Below is my own flow that I usually follow when choreographing a dance. To me, choreography is the most important part. If I only have effects, and a cool costume, and set – do I have a dance? Nope. But if I focus on choreography, I know I can perform.
I once had a dance where the effects totally bombed, none of them worked. Know what? The audience never noticed, because my choreography was strong. It was even better, because they weren’t distracted by the massive number of effects I had planned. Lesson learned. Please don’t hesitate to comment or reach out to me in-world if you have any questions about my process.
This is my way. Work in whatever way makes sense to you. 🙂
- I like to find the costumes first, or something similar to your vision of the costume. For women especially, I find animations look very different depending on the costume.
- I go through all my animations, listening to the music over and over and over again as I do. I pull anything that “feels” like it may fit. I don’t think – it’s a quick yes or no.
- I put all the “maybe” animations into a dance HUD…sometimes even 200 or more.
- I attach that choreo hud and look at how many pages it shows. If it says there are 7 pages, I make 6 more copies of the HUD. Then I wear all 7 copies, and turn each hud to a page. Hud 1 is page 1, Hud 2 is page 2, Hud 3 is page 3, etc.
- Now that I can see all those animations, I listen to the song over and over and over again (it better be a song you like!), and I start freestyling it. When it feels like it’s starting to come together and feel natural, I start creating an untimed sequence card listing the animations in order.
- I use Audacity – often I will work on choreography for sections of the music at a time, keep making my sequence card. With the Spot On Smooth Dancer, you can leave blank lines in your card! I leave a blank line in my card between the sections, so that I remember which animations I thought would work together for verse 1, the chorus etc. Before I started doing that, I was doing a lot of facepalming and asking myself “what was that animation for??? What was I thinking??????”. Now I know what I was thinking for the different sections, and I almost ALWAYS use less animations than I originally thought as I smooth it out.
- Once I’ve finished drafting out my untimed sequence card, I practice the choreography, smoothing it out, removing animations, adding additional if I need to until it feels smooth and it’s feeling goooood.
- Then I record it!!! This can take a while – but if I don’t let myself stress, if I walk away and take my time, this is actually my favorite part – smoothing it out and recording. I believe the feeling you have when you dance comes across to those who see it. Always have fun! If a dance isn’t “talking” to you – maybe it’s not the right one for that time!
- If I have different groups of dancers, this is the time I’ll go back and work on their sections – using the same “choreo huds” – the 7 on my screen.
- Tip: for my screen size, I resized a smooth dancer hud and added “CHOREO” to the name. It’s sized so I can fit 2 high on my screen. I have a # DANCE folder in my inventory, and a New Dance Build folder in that. That’s where I keep prepared copies of huds, scripts, etc., so that it’s easier to create a dance. Focus on the fun stuff!