This Week & Dance Resources Index

Upcoming Events:
full calendar:  https://harleyquinadventure.com/2017/03/31/calendar/

Fri June 22nd, 6 pm slt
Elysium Cabaret

Sun June 24th, 12 pm slt
Inanna 

Sundays –  5 pm slt
Winds of the Sahara Cabaret Show DJ

dancersdancersdancers

HARLEYQUIN WORKSHOPSclick here for descriptions
All workshops are drop-in.  No registration is required.  Workshops are held in voice.

Please arrive early to allow time to unpack and set up your workshop supplies!  The sim will be closed when the workshop starts.  Thanks!

* * NOTE:  Not quite ready to participate but interested in learning more about the tools or topic?  Feel free to drop in and follow along!  Comfortable seating area provided!

Sat Jun 23rd – 10 am slt
Spot On Synchronization – Starting Your Dancers Backstage

Use the Performance Director?  Wish your dancers could get on their movers early?  That you could just create your route for a dance on stage and not have the first way point backstage and hope you press play fast enough to get them on stage before the curtain opens?

Click here for more info:    Workshop Details

Sat Jun 23rd – 12 pm slt
Performance Director Workshop 2: Creating Routines, Groups & Using Your HUD

In this workshop we take all of the foundation we’ve covered to actually start creating routines and groups for animations, and also integrate your movers.  We will also configure buttons as you may for a performance.  All hands on, both individually and in small groups.  You will actually be creating and demonstrating a “performance” from the materials provided.

Click here for more info:  Workshop Details

Mon Jun 25th – 5 pm slt
Choreography Designer – Creating Routes and Synchronizing with your Sequences PLUS the new features introduced in release 2.0!

Click here for more info:  Workshop Details


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

Click here for an Easy Reference to Dance Resource Posts, Tips & Tricks

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Too Many Peas on the Plate…

Too many peas on the plate…

So, I’ve been striving to be more organized, to plan out creating my  dances better, to develop a flow and a checklist to keep me motivated – and it feels good!  No stress about what comes next or if i’m forgetting a step.  There’s even dates to help me plan my time better and finish before the first practice!

Umm…oops.

I was so excited and I’d taken the month of May off to “create” so I was roaring to get back out there in June.  (Ha, ask me how much creating I did in May.)  Well…I can be pretty excitable..and something happened…

huge food

Yeah.  Since I was getting all organized and I was so excited and amped up – I scheduled myself to create FOUR yes, four new dances and a crowd dance – most within the same two week period.

Guess what happened?

a. I spread myself too thin
b. At times I was overwhelmed so I did non-dance things
c.  I did the easy stuff for all of them, and avoided the “meaty” stuff like choreo
d.  I underestimated the amount of time I’d need for each task so I could “get them done”.
e.  All of the above.

If you chose “e” you are absolutely right.  I put “too many peas on my plate” and there was no way I could do all that.  For me, there is no way I can create four new dances in a month and a crowd dance, in addition to the other things I do in SL and RL, not to mention enjoying the process and what my completed dance would be.  Everyone works at different speeds, but for me, my excitement and big plans made me oblivious to the oncoming train wreck.dogs

This is why I’m still working on a dance for Friday.  This is why I’ve fallen behind on Blind & Frozen, and why my crowd dance wasn’t quite what I envisioned.

Luckily I was able to shift a bit, hadn’t officially scheduled one of the dances, and have some cushion time built in for creating Blind and Frozen.  What does this kind of overdoing it do?  Disappoint myself, my dancers, and others as I bring another repeat to the stage.  (It’s been a bit since I’ve performed a brand new act.)  It can also result in possibly cancelling a performance because I can’t finish, or bringing something disappointing to the stage.  Not to mention my own stress and strain on things in general.

insanityI always want to create more than I possibly can, there’s such a thrill in starting a new project when the ideas are just swirling around in my head and the music is pumping in my veins.  But…if I keep chasing the amazing beginnings and never make it to the amazing endings….what does this mean?

In reality, this is something I’ve always done – my whole entire life.  I jump into things with both feet when I’m passionate about something.  I’m not as great with follow through.  I truly do believe in this world that we are in that we can learn a lot about ourselves, accept it, and work on changing it.

So.  I have to do something.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different result.

I like having two dances “in play” at the same time.  Sometimes I need a break from one.  I also like having a crowd dance somewhere in the process, which has a completely different creation process for me.

I think I can reasonably complete two new dances in a month and a crowd dance for planning purposes.

PLUS – if I follow the first in/first out rule, when I completely finish one THEN I can start the next one on my list.plan 2

What else do I need to do?  Reduce scheduling performances until I’m ahead at least a bit and can give a dance enough time to finish it before the first practice.  It has been my goal for YEARS to have my dances done at least a week before the first practice.

So.  I have a plan.  My head keeps saying but…but…but…but.  But, this is a bit different for me and could be really good.  New – and a bit uncomfortable.  I wrote it down though, it’s on the internet, so it must be true – right?

Want some peas?  😀

~ Eva

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Choreography Designer – Creating Routes and Synchronizing with your Sequences

Please check the calendar to see when this workshop is next scheduled or contact EvaHarley inworld if you are interested.  Harleyquin Calendar

Workshop Overview:

 

 

Workshop Flow:

 

 

Jump Start:

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Performance Director Class 2: Creating Routines, Groups, and Using Your HUD

Please check the calendar to see when this workshop is next scheduled or contact EvaHarley inworld if you are interested.  Harleyquin Calendar

Workshop Overview:

 

In this workshop we take all of the foundation we’ve covered to actually start creating routines and groups for animations, and also integrate your movers.  We will also configure buttons as you may for a performance.  All hands on, both individually and in small groups.  You will actually be creating and demonstrating a “performance” from the materials provided.

Requirements:  Own the Performance Director HUD, bring a timed sequence notecard and a Performance Director HUD loaded with the animations used.  Be comfortable in creating routes with the Choreography Design system.  *Must have completed Performance Director Class 1: Basics or have comparable knowledge*

Workshop Flow:

 

 

 

Jump Start:

Helpful things to know if you’d like a bit of a head start.

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Spot On Synchronization – Starting Your Dancers Backstage

Please check the calendar to see when this workshop is next scheduled or contact EvaHarley inworld if you are interested.  Harleyquin Calendar

Workshop Overview:

Use the Performance Director?  Wish your dancers could get on their movers early?  That you could just create your route for a dance on stage and not have the first way point backstage and hope you press play fast enough to get them on stage before the curtain opens?

If you use the Performance Director, Stage Manager, and Choreography Design System you CAN do this – easily.  We will review how you can create backstage notecards, understage notecards, and other things that will take the stress from getting your dancers in position!  I will also share how I easily incorporate this into all my new dances – within minutes and across venues!

Requirements:  Must own and have used the Performance Director, Stage Manager, and Choreography Design System in performance, and be comfortable in using them. 

Workshop Flow:

 

 

 

Jump Start:

Helpful things to know if you’d like a bit of a head start.

Mover notecards:  Should always be named to match your Performance Director Routine.  It’s a good habit to name your mover notecards even if you aren’t using the Performance Director.  Example:  “Tiger Dance” instead of “movement notecard”.

 

 

 

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The Act of Creation – Blind & Frozen, #8

The Act of Creation – Blind & Frozen, #8

Background: a look into my creative process as I build a dance start to finish.  See previous posts to follow along if you’ve just jumped in.  Welcome to my madness!


Animations, movement, and re-thinking the costumes

When I first dove into the dance world in SL, I hunted high and low for any dance animation I could find.  Four or five years ago now?  This was before Bento, before Sync’d, before Abranimations became what it is today.  (I do NOT miss those old testing blocks.)  We all know how quickly 349L animations can dent your SL wallet…so I got a bit creative.

I bought dance machines with copy permissions, free dancers, free objects will interesting animations, boxes of animations, dance/animation huds, the entire stock of Ministry of Motion when they had a sale long before they closed (all with copy permissions).  I bought new animations for each dance I created or led.  I had a very generous partner who loved supporting occasional shopping sprees.

Moral of the story?  I’ve collected a significant number of animations over the years.  I had to clean out a lot of the duplicates (Ministry of Motion animations were in my ballet bars, some of the dancers, etc. so I had multiple copies).  I guarantee I don’t have the most, nor do I need to.  Now I buy a few new animations for each dance, or maybe a new Abranimations pack, or recently a small spree of 10 at MyAnimations to freshen up my animation inventory.  I also keep watching for when stores have animation gifts and collect those too.  You’d be surprised how even unusual animations can fit into a dance – especially when you’re dancing in a tiny/different avatar.

[On a side note:  I’m a little shaken with the closing of SineWave.  While they’d stopped coming out with new stuff, they had some great classics that I still use.  The owner of Henmations hasn’t been seen to my knowledge (although hopefully still around in some way), and I’ve heard the owner of Studio4D has left SL, though the store is still there.  If they both closed, this would significantly reduce the number of animations available to choreographers.

Support your dance animation stores!  These two stores are well known, especially Henmations, but other, smaller ones aren’t.  If they are legit and not copybot stores – encourage others to support them too.  The more support they receive, the more encouraged they may be to create new animations.  I plan on taking a trip to both soon, see if there are a few new animations that would work for upcoming creations.]

So, now that I’ve consolidated my animations into 3 animation manager pads I have about 3500 dance animations (there are still some duplicates I need to clean out though).  They add up fast when Abranimations non-Bento dance packs often had 30 animations in them.  This is why I needed an animation organizer to make it easy to cycle through them, quick to flip when I know the flapper animations won’t work, easy to select the ones I like.

Do I need this many animations to create an amazing dance?  Absolutely not!  If you are just beginning in dance, do NOT let the number of animations you have discourage you!  Buy a few for each dance, mix them up – purchasing from different stores.  Please, please, please don’t “choreograph” a dance with only animations from one store and one dance pack.  Use your music to help you buy animations.  Incredible dances can be performed with 10-20 animations!  Sometimes too much is just too much.  Mine are usually around 30-40, which means I have more transitions.  The more transitions you have, the harder it can be to perform a smooth dance where people don’t notice the transition from one animation to another.  The way I feel and create, I just tend to use more animations.

So, I worked on selecting animations for Blind & Frozen again this morning.  I’m finding my morning hours are the most productive for me.  I’m still on the “major store, not Abranimations” pad which has about 1300 animations in it.  I find that after a while I start to lose focus.  It’s kind of like wine tasting.  You need a change in palette so that you can experience the next wine selection.  I drank my coffee and chose animations until I reached that point.  During this, I changed from my Jar of Hearts costume to my Blind & Frozen costume – assuming the animations would feel similar (and not being as lazy as yesterday when I didn’t feel like changing).  Wow, was I wrong.

The first picture here is my Jar of Hearts costume.  The next two (in purple) are of the dress I’d picked for Blind and Frozen.  It may not convey in pictures, but having the legs completely hidden is pretty much a deal breaker for me in this dance.  Once I started really digging into the animations and listening to the music, it is so powerful and so much is lost because you can’t see the leg movements…

Ugh.  Double ugh.  The costume is no mod too, meaning I can’t even try shorten the skirt panels or remove some.  This means I need to find new costumes that fit my set, the time period, and also the expression of the dance – and not hide the legs completely.  I may need to think outside the box on this one.  Did I ever mention that costuming is one of my biggest challenges and a subject that I don’t ever plan to teach?  (I have a friend who is wonderful at costuming – I’m hoping she’ll do a presentation at the SL academy where she teaches in the future.)

I’m glad I allotted extra time to create this dance.  At the same time, I’m trying to keep a steady pace while not rushing and losing the creative quality of it, or stressing.  That will be my key – keeping a steady progress going and picking the reins back up if they fall.

Off…to shop…for costumes…again….ugh

And that is why I don’t buy my dancer’s costumes until the choreo is done…

Happy dancing!
~ Eva

 

Blind & Frozen Timeline
Start date – 6/2
Performance date – 7/13

Finish Day Goal
Date
Done
1 6/2 Choose the music  6/2
1 6/2 Buy or download the music  6/2
2 6/3 Write up an outline for the dance, background, the story, ideas, feelings, how many dancers, etc.  6/3
4 6/5 Edit the music (if needed)  HOLD
4 6/5 Pick a costume, or something similar to what will be my costume  6/5
5 6/6 Listen to music for dance and change ideas  6/8
8 6/9 Choose animations  IN PROGRESS
14 6/15 Work on choreography and record
20 6/21 Build set
22 6/23 Finalize costumes
22 6/23 Create style cards for dancers
25 6/26 Plan out movers and create routes
27 6/28 Test and adjust movers and choreography
29 6/30 Add effects
30 7/1 Test and adjust
31 7/2 Pack up set
32 7/3 Test again
33 7/4 Make any final adjustments
33 7/4 Take a copy of set and movers into inventory

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The Act of Creation – Blind & Frozen, #7

The Act of Creation – Blind & Frozen, #7

Background: a look into my creative process as I build a dance start to finish.  See previous posts to follow along if you’ve just jumped in.  Welcome to my madness!

distractedThings are moving again!  I’m a bit behind…choosing animations now.  I do admit I did take the time to switch to another animation manager that really sounded promising – and so far I’ve been thrilled with it.  It did take about a day to load as I dug through my inventory and found a relatively small number of dances that weren’t in the right folders, plus I wanted only a few organizers but still be able to find animations by store too.  I’m finding with this set-up I’m more likely to use different animations because they’re in 3 pads – Abranimations, “main stores”, and SineWave/Ministry of Motion/Misc.  I’m really hoping this gets me unstuck from going to the same animations every time – plus I’m consciously ignoring ones I always use, forcing myself to do something a bit more fresh for me.  I also found that for me, it reduces the time it takes to choose animations and load them in a choreo hud.

studio

My new animations area.  An inspiration picture, calming pictures, and candles.  I like the feeling of it.  Those are my new animation managers.  I do the actual choreography in a different area with a grid so I can see where I am.  The HUD is part of the animation manager – so I can just use the HUD instead of moving my mouse down to click.

It was an amazing feeling as I played the music in Troff.  Ohh…I haven’t mentioned how I choose animations, have I?  Everyone has their own way, this is mine:

I play my music in Troff on repeat, but any player you can put on repeat will do.  I then go through my dance animations – now my animation manager pads.  If an animation feels like it might be right, I “tag it”.  For my new organizer, I can click the memory button and it will remember, giving me a list and folder of the animations at the end.  For the Boom Station organizer I would click on it to give me a copy of the animation so that I could put them all from inventory into a choreo HUD at one time when I was done.  Before these organizers I used to write the names down, find them in inventory, and copy it to the HUD.

Selecting the animations is kind of like brain storming in a way – if I get a feeling that the animation will work well in the dance, I tag it.  I don’t over think it – I just toss it out there.  This is a 2 second decision usually, not a lot of thinking.  Occasionally I’ll spend a few seconds thinking about it, but not often.  I narrow down the animations I use later as I begin working on the actual choreography.  I don’t limit my animations to just hip hop – I go through all the main store and abranimation ones, sometimes the misc ones, sometimes not.

Choosing animations:

Stage 1:  quick selection from dance animation inventory.
Similar to:  picking possible paint color cards at the store.

Stage 2:  begin choreography and narrow down the animations that will be used.
Similar to:   picking the best paint colors to paint your walls.

By doing a quick pick first, I go based on feeling and gut instinct.  If I thought about it too hard, I might decide “naaah” that won’t work.  Because it’s gut instinct, I tend to have some very interesting choices in there, some of which make it into the final dance.  Because I go through my animations frequently and freestyle, I’ve gotten to know a lot of them which helps too.

I also find this helps me work faster as I’ve narrowed down the animations I’m going to actually work with to choreograph.  How many?  Usually around 100-160, but my final dance usually has 30-40.

Does everyone do it this way?  Definitely not.  Does this mean they’re doing it wrong?  Definitely not.  Does everyone use the same amount of animations?  Most definitely not.  Will I change the way I do it?  Possibly – I’m always open to more efficient and fun ways to do things that help me create what is in my head.  Everything evolves.

Before I start the choreography, I’ll switch into my costume.  I may switch into my costume tonight to see how the costume is flowing with the animations.  It wouldn’t be the first time I changed costumes as I was choreographing, hence why I don’t purchase dancer costumes until later.  Honestly, this morning I really didn’t want to change and instead drank my coffee with one hand and chose animations with the other…

I’m glad to be back on the horse again, I know why I fell behind and I’ll be writing that in another post – Too Many Peas.

Happy creating!

Blind & Frozen Timeline
Start date – 6/2
Performance date – 7/13

Finish Day Goal
Date
Done
1 6/2 Choose the music  6/2
1 6/2 Buy or download the music  6/2
2 6/3 Write up an outline for the dance, background, the story, ideas, feelings, how many dancers, etc.  6/3
4 6/5 Edit the music (if needed)  HOLD
4 6/5 Pick a costume, or something similar to what will be my costume  6/5
5 6/6 Listen to music for dance and change ideas  6/8
8 6/9 Choose animations  IN PROGRESS
14 6/15 Work on choreography and record
20 6/21 Build set
22 6/23 Finalize costumes
22 6/23 Create style cards for dancers
25 6/26 Plan out movers and create routes
27 6/28 Test and adjust movers and choreography
29 6/30 Add effects
30 7/1 Test and adjust
31 7/2 Pack up set
32 7/3 Test again
33 7/4 Make any final adjustments
33 7/4 Take a copy of set and movers into inventory

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Evolution of Creation and Rambling Thoughts

Evolution of Creation and Rambling Thoughts

blessed are the weird peopleNo updates on Blind and Frozen yet.  I’ve been finding that I’ve been time challenged.  I realize that I can multi-task/work faster on the “non-physical” items.  Planning out the ideas, finding the music, marking the music.  When it comes to choosing animations, choreography, building and movers – these are more intense processes for me.  I need a block of time in world and to lose myself within it.

I’ve been debating.  I have multiple build platform areas, less than I used to.  My head is always spinning, I at times want to label a build area for each dance I will be creating – but at what point is that spreading it to thin?  Am I better keeping two…maybe three out, maximum?  I usually have a re-work going, a performance that needs adjustment or “tells me” it wants a bit more.  (There does come a point when a dance feels done, then I put down the paintbrush down before I overwork it.)  Odd feeling – when I think of only having one build area, I feel like I’m neglecting my other dances!  I think three max…   Shifting back to the main track…

The physical items, like choreography.  Why are those slower for me to accomplish?  They don’t usually take an excessive amount of time – once I begin.   I think it’s because I have to be in world, not just letting my mind think of ideas which can happen all times of the day and night.  I think it’s because I have to be focused and shut out all distractions.  Aha!

I’m stubborn, when I have my mind set on something – then that’s what I feel compelled to do.  (Remember the days I spent making the perfect lunch tray for a dance?)  Sorting my inventory is one of those compulsive things…if I can’t find my clothes or building supplies, then how am I supposed to use them?  On the flip side, I could spend all my time sorting inventory and not accomplish anything.  Sorting inventory, doing monotonous things are calming and “safe” to me, a subconscious coping mechanism when my head starts spinning too much.  Hmm….

Time is always limited in SL for everyone.  What is most important to me?  I’m an odd duck – I hate rules and being controlled, being too scheduled makes me feel overwhelmed – but having a plan and lists is when I find myself most productive.  What if perhaps I plan on sorting inventory on Sundays for a while….will that ease this compulsion?   Incorporating daily meditation has made a significant difference, and solitary activities I enjoy I now do on the weekends.  I will continue getting out to more shows, events, and spending time with friends – because interaction and experiences are one of the most amazing things of SL.

This raises the question.  When is the best time to create?  What do I need around me?  I think I will save this question and share pictures of my creation areas.

There was another reason I started this post.  I’m currently working on another dance, which was scheduled before Blind and Frozen.  I find that I need to follow the process and create the way I do….because concepts change and evolve as I follow my flow.  I realized today that my whole set concept has changed as I put together the choreography and let the music flow though my mind.  Does this mean I couldn’t create a dance with a pre-made set?  No.  It does mean that the evolution of the creation is a synergetic flow for me…everything rolls, flows, and evolves together.  An insight I never realized until now.

Perhaps part of creativity is being open and responsive to the way you work best, incorporating methods that inspire and motivate your creativity.  Inspiration drives you to begin, motivation keeps you compelled to continue, to keep creating through the end.  It now makes me wonder, what of other parts of life?  What inspires me?  The time of day, the surroundings, the patterns…

Sometimes it eases my spinning thoughts when I release them here, give each thought consideration without overthinking.  Perhaps writing can be like meditation in a way?  As you still your mind you see your thoughts and let them calmly drift away as though on the wings of a butterfly until you find the space of calmness and silence.

Such a contemplative mood I’m in today…

I am me.  I am not perfect, nor the knower of all things.  I care, I try, I believe, and I do my best to lift others up.  I see the value in others and celebrate our differences, and I try to grow from my mistakes and overcome the thoughts that would drag me down.

This is me.
~ Eva

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