“Begin at the beginning and go on until you come to the end, then STOP”
~ Alice in Wonderland
You feel the call. Perhaps it was a performance, perhaps an impulsive inspiration from above, but whatever drew you to dance you now have a passion to create and be on that stage.
It can be a little overwhelming, where to begin. It’s easy to buy the tools, buy the animations but to truly create magic, to weave a store within your performance – the music, the movement, the set it takes a focus on foundation, passion, and dedication to truly bring out your full potential. Sound a bit difficult? In a way it is, but in others it’s a most incredible journey where you will learn, you will feel, you will meet amazing people. You will never listen to music in the same way again. You will feel it, you will experience it, you will soar with it, and for some pieces of music, you will see it in your head unbidden, just there.
I can hear you now… “I want to create that…I want to be on the stage…what do I need…where do I go????”
Pause. Breathe. Slow.
Before we dig into the details, go to shows. All over the grid. Experience the different styles, different choreographers, different feelings of each venue.
Every venue has its own feel, its own style, the way the show is run. Experience it as an audience member, see what appeals to you. What style of dance are you most drawn to? What do you enjoy most about what you see? What is your opinion on your experience at each show and venue? Keep notes about not only what you did like, but also didn’t like, and any questions you have. This will help you define what appeals to YOU and if it’s something you want to invest in.
Don’t ever compare yourself.
Don’t ever doubt you could do “that”.
Strive to create from within, and you will find your own style over time.
Most of all, never be afraid to fail. Never be afraid to try.
Make notes on what you see. What you liked, what you didn’t. See how the choreographers use animations to fit the music, how they use the animations. What music moves you? Listen to music on youtube, make more notes, again what music moves you. DON’T WATCH THE VIDEOS. Don’t strive to re-create the video. Dance is about your OWN expression of the music. Don’t doubt, second guess, just free write and let creativity and ideas flow. Start a dance journal – a notebook, a private blog, spreadsheet, document, whatever works for you. A place to keep your ideas.
Spend at least a couple weeks going to shows, many different venues, with this new mindset. Really immerse yourself.
Dance Queens is the ultimate resource for upcoming shows: http://sldancequeens.blogspot.com/
Dance Queens calendar:
I do suggest adding Club Image to your places to visit. To me, they are a level unto themselves and a true experience in magic and inspiration.
You’ve been all over the grid, taken notes, experienced shows, and your passion is off the charts and you’re ready to create a dance NOW.
You may be asking – “WHAT DO I NEED, I HAVE ANIMATIONS, WHAT DO I DO FIRST???”
Dance in SL is this unbelievable creative experience. It does take dedication and hard work to make it worth it in my opinion. I promise you, you will laugh, you will cry, bang your head against the wall, and spend more lindens than you thought. There are ways to be resourceful, but creating a dance in SL is not a free hobby. I highly encourage you to be sure it’s something you feel passionate for before investing. Do not do it for the applause, do it for YOU out of passion and the need for expression.
Wait, you might be wondering why people do this if it takes dedication, lindens, and even tears…
Dance in SL is an expression of creativity. The creator may use many different tools to explore and to create in their own way. Some love building sets, or putting together choreography. Maybe they use audacity to create custom music files, or put together unique costumes. Others enjoy working with Photoshop to create textures and pictures for their sets. Others like the challenge of scripting and creating special effects. Opportunities for growth and vision are almost endless.
Many of us here in this world have never been nor will ever be professional dancers. Others were, but now express their love of dance through Second Life where there is no brittle bones or arthritis. Bodies are whole and strong, and everyone can perform even the most complicated dance moves.
Alas, there is a wondrous beginning, an alternating amazing and frustrating middle, and never any end. The beauty of dance in SL is the endless opportunity for creativity, expression, and change. There are no hard and fast rules, there are different opinions on everything, and very few absolutes. What I write here is based on my own experience and knowledge, and how I learned. This is not gospel and I welcome input from other dancers. May a few learn and be prevented from repeating my own mistakes. Let’s begin shall we?
RULE #1: Question EVERYTHING. Well almost everything, EXCEPT rule #2. There are so many tools, ways to do things, venues, styles. Never take anything someone says as gospel. Consider it, try it, see what works best for YOU.
RULE #2: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS buy copy versions of animations. When you begin buying animations, you will generally have the option to buy a copy version or transfer version. Transfer version you get 1 copy of an animation. If you put that into a dance HUD, there’s your one copy. If you want to put it in another HUD for another dance – oops, you have to pull it out of the first HUD. If you delete that HUD – *poof* it’s gone forever, no passing go, no collecting $200.
If you buy copy versions, you can put that animation in multiple dance huds, an animation organizer, under the kitchen sink, and that safe under the bedroom floor. (Didn’t think I knew about that, did ya?) Copy versions can cost a bit more, but they are more than worth it for the ease in using them and the ease of mind of never accidentally deleting thousands worth of lindens in a hud accidentally! Say it with me: ALWAYS BUY COPY VERSIONS OF ANIMATIONS
But wait – what if an animation I love is only available in transfer version? 99% of the time I still pass it up and always find one that works. If you MUST have it, make sure you keep it in a special folder, and store your HUD in inventory in a way so that you know never to delete it. (Name the HUD or name the folder it’s kept in)
STOP! Don’t rush out and buy a HUD and a slew of animations just yet.