Facets and Rabbit Holes

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Workshops and Dance Schedule

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 – 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…with your own voice.  ~ Eva

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See Me, Feel Me: Look ma! No slides!

See Me, Feel Me.  A dance performance, generally RL, that touched me in some way, but I won’t go into detail how.  That’s for you to feel, to see, to listen for yourself.  I watch dance performances in SL, and in RL through videos.  I sink deep into them, how do I feel, how do I react to it, can I feel the movement, does it inspire me, or do I dislike it.  In turn, I believe it expands my own mind and creativity.

Think outside the box…so many great examples of various concepts…everything has a purpose…this is a performance I could (and did) watch for six minutes.

What do you see?

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Today is brought to you by the letter…B

head-hitting-a-brick-wall-20

I think I need to class up the joint here a little bit.  There’s leftover wiggly worms on the floor, discarded huds littering the counters, and squids stuck between the walls (don’t ask).  So, on that note, let’s explore an English proverb today:

If you’re banging your head against a brick wall working on a dance…

this is generally a sign that you’re going down the wrong path.

Something isn’t working for you.  It might be that you can’t connect with the music – perhaps you’re not in the right headspace for it or it just doesn’t mesh with you.  Perhaps you aren’t connecting with your own creativity but trying to “compete” in your head with someone else (“I can show them!”).  Perhaps you’ve gotten lost on all the extra stuff and need to refocus, or your set just doesn’t feel right.  There are a myriad of reasons why your creativity can dry up, why you aren’t inspired, why you feel like you’re slogging through mud.

Take a step back.  Take a deep breathe.  Maybe even take a day or two.  Toss all your pre-conceived notions out of your mind and look at your dance impartially.  What doesn’t feel right?  Your vision, the music, the emotion, what you’ve created?  Stop and rewind.

Sometimes it’s best to put that dance away for a time, until you’re in the right mood and creative space for it.  Sometimes the song just isn’t right for you, so change it.  Sometimes it’s your creative vision – go in a different direction.  Sometimes you just need a little time to step back and see the forest for the trees.

No matter what action you take, if you’re beating your head against a wall and trying to force your dance to come to life, generally nothing ever comes good from that.
Strive to create from a place of enjoyment, creativity, and expression.
When you find that…that is the magic.

bang head against wall stop

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Losing your way, wiggly worms, and finding it again

If you’ve recently stumbled upon this blog, welcome!  It serves so many purposes.  A place for me to share, to communicate, to sort my thoughts and ideas, and to put in words the mishmash that swirls about in my head.  It isn’t easy being passionate, creative, and an introvert, as I’m sure many of you know.  Sometimes it’s overwhelming and frustrating, sometimes its the most wonderful experience in the world.  The thoughts and fears, ideas and solutions, emotions and feelings just swirl about in my head – sometimes to an overwhelming degree.  This blog, meditation, special people, the unconditional love of my pets, are just a few of the ways I find balance and peace.

laundry cartoon spinThis past week has been one of learning, realizing, and a continued path of growth.  I’m always challenged with balancing my creativity with the time I have to do it well.  My passion drives me to commit to more while reality requires I keep it in check so that what I do, I do the best that I can.  If I can do this without losing sleep and still keep up with the laundry would be most preferable!  There is some truth in “if I don’t do laundry I’ll be naked”!  I’m so glad y’all can’t see me in some of the odd clothing combinations I wear while creating here in SL…

Approximately two months ago, I committed to a Halloween dance show at Moonstone Theatre.  I was asked if I’d do the finale, and chose this song:

I love this song, I love the beat, the music transitions, the story, and what I could do with it, how to me it fit as a finale song, the dramatic feel of it.  Immediately I began thinking about the dance – costume ideas, the story, the flow.  What I wanted to express.  This was a long sloooow process.  I had visions of a band, and skeletons, and more.  Being the finale dance, I needed to include all 21 show staff.  I generally visualize well and I could see it!  The choreographers as the band members, the two children avi choreographers spooky dolls to drive the hearse of the skeleton dancers.  I began researching costumes, putting ideas together, finding out what mesh bodies and heads the male choreographers used.  (Ugh…costuming is one of my biggest challenges and outfitting male dancers in mesh bodies takes that to a new level.  One of these days I’m going to buy my male dance alt a signature mesh body just for testing costumes!)

Now, as this is me and I think the word “simple” is missing from my vocabulary, I wanted the skeleton dancers to fade, and to change color, and their eyeballs to fade, and change color, then I wanted them to have hats with worms and spiders and gross stuff…do you know how hard it is to fasten wiggly worms to a hat???  I did this, but it took nearly a week (among my other commitments – RL and SL) until I was happy.

The director and owner of Moonstone was incredible.  I finished designing my costumes, sent out all the costumes and the notecards to the dancers, chose the animations that I wanted to use in the choreography, and started building out my set….

Then all my creativity dried up.

I felt like I was slogging through mud, focusing on creating the sets first and bringing in the “wow” stuff, like the hearse driving in, and the skeleton surfing on top of it who I wanted to lose his head, and the idea that I was going to shove my 11 skeleton dancers into the back of the hearse and have them move across the stage with all those waypoints making an abstract painting of the stage.  I purchased and ditched so many stage props I can’t even count.  Nothing felt right.  For days I built and unbuilt.  Editing images to use on my set and trashed them.  One practice then the next and the next I wasn’t ready for.

I’d lost my way.

I’d lost my focus on the dance.  Didn’t follow my own pattern of creating – my flow that keeps me moving.  It came down to the week before, the days before, and I began doubting that I could pull it out.  That I’d have a dance I loved, that even if it wasn’t 100% of what I’d hoped, that it was close.  I focused on the effects when I began before anything else, the wow factors.  I compared myself to others within my head and let this drive me.  It is no wonder that I felt like I was slogging through mud and nothing felt right.

The director of this show knew my vision, my passion for the dance, and was invaluable.  She believed in me when I doubted myself.  She wasn’t afraid to be tough on me with constructive criticism, while knowing I was already internally beating myself up about the dance.

Two days before the show.  I had a dance, or a semblance of the dance.  It had the pieces, technically speaking, but there was no energy to it, no energy in it.  People noticed.

I knew what I wanted for it.  What I wanted for it before I lost my way.  I could scrap it and throw something easier together, or I could push through.  I chose to push through.  I had to suck it up, I had to focus on the moment before I became overwhelmed.  I had to push away thoughts of “why am I doing this?  why does this matter?” and the self doubts.

I completely re-did my choreography.  I added just a few formation changes to change the focus on the dancers and make the dance visually interesting.  I added the mirror animations I wanted and changed out one costume that wasn’t working.  I scrapped my fancy idea of the skeletons riding in the hearse to the crypt and running out of the crypt to the new orleans style balcony for this show.  I tested and fixed, tested and fixed, tested and fixed.

Never had I realized that with the hours and hours and hours I’d already spent on the dance, how easy it had been to lose my way and how hard it was to pull it back.  I didn’t give up.  I did push through, and I performed with all 21 dancers through the hell that was SL that day.  (Mass crash anyone?)  The audience loved it, most importantly I loved it and felt chills seeing it come to life.  Those extra fancy pieces I left out?  it didn’t need them.  Other than animating the spinner spokes on my hearse, I was happy and loved what I’d done.  Most of all?  I still love that song after hearing it, 7,877,329 times.  Was it perfect?  no.  Do I ever expect my dances to be?  no.  Do I strive to make them the best I can?  yes.  I own what I do, what I perform.  Good, bad, or otherwise.  If you don’t fall down once in a while, you’re not stretching yourself enough.  (hopefully not on stage but that’s happened to me a time or two)

For dance, choreography is my greatest passion of it.  That is my strength, what I enjoy most, and what I should always focus on first.  Everything else will always fall into place if I do.  For me, when I focus on the wow and fancy stuff is when I lose my way.

Dance like there’s no tomorrow.  Stay true to yourself and know when to keep fighting the fight.

Always
~Eva

Posted in Musings | 1 Comment

What It Is and Why Region Say is Better – an exploration of Say, Shout, and Region Say

When we type in local chat in SL, we have several different options.  When we talk, we can:

      whisper….heard by everyone within 10 meters by using Shift-Enter on Firestorm.

Say….. heard by everyone within 20 meters by simply pressing enter.

or SHOUT….heard by everyone withing 100 meters by using Ctrl-Enter.

When we are triggering effects such as particles,  fades, or changing costumes using the costume assistant, we say or shout a specific command on a specific channel.  Example:

SHOUT hide on channel 77 to hide balloons on your set which are using the Spot On glow fader script.


Scripts can listen to local chat (channel 0) or a specific channel number.  We can’t “hear” anything other than channel 0, but scripts can!  Why is this important?  Because it adds another option!

REGION SAY … heard by everything in the region.  Can’t be used for local chat (channel 0).

I can hear you asking:  “So, how does this effect me and my dance?”

There are many effects and tools that can be activated by a chat command, aka a trigger command.  By saying a certain phrase on a certain channel, you can activate an effect.  You could manually type this in local chat, but most often you will be using a tool or HUD to do this for you.

Benefits of using Region Say:   This is the most reliable method of giving a trigger command and activates faster.  Because SL servers don’t have to determine what objects/avatars are within range, like whisper/say/shout – the SL servers broadcast the command to the region immediately.

Instead of using say or shout, use Region Say instead!

Spot on commands:

  • s – say
  • S – shout
  • RS – region say
  • PM – private message  (directed to a specific person or group)

Region Say Spot On Example:

@button1=RS:77:hide

24|RS:77:hide

Using your own scripted trigger HUD:

If you are using your own trigger HUD with a simple script within the buttons, update your script to use region say – like this:

llRegionSay(77,”hide”);

Using a different dance HUD/tools:

If you are using a different dance HUD, please refer to your HUD documentation for the commands you can use.


Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I know what channel my effect uses?

Check the documentation for your tool/effect.  Scripts control the activation of an effect, such as a particle.  The writer of the script puts in the code how the effect can be triggered:  by touch, on wear, hearing a chat command, etc.

The documentation for the item will include the channel and command, or instructions for using a configuration notecard in the object.  Note:  Most particles are activated when worn.  If you don’t find anything in the documentation for a chat channel and command, you may not be able to trigger it through a trigger command without using another tool (such as Costume Assistant).

 

A thank you to Rug from the Spot On Support Group for sharing why Region Say is best.  I’ve long known it’s best to use it – but not why.  ~ Eva

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KissMyButt – Categorizing dance animations, Dance Queens Database?

I was stumbling around on the Dance Queens blog using the search function and just have to re-blog this.  I know some of the stores don’t exist anymore (Sine Wave) and this blog post is from 2011, but not two days ago I drove myself batty trying to find a specific type of animation.  I’m not sure if the database is still being updated and I’m not sure I’m organized enough to make a list of my own – but take a look!

(Note:  I wasn’t able to access the Excel version, but I could open the “older google spreadsheet”).  Dance Queens Database


List of Stand Anims (I – Z) by STYLE  (111202)

This is a listing of Stand Animations by STYLE. This list is useful for finding animations that do specific actions for dancing or more often for show dancing.

The same list can be generated from the Dance Database by sorting the Style field.

Full blog post here:  List of Stand Anims (I – Z) by STYLE

Insult

arm_move_stand_1 Extreme Animations
arm_move_stand_2 Extreme Animations
boo_Standing_3 Sine Wave
feck_you_stand|7.85| Slow 7.85 Extreme Animations
kissmybutt TUTY’S** & MrS ANIMATIONS
MDHUbhss MEDHUE ANIMATIONS
MDHUbhss2 MEDHUE ANIMATIONS
MDHUnanananaG MEDHUE ANIMATIONS
Moon|8| Medium 8 Abranimations
moonie! – Freebie from Animazoo! Animazoo
nyanya TUTY’S** & MrS ANIMATIONS
Oh Yeah Baby!|29.92| 29.92 Ministry Of Motion
VAHGSt08 Vista Animations & Co Shopping

Kiss

kiss-femenine Vista Animations & Co Shopping
kiss-masculine Vista Animations & Co Shopping

Knee Wiggle

waggle – Freebie from Animazoo! Animazoo

Laugh

avatar_laugh_short SL Internal Animation
rofl V2 LORAN REDFIELD (Avatar)

Lean Forward

D0081-Stand.N (Adult) Kuso
stand/el4 TUTY’S** & MrS ANIMATIONS

(see full blog post for more, link above)

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Ready, Set, Go! Harleyquin workshops in November!

ready set go

The weather turns cool and the time is ripe for interactive workshops!  Look below for November and check the calendar for what’s planned so far in December!  Can’t wait to dig in and get dirty as we work together to learn!  ~ Eva

Please visit here for more info:  https://harleyquinadventure.com/calendar/

Monday, Nov 19th

5 pm – Introduction to Dance and Choreography

This workshop was specifically designed for those new or interested in being a choreographer, and those who want to build upon their foundation in dance.  The workshop will be presented in a comfortable discussion type format – interaction is encouraged!

During this workshop I’ll be introducing what I feel are the key aspects of dance and offer my own recommendations for building a strong foundation.  Components of dance, what is choreography, starting tools, considerations, and bringing your vision to life will also be discussed.

One of the most difficult things about dance is getting started and enjoying the adventure!  It is much too easy to let doubt or fear creep in.  With a focus on foundation and following your passion to create, we’ll discuss suggestions for making the most of this creative opportunity.

VIEW DETAILS

colorful underline


Saturday, Nov 24th

9 am – Spot On Smooth Dancer – Putting Your HUD to Work

Geared for anyone new to the Smooth Dancer Animation HUD or still familiarizing themselves.  We will be focused on loading the HUD, playing animations, inviting others to dance and how to remove dancers (including yourself).  We will also cover what to do when your dancers aren’t dancing.  This is the first step before moving on to recording your own sequences.
(1 hour, Dance Studio)

Requirements to participate:  Own the Smooth Dancer HUD and have basic object edit skills to participate

VIEW DETAILS

10 am – Choreography:  Transitions, Animations, and Freestyling

Geared toward the dancer at any level, it’s all about the animations in this workshop!  It all starts with considerations when buying animations before we focus on transitions – smoothing the changes between animations.  We’ll also pull in using pose and ao animations in your dance before we focus on what freestyling is and how it can strengthen your choreography.  To wrap it up, we cut loose and freestyle together!
(1 hour, Dance Studio)

Requirements to participate:  Be comfortable using and inviting others to dance with any dance animation HUD.  Please have your HUD pre-loaded with at least 20 animations.

VIEW DETAILS

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Gadget Ninja Spotlight ~ Camera Position HUDs…for more than peeking in your neighbor’s window…

I was looking for information and dug up this handy gem.  Re-posting it here.  Enjoy!


Confessions of a gadget addict…Yes, I love tools. My heart races as I scour marketplace for gadgets that can be used for creations and performances. Efficient! New! Different!

<breaks out singing Daft Punk with some twerkin’ going on>
Work it harder, make it better! Do it faster, makes us stronger!

Whew…forgot how tiring twerking can be… In this series, we crack open the toolbox and explore tools available and how they can be useful – whether you are a creator, dancer, choreographer, or supporter of dance in SL. HUDs and gadgets can help us organize, do things more efficiently, take some of the sting out of things we don’t enjoy so much, or even inspire new ideas or abilities. Having multiple tools provides options and the ability to use whatever works for a particular situation.

The information I share is given freely, my own thoughts and experiences. As I often say, question everything! Use what works for you. Maybe it would be useful to you, maybe not. One of the amazing things in SL is the ability to do things your own way. This could never be an all inclusive list, new gadgets are always being released and updated. Feedback is always welcome!

No side deals, endorsements, or stock is owned for any of these products…though that would’ve supported my expensive animation habit…oh, well. Ready to jump down the rabbit hole?

CAMERA POSITION/VIEW HUDS

Ever feel like you need eight sets of eyeballs – keeping your eye on back stage, camming in on the tip jar, oh no did my set rez? are all the dancers moving? is everyone on their pad? and my favorite – what is the sexy DJ wearing today? Sure, there are avatars with 16 eyes, but not quite the same is it?

Camera Position/View HUDs can make this happen (without making you wear extra eyeballs). They let you record one or more positions that you are looking at, then with a click of a button move your view back to that spot! No more blindly camming around, afraid you might crash, or just not able to find that darn tip jar. It’s all at your finger tips and very simple to use. An added bonus – by changing your view, you can jump straight from your backstage pad to your mover – no walking required! Not only is this easier for you, it also reduces lag on the sim. Bonus!!

There are many different types of these HUDs on the marketplace, some have added features, some allow you to import camera positions so that you can share them with your dancers. For this blog, I’ll be focusing on the one I personally use as an example but highly recommend you also check others out and determine which one would work best for you! Always consider price/usefulness/and script count. Just like applebottom jeans…scripts should be low, low, low, low, low, low!

This is the HUD I will be demonstrating today:

CAMERA VIEW/SAVE SETUP HUD
MP link:  https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Camera-View-SaveSetup-HUD/5647480

A basic HUD, simple to use, free, 1 script, can store up to 8 camera positions. It is Copy, so you can have one for every venue. In my inventory, I have a folder for each venue and a copy of the camera hud in that. Boom, I attach the camera hud for that venue and I have my view positions ready to go!

So, the first thing you need to determine, is what camera positions you want to save. Because this HUD uses numbers for the camera positions, I like to be consistent. A few ideas for positions to save:

  • STAY PAD: Good place to jump to as soon as you arrive.
  • ON STAGE BEHIND THE CURTAIN: I click this view when I cache my set and want to make sure it rezzed, and also to make sure my dancers are moving before I open the curtain.
  • MOVERS/DANCE PADS: It’s just a jump to the left…or a step to the right…no walking or camming!
  • TIP JAR: I am notorious for forgetting to log in or out of the dancer tip jars. This helps!
  • FRONT STAGE VIEW: Watching the performance when the curtain is open.

SETUP & USING – THE QUICK AND DIRTY

I love teaching soup to nuts, A to Z, and my newest fave ~ ab ovo usque ad mala, exactly how and why something works plus all the pieces in between. This really is a simple HUD to use, so we can skip straight to the quick & dirty – sounds like fun doesn’t it?

  • Add your HUD (that’s always very helpful!)
  • Cam around until the view you want to save is in focus (like your mover pad)
  • To save the position: press one of the green numbers on the bottom row of the hud
  • You can save up to 8 positions, so rinse and repeat however many times you need (or umm..8)
  • Press one of the top numbers to change your camera view to one of the saved positions.
  • If you’ve cammed around, just press your Escape key to reset your camera.
  • Press the yellow number on the top row if you want to ‘release’ your camera view from the active saved position.
camera hud_position 1

Getting chill understage before the show!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

camera hud_set rezzed

Caching time!  Yep – it’s there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

camera hud_backstage movers

Umm…backstage…ready to go on…where are my dancers????

 

 

 

 

 

 

cam hud_on the stage

It’s showtime!

 

 

 

That’s it!

Have any great gadgets that have made your SL soooo much easier or that you couldn’t live without? I’d love to hear about it!

~ Eva

Posted in Dance Resources | 3 Comments