to move)

  1. Decide where you want the mover to stay when not in a dance routine.  I usually go to the main dance venue I dance at to do this.
  2. Rez out your stage manager and make sure it says it is configuring for that stage in local chat.
  3. Put out a mover ring where you decided you want the mover to stay.
  4. Rez one waypoint in the center of the ring.
  5. Click on the designer ring and select “get notecard”.
  6. Create a mover notecard with this information and add the additional commands such as @text Dancer4, @spot_dancer 4
  7. Name this notecard the name of the routine the dancer ISN’T in.  In this case, they aren’t in Dance 1, so I’d name that movement card “Dance 1”
  8. Add this notecard into dancer 4’s mover.
  9. Now when you play Dance 1, mover 4 won’t move.  The notecard for that dance in the mover tells it where to stand and to stay there.
  10. Repeat this for dancers 5, 6, and 7.
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Harry Potter, grins, and fun formations!

I can hear you mumble…it’s a homecoming assembly.  I can tell you mine were never like this and had more cheese than Hardee’s.  These kids can dance!

If you want a grin, love Harry Potter, and want to see some cool formations and moves – just watch!  Very inspiring and definitely puts the fun in dance!

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Geek alert – Metabolt and Dance alts

I am a geek.  I love being a geek.  I’ve always sought ways to do things better and faster with a computer.  That’s what I do RL.  Second Life is a mecca for me and the geekdom I’m surrounded with.  I often want to bow down at the brilliance of others who create and know spectacularly geeky things.

geek-cool

Have you ever observed a geek throw down?  “I started programming on a Commodore”…”I had a Trash 80″…”I didn’t even have a hard drive”…”my first PC had a handle so I could carry it and hook it to a TV”…”remember bulletin boards?”…”text based gaming?”….”oh yeah!  cool!”…”<insert group impersonation of a 300 bps modem connecting, here>

A big shout out to Niecho for introducing me to Metabolt.  Metabolt is a text based viewer for SL.  Why would I want a text based viewer you wonder?

When I’m working through a dance I hate tormenting others for the hours I spend.  It’s also sometimes hard to log in 3 or 4 dance alts on my system without coming to a crawl.

Metabolt is a great alternative – lets me log in dance alts, have them sit on a pad, and accept the dance invites.  Because it’s a text viewer (no graphics), it uses almost zero resources.  It’s actually not hard to use for what I need.

I’m still figuring it out.  First thing?  I found how to create a file that logs all 6 dance alts in with one double click.  Awesome!  this lets me test dances thoroughly until I’m ready for the dancers to practice it!  No more testing just one or two pads at a time, rinse and repeat.  (I had a hard time sleeping after that thrill! – it’s true!)

Next?  Ways to move them around faster and identify them easily is what I want to figure out.  (Niecho has the skittles brigade and an entire rainbow.  I wasn’t that creative.  ha)  Being able to edit a mover notecard while a dancer is on it is awesome, btw.

Ok, before I start drooling again, info about metabolt is below along with the download link.  It’s no longer being actively developed but does exactly what I need for testing dances and works great on my Windows 10 machine.

Stay calm and geek on!
~ Eva


Description from:

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Third_Party_Viewer_Directory/METAbolt

METAbolt is a text client with rich features to enable users to perform most important functions in SL.

The aim of METAbolt is to provide a thin client which people can use:

  • at work
  • on the move
  • on low spec machines
  • on low/metered internet bandwidth
  • to keep connected to SL while working on processor intensive software such as Photoshop, Visual Studio and many others
  • PC/Laptops with no graphics cards or with SL incompatible graphics cards
  • to run useful bots such as customer services, modelling, security and direct group invites.

METAbolt is fully accessible and compatible with JAWS.

METAbolt works in SL as well as any other grids based on OpenSIM. However, METAbolt is primarily developed for SL.

Download:

https://bitbucket.org/METAbolt/metabolt.bitbucket.org/downloads/METAbolt.v0.9.71.BETA.exe

metabolt-31

 

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Harleyquin Workshops Hiatus & News

Thank you to everyone who attends the workshops I present. To rebalance, refocus, and restructure I’ll be taking a hiatus from teaching until sometime in November.

At least one additional instructor will part of the teaching team – CowGrl Quan whom many of you know. She will be teaching on all aspects of the Maitreya mesh body over multiple workshops. I’m very excited to have CowGrl sharing her knowledge with us all!

Please keep checking http://www.harleyquinadventure.com for new posts and updates!

I appreciate you all and will see you in the dance world until then.

~ Eva

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Harleyquin Workshops for Today! Oct 9th

Two fun workshops today as we dive into the paint & effects!  Creativity reigns as we focus first on textures, then run right over to play with particles!  As always, hands on opportunities in a fun and relaxing environment.

4 PM SLT – Textures – 3d textures, scaling, and more

Seemingly simple, textures can make the difference between a well designed set or one that distracts or even detracts from your dance.  Our focus today will be how textures can be used for set design, but many aspects can also be applied to costume.

During this workshop we will explore quality, scaling and offsets, 3D textures, how textures can effect lag, and more.

Workshop Details

5 PM SLT – Particles for Performance

During this workshop we review the different types of particles, ways to effectively use them to enhance your dance, trigger types and methods, considerations and resources. Includes demonstrations, and extras.  Does not include making your own particles, but three tools used for that purpose will be demonstrated.  Particle HUDs and creation tools will be available for others to try at the end of the workshop.  (1 hour, Particle Studio)

Workshop Details

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Transition, Forgiveness, and the Care and Feeding of Me

I realize I haven’t rambled lately.  One of the reasons I created this blog was as an outlet of thoughts and emotions.  Perhaps they’d click with some of you, perhaps others could learn a bit from them.  I find it easier to put my thoughts to paper (or the keyboard in this case).  Make some sense of order, and also in a way to let go of all the pent up chaos inside.  Things are usually pretty easy when things are going well and smoothly.  It’s how we handle the chaos that defines us I believe.

Have you ever gone through a period of transition, where you felt like you were going to burn up with the intensity of it?  Where you felt utterly exhausted for no reason and were searching for some sense of normalcy?  I, like so many, have my own personal challenges…yet why do I fear to list them here?  That I will be judged and deemed broken or undesirable?  Dismissed?  Why are we constantly reminded that we should always portray a strong and perfect image?  I’m not perfect, I don’t believe anyone is.  If someone thinks less of me for being who I am, then that is their loss.  We each have our own personal challenges, why can’t we own them, accept them, and be who we are?  What people think of me is their business.  It should not change me being true to myself.

I know when I’ve failed.  Failed is such a strong word, but sometimes the only one I accept of myself.  I know when I’ve messed up, made a mistake, done less than I could, or missed a deadline.  It is true, we are such hard critics of ourselves, expecting perfection.  Sometimes it’s a self fulfilling prophecy – so afraid of messing up, that we do.

I’ve found myself in the past week comparing myself to others.  Something I always say not to do, and in comparison I consider myself a failure.  There are two parts to this.  When I get lax, feeling like I’m great at something, the universe comes rolling it and reminds me to be humble.  Being humble reminds me not to assume anything, to prepare, pay attention to details, make the extra effort, to focus…and most importantly, to breathe and do my best.  That if something happens, I can overcome it.

What did comparing myself to someone else do?  Made me feel worse, inadequate.  As I do some soul searching today, I see this.  It accomplished nothing.  I am me, I am not someone else.  I have my own personality, creativity, ways of doing things.  I put those out there for the world to see.  I continue to grow and improve.  Learning from my mistakes.  I am grateful for those who have confidence in me, who may enjoy what I give.  This isn’t a competition as to who is the best.  I equate dance is this world as I would a painter.  We create from our souls and our passion.  What we create depends on the mental and emotional space we are in – such as Picasso and his blue period.  What inspires each of us changes over time, and that’s as it should be.

taking care of myselfMany of you know I recently moved my workshops to be next to Winds of the Sahara Cabaret.  Some of you may know of the recent changes and the necessity of my moving my workshops again.

“It is no problem” I said, being their new home is the same size as the old.

As I put together the workshop area again, which hadn’t been completed before the move, I realize that I wasn’t listening to my own inner sense of self.  Merely going through the motions.

I need stability, a sense of order.  I kept going as always – doing things to cope with my inner turmoil but not ease it or resolve it.  Several good friends reminded me that I need to take care of myself – to relax, to meditate, instead of using my coping mechanisms such as sorting things.  To be patient with myself.  When the inner turmoil takes hold, it’s impossible to focus and causes fatigue.

Chaos can also lead to change, I remember, as I begin to see and come out the other side.  Winds was merely a building to me.  It was the people, audience and staff, who made it what it was.  Moonshadow Dancers has been born from the ashes of what had been.  Many of the people rising from the ashes with me.  New beginnings.

Harleyquin Learning Center once again has a home, in a way also from the ashes.  A time to think and to plan.  To embrace what teaching and the workshops mean to me, and also new opportunities.

I give myself permission to accept what was is past and move forward, instead of pretendingfeed inner demons this wasn’t an emotional upheaval for me.  I give myself permission to forgive myself for recent mistakes I’ve made.  I’ve learned, I can overcome, and I can only do my best.  Inside my head, that little voice will always tell me the worst – no one will ever want you to DJ/perform/teach again.  I am stronger than that negative voice.

I reinforce my own needs, though I often think of others first, to take care of myself.  To only commit to what I can accomplish and enjoy, to meditate, to laugh, and to spend time feeding the soul.

I am humble and thankful.  Be true to yourself and enjoy what you do.

With love and light,
~ Eva

 

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Beginning Your Own Troupe/Venue – thoughts, suggestions, and observations

I was recently approached by someone creating their own troupe and asked for suggestions.  After sitting and thinking for a while, this was my reply:

straight flush
“You got to know when to hold ’em,
Know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away,
And know when to run.”

Actually, that wasn’t my response but I forgot how much I love that song – and there IS truth in that statement.  I had two replies for this person, actually.  Klark Harvy of JAPA Academy recently held a presentation on being a Performance Director – director of a troupe/venue.  I attended and it was an excellent presentation, one I highly recommend for anyone currently running a venue or considering opening one.

My second response?  I wanted to put down my thoughts in writing and share them here.  Make sense of all the stuff rambling around in my head and also have the  opportunity to add and adjust.

What I write is based on my own thoughts, experiences, opinions, and what I’ve learned over the years.  As always, question everything and take from it what you will.  Some of these may be difficult to consider, but I feel it’s very important.  A strong foundation is the key to success.  There’s only one chance to make a good first impression.  When your troupe or venue makes its appearance on the grid – do it with a “bang” not an “oops”.

“The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?” he asked. “Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

I’ll be focusing on dance venues here, but much can be applied to starting your own troupe.  Ready?


The Tough Questions

Why do you want to start your own venue?  Spend some time on introspection here.  Is it to provide opportunities to new choreographers, a different focus than other venues on the grid, to create a performance atmosphere you want to dance in and also share with others?  Is it for the spotlight?  New ideas?  New ways of doing things?  Focus on your motivation.  This is what will keep you going when things get tough.

Commitment of Time.  How often will shows be performed at your theatre?  When will you have practices?  Will you be building the theatre?  Who will be promoting it?  Will you be interviewing new dancers and choreographers?  If you hire others to do these things, are you able to cover their tasks when they don’t/can’t?  Do you have the time to commit to sustain what you want to do?  How much time will this take away from your own dance creations and performances, and is that ok for you?  Be realistic on the time you can invest and also let this help guide you in how often you’d like to have performances at your venue.  Two quality shows is much better than four rushed ones.

Commitment of Funds.  There will be costs associated with running a venue.  At minimum will be the land tier/rent which is generally the most sizable investment and ongoing cost.  Others may include purchasing/building/modifying a theatre, landscaping, purchasing seating, lighting, etc.  Will you be paying the DJ, the builder, the hostess, and others?  Will you have special events?  Change the decorations?  Don’t assume tips will cover the costs.  If you’ve lined up sponsors, are you prepared if one of the sponsors leaves?  Will this commitment put a strain on you and your funds?  Have a plan, and also create a “cushion” to cover months when expenses are higher.

Experience.  Are you ready to run your own venue?  Do you have experience and an understanding of the different aspects – working with a DJ, music issues, dancer issues.  When your choreographers have a question, will you be able to assist them to guide them to someone who can?  What if a DJ doesn’t show?  None of the sets will rez?  Are you prepared to handle emergencies?  Experience in the dance world and different aspects of dance are invaluable.  You will be pulling every piece of knowledge and resource you have when creating and running your own venue.

Interpersonal Skills.  Behind each avatar is a person with feelings, motivations, and goals.  As a venue owner/manager, you will need to address conflicts and issues.  No, you don’t have to resolve their argument with their partner, but you may have to address it if it affects your venue and the morale of the other members.  Generally you will need at various times to be the mentor/ cheerleader/ all business/ strict/ supportive/ encouraging, etc.  Your members should WANT to be there, and they will generally be looking at you to lead them/to create a positive atmosphere.  There will be times where you have to fire someone, or have a “come to Jesus” meeting with them.  Address morale issues, unacceptable behaviour,  and unhappiness in your team.  You will also need to be consistent and treat EVERYONE as equally as possible.  Are you prepared to handle angry/rude audience members?  Comments and questions from people attending your show?  How will you respond?  There will be challenging moments and tough decisions.


Brainstorming and Planning

Before you rush out to buy some land and a theatre, create a concept of what you want your theatre to BE.

Your Concept

  • what type of performances do you want?  burlesque, variety, themed shows, big productions?
  • Will performances at your venue be restricted to only one dance style?  Hip hop only, burlesque only, etc.
  • do you want a smaller sized, more intimate venue with a smaller stage, or do you want to host full stage performances?
  • what style do you see your theatre?  indoor, outdoor, formal, jazzy, modern, etc.
  • Do you want to focus your performances on members of your troupe or focus on choreographers who perform across the grid?  Will shows be limited to only your troupe members?  Will you invite in guest choreographers?  How often?
  • Your audience – will your venue be kid friendly?  Allow fantasy characters?  Will you require realistic avatars for a RL type experience?
  • Will full nudity be allowed in the performances?  Partial nudity?  Harsh or vulgar language, blood and gore?  Religious or political type acts?  Will you allow sexually oriented acts on stage?

Write It Up – Outline Your Theatre, Expectations, and Rules

A clear outline and focus in the beginning will save hours of time and acrimony.  By being clear in your own vision, your expectations, and clear communications with others there will be better understanding and fewer missteps.

Note: Don’t write a 20 page rule book!  This wills generally scare any potential members away and often makes them feel smothered with micro-management.  This exercise is primarily for you, and later to be used in theatre advertising, communication, and as a roadmap for you as your theatre evolves into reality.

Your theatre vision:

   Structure/location:

  • theatre show style (variety, burlesque, etc.)
  • theatre building style, size/structure/modern, formal, moroccan, fantasy, etc.
  • where will you have your theatre?  your own sim?  a private parcel?  mainland?
  • what rating is the sim where you will be?  Adult or moderate?  Moderate sims have content restrictions – such as no sex acts on stage.
  • will it be on a platform in the sky?  (important for dance sets that rise up through the floor)
  • what will the area surrounding the theatre be like?  Will the landing area be inside the theatre or will you have landscaping around it?
  • will lag be an issue?  (especially if your theatre will be on the parcel)
  • will you have the ability to restart the sim, or can you contact the land manager to do this in a timely fashion?
  • will this be a regular sim allowing up to 110 people, and if so, how will you manage the maximum number of guests?  Can you change it?  Can you request it be lowered temporarily?
  • will this be a homestead sim allowing up to 25 people (including premium members)?  How many dancers and how many audience members will be able to attend?
  • windlight – can you change the region windlight, generally to midday or midnight?  If not, you may wish to have the audience change their windlight before the show.

   Shows:

  • how often will you have a show at your theatre?
  • will there be one or more practices?  when will they be?
  • have you checked the dance queen calendar for other show conflicts?  This may limit the dancers/choreographers available for your shows/practices.
  • what kind of atmosphere would you like for your theatre?  fun and casual, similar to RL burlesque club, RL broadway show, seedy bar?  etc.

   Performances:

  • what is the maximum length of the music a dancer can use?  4 minutes?  5 minutes?  over 5 minutes only with approval?
  • What is the maximum number of dancers allowed in a performance?
  • Can choreographers bring their own guest dancers, or must they use guest dancers from your theatre group?
  • Is full nudity allowed?  Partial nudity?  Is this for men and women, or different for each?
  • What limits do you have for nudity, vulgar language, eroticism for your theatre?
  • Will there be themed shows, where all the acts need to follow a cohesive theme?

   Staff:

  • Will you have a hostess?
  • Will choreographers build their own sets or will you have a set builder?
  • Will you assign someone to collect dance notecards and create practice order/show order?
  • Who will handle land issues/donations?
  • Will you have sponsors to support your venue, or use donations to offset some of the expenses?
  • Will tips be split evenly among the choreographers/DJ/hostess, or will each have their own tip jar?

   DJ:

  • Will you be DJing the show, or will you hire a DJ?
  • Should the DJ talk over the air, or will all communication be in text?

   Audience:

  • will non-human avatars be able to attend?  children?  Is anyone allowed to attend?
  • What is the dress code for audience members?
  • how will you manage high script counts?  General announcements, automatic ejector, assign someone to monitor and address personally?

Making it happen (in no particular order at this point)

Create a venue identity.  This includes your venue name, logo, and overall feel.

Choosing a venue name – something meaningful to you, that others will remember, that is not already in use.  Check out the Dance Queens blog, use search for place and group names.

Create a logo.  You don’t have to hire an expensive marketing firm of course.  If you are comfortable using graphic tools like Photoshop, create your own.  Other options – ask a friend or find a logo creator in SL.  They are out there and sell their services.  Strive for a nice looking logo that is unique.  (Don’t download a pretty image from Google and slap your venue name on it – chances are others have seen that image.)  Make it yours.

Create an ad board for your venue.  Your logo, a notecard about your theatre, and the landmark.

Marketing.  When you are ready to begin recruiting staff, get your logo and ad board out there.  Contact Dance Queens to have it added to their wall, contact other venues that do cross-advertising.  (They post a board about your venue, you post one about theirs.)

 

* as you can see, this post continues to develop..check back periodically for additional info
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