Video: How to Choreograph a Lyrical Dance

Our world of dance in SL is a bit different, but the concepts, the underlying expression is so very similar to RL.  We may not create our own animations, and we are generally limited to what’s available, but we select the animations, where to transition, how to transition.  In turn, we do not have physical limitations.  We can defy gravity, physicality, and reality.

I really enjoyed this video and found so many inspirational ideas.  Sometimes we do things naturally without thought.  It was wonderful how she explains these concepts, flow, expression, feelings, and inspiration.

I hope you enjoy too!

Always –
~ Eva

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New post for Firestorm users – use zdrop to move animations fast!

Do you just hate having to move animations in teeny tiny batches at a time?  Get greedy (selecting more than about 25) and you’ll get the lovely “failure to create in-world) error.

Do you too get nervous emptying your inventory trash and wish there was an easy way to store those items…just in case?

Da da da daaaaa!  zdrop to the rescue!  This handy feature is available to firestorm users and lets you copy/move items from your inventory fast, easily, and reliably!  But wait!  There’s more!  You can copy animations, scripts, and more to items even while you’re wearing them!  Like Dance HUDs – woot woot!

Read more about it here:     zdrop – know it, use it, love it

Don’t forget to check out the tips & tricks page!  Lots of resources here

Always –
   ~ Eva

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State of your surroundings, does it reflect your mental state? A story of green things.

As I tend to the woefully neglected yet still green plants in my office, I suddenly wondered…

Does the state of my surroundings reflect my mental state?

In my office where so many hours are spent, I focus on calming zen items.  A fish tank (with no fish right now), a zen sand ornament – brush and rakes included, soothing scent beads, and plants.

Sometimes my desk is a sheer chaos of piles.  (For me, out of sight is out of mind.)  Today, I noticed the plants that needed the dead leaves removed, roots sticking out of the pot, dirt as dry as the Mojave desert.  My fish tank was also half low because I bring the water from home and kept forgetting.  As I tended to these items, I could feel the change in my space here, suddenly felt the feeling of hope – though I’m not sure why.  I even planted some tomato seeds.

I’ve been pondering this and realize that the space I’m in, if its in a neglected state it so often coordinates with my feelings about where I am.  Work – why am I here?  Am I motivated?  Am I challenged?  Is this the right place to be?  Neglected, often reflects I’m doing just enough to get by, though often barely.  That I’m not looking for opportunities, studying new things, that I’m caught up in Groundhog Day and my brain is turning to goo.

I have plants at home too.  Home should so often be a place to feel safe, to rebuild, to feel comfortable and content.  These feelings don’t come from the outside, they come from the inside.  Here I tread in difficult waters.  So many people have suffered deeply.  Sometimes there is no way to shut out the horror around you, not completely.  Hopefully for those they have found a way out, a positive environment.  It may not be easy, but hopefully it’s safe.  Me?  I’m in the middle.  It took me years to learn that I shouldn’t have to change for other people, walk on eggshells, stop doing what I enjoy.  Sometimes I can find my home a haven, sometimes I can’t.  That is my journey I’m still working through.

I used to have a large garden, raised beds, meticulous planning.  I’d been studying homesteading.  Honestly I could eat out of that garden and wouldn’t need much more than that.  I also had chickens too with fresh eggs.  The chickens grew old and died, the garden now overgrown and neglected.  Many repairs are needed but I’ve made none – at times because I wonder where I will be in the future, other times I thought the repairs were beyond me but now realize I have to be the one to do them if they are to be done.

But, what I notice is that my plants in my home once vibrant and green barely receive my attention.  That I shelter within myself, am functioning within the real world enough to get by but no more than that.  My plants reflect that.

I have plants in SL too, ones that grow.  Even in a virtual world, I can feel their essence and their energy – as I can with my plants in real life.  They too at times suffer neglect.

Whether at work, home, or in SL at times of stress, confusion, withdrawal, I ignore them, I shut out those feelings, that connection.  Sometimes I shut down, almost completely.  Sometimes its only work, sometimes its only home, sometimes its SL.  My surroundings, the state of my plants, reflect the chaos and the feelings inside of me.  Kind of like the defense departments own security status.  Defcon 1 – everything is going good.  Defcon 5 – everything has gone to hell in a handbasket.

I realize too, that when I’m not nurturing my plants, I’m probably not nurturing myself either.  Long baths, painted nails, face masks, updating my wardrobe, updated color before my dark roots are no longer roots.

Plants have an energy, mint is uplifting, chamomile is soothing/tending.  We live in a symbiotic relationship with plants and trees, so for me it makes sense that my own mental and emotional state reflects on those I’m charged with nurturing.  (My pets don’t fall into this, they are always nurtured and cared for – this seems specific to my surroundings, plants included)

So…perhaps consider this.  For each space where you spend time, what is your environment like?  Does it foster comfort, creativity, stimulation, safety?  Is this a reflection on your own emotions and mindset?

Perhaps you can surround yourself in an environment that stimulates creativity, inspiration.  Include the people around you in this.  Perhaps, you too will find this an enlightening moment.

~ Eva

respect yourself

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On the cusp, everything occurs in cycles

“When you allow what others think to cloud your mind, you block your own light from shining through.” 

Monday.  I really don’t like Mondays.  Perhaps it’s that transition, the change in routine as I start my work week.  Perhaps it was ingrained in my head as a child as I didn’t like school very much.  “Re-focus your energies, your mindset” I can hear myself say, and that’s true.  I am grateful for the roof over my head, the people in my life, the opportunities I have.

As we enter into the last month of the year, I realize this has been an unusual one.  I know it is the same for others too.  Hopefully the end of this year brings about positive changes and fresh starts for the new one.  Growth, strength, understanding, opportunities.

I feel on the cusp of something once again, related to dance.  New ideas keep shifting around in my head.  My goal, set aside the time to bring it to life, slowly, trusting in the process.  Rushing is the biggest detriment for me.  My dances tend to be phases and keep evolving as I perform them, tweaking them each time until they finally feel complete.  They reveal themselves as I create.

You know, it’s scary sometimes, losing myself in that creation – that point where nothing else exists but that.  I fight it sometimes, procrastinate, keep thinking there are other things that should be done first.  It is generally an approaching deadline that forces me to jump in instead of just sticking my feet in from the dock.  I am a sucker for instant gratification sometimes, crossing something easy off the checklist, that sense of accomplishment.  Creation is a journey, the sense of accomplishment coming from within.  Sometimes it’s taken me weeks to get there, even months.

Everything comes in cycles, the seasons of the year, life, death, rebirth.  The seed that is planted within the soil that rests over the winter months to rise in the spring.  In the Northern Hemisphere we are entering a time of rest, of rebuilding.  Focus.  Self-evaluation.

Create from your heart and from your soul.  If something doesn’t feel right, question it.  If something doesn’t work, approach it from a new direction.  Turn your thoughts on their head.  Dream.  Feel inspired.  Find the places, the things, the people that inspire you and focus on those.  Breathe deeply and stand in the sunlight.

The world is yours.  Make of it what you will.

~ Eva

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Harleyquin Learning Center Workshops This Week – Dec 1st through Dec 7th

It’s time for more workshops!  All rested and recovered from a lovely weekend/too much turkey?  I’m ready to have fun, let my hair down, share, and play!

All are welcome and no registration is required.
Come and participate or observe! 

Workshops are presented in voice.   Please make sure you can hear voice before arriving.  If you prefer not to participate – feel free to come listen!  Comfy chairs and class notes provided.

Please arrive early to prepare.  To allow for greater focus and minimize distractions, the sim may be closed when the workshop begins.

Who We Are
Harleyquin Workshop Listing
Harleyquin Learning Center Landing Point

Saturday, Dec 1st

9 am – Mini Workshop:  Camera View/Save Setup HUD

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.

This tool is FREE, EASY TO USE, and best of all only 1 SCRIPT!
Buy yours here:  Marketplace link
(30 minutes, Project Platform)

Requirements to participate:  Own the Camera View/Save Setup HUD (free, link above)

10 am – Creating Small Stage Performances

Small stage performances are not just for the small stage!  By using panels to reduce the size of your dance area, you can create smaller, more intimate, and creative performances where you become the central focus – and still perform anywhere!  Without the need to create a large set and with just a minimal use of movers, you can focus your effort and creativity, showcasing your choreography and style.   Creating a small stage performance is also idea for the new choreographer and we’ll explore why.

During this workshop we will be reviewing the benefits and considerations in creating a small stage performance, the difference in choosing props, costumes, and effects, and how creating for the small stage can provide additional creative opportunities for dance either as a solo or for a small number of dancers.  We will also review how to adapt your small stage set to fit in a standard sized venue.
(1 hour, Project Platform)

Workshop Details

11 am – Creating Small Stage Performances, Interactive 2.0

Feel free to stay, ask questions, and practice what we covered during the workshop!  Informal and interactive!
(1 hour, Project Platform)

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Sunday, Dec 2nd

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

Workshop 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.

Workshop Details

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Monday, Dec 3rd

5 pm – Spot On Costume Assistant

Use this tool to add or remove objects to your dancers and/or yourself all with a simple command.  Objects include props, clothing pieces, worn particles, and more.  We cover everything from the basics to how to trigger costume/prop changes through the Performance Director and other tools!  A fun hands on exercise also included in the workshop.
(1 hour, Build Studio)

Requirements to participate:  Own the Spot On Costume Assistant

Workshop Details

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Meditation, energy, and what you put out there

Me?  I’m a normal person in every way.  Never “just” a normal person, I’m me – and all the insanity and insecurity that comes with it.  Sometimes life overwhelms me.  Sometimes I have to scrabble back from that dark grey pit of anxiety and uncertainty.  Dance is one of the ways I do this, when I can let go.

Yesterday I had to keep repeating to myself that everything will be ok.  I kept reminding myself that if I dwell on feeling like there isn’t enough, that there wouldn’t be – because that’s the mindset and the reality that would become true.  We’ve all been through difficult times and challenges, many of you right now – silent.  You aren’t alone.

Today’s meditation for me, on positivity.  Hope.  Belief.  Focusing on facing challenges, knowing that it will be ok, this too shall pass, and to stand in the light instead of dwelling in the darkness.

Breathe.  Deep.  Find the light in whatever you are facing.  Welcome in positive energy to see you through, and attract in those successes and what is needed.


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Workshops today have been rescheduled for next Sunday! Happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Today’s workshops on the Smooth Dancer HUD and transitions/freestyling have been rescheduled to next Sunday.

Please enjoy the holiday weekend, or a lovely Saturday.  I am so thankful for everyone in my life, every one who has touched it in some way and everyone who has crossed my path in whatever way that is.

Enjoy – and I hope to see you soon!

~ Eva

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What is Dance in SL?

Yesterday I led a workshop on Introduction to Dance and Choreography, specifically designed for those new or interested in being a choreographer, and those who want to build upon their foundation in dance.

This workshop changes because interaction is highly encouraged, almost expected, and each time is different because of it.  I think too, sometimes our minds are in tune with different ideas, open.  One of the most amazing things I find about teaching is that I too am a student.  I learn by the questions people ask, their unspoken communications.  Comments, opinions.  I am always in a state of self evaluation and growth.

What’s below are excerpts of the tutor notes for this workshop, which I provide to anyone attending.  During the workshop, I realized that some of my beliefs are still limiting.  I am extremely choreography focused.  To me, choreography is the most important piece of the dance.  You can’t have a dance without choreography, right?  To me, this is still true, that focusing on the “wow” of sets, costumes, effects, and not investing time into creating good choreography can really effect the impact of the dance.  Make it less than it could have been.  Have I done this?  Lost focus on my choreography…definitely.  Did people see that in my finished results?  …most definitely.

I often say that effects shouldn’t detract from a dance.  I do believe they shouldn’t obscure the dance, but who decides what detracts from a dance?  Isn’t this subjective?  Leading this workshop yesterday, I couldn’t get my mind off these words.

Make a conscious decision

In this workshop, I focused on the keys for building a strong foundation – and I stand by those.  It is when you have the knowledge that YOU decide how to apply it.  This is YOUR dance.  There are no rules.  Don’t use particles to mask weak choreography.  Focus on building your choreography skills, then use particles to make your dance whatever you want it to be.  If you DECIDE you need many particles during your dance to express your message, do it.  The same basic considerations will apply, your satisfaction with your dance, and also the audience experience.  You are creating for yourself, but the audience has also taken their time to come and watch.  Some will get it, some won’t, and that’s ok too.

Throwing a heap full of trees on your set – probably not a conscious decision.  Building a forest on your set to highlight the dancers – that’s a conscious decision.  Doing things just because you can, not so much of a conscious decision.  Doing this because they enhance the performance, fit into your goal and your happiness in self expression, THAT is a conscious decision.  Adding particles just because someone told you to, not a conscious decision.  Adding particles because YOU see how they will enhance the dance?  Conscious decision.  There are no rules, no formulas.

The same with dance in SL.  What is it?  There’s no one authority that can truly describe what dance is and isn’t in SL, there are all these flavors in between and most likely a venue for that type of dance creation.  There is art, imagination, creativity, practice, innovation – all brought together to create a dance in your own voice.  Each venue has its own style, own niche, own expectations for dances performed there which there should be.  This does not define or limit your dance, merely where you perform it.

Some venues prefer a more traditional/broadway/theatre style production.  This is one style of so many.  Find your own, what works for you.  Never forget – this is your creative outlet.  Don’t let anyone dissuade you, discourage you.  Create from that spark within you.  To me, it is the act of bringing my vision to life that is the most amazing feeling of all.  As Polonius says:  “To thine own self be true…”

~ Eva

What is Dance in SL?

Dance in SL the overall experience created by connecting music, movement, and environment together.  It is an expression of creativity and feeling.

  • music:  the music chosen for a dance.  Could be simply wind blowing, a top 40 hit, or a lyrical classic symphony.  Possibly no sound at all.
  • movement:  movement is expressed through animations played in a series, and can be further enhanced by the use of mover systems to add additional turns and movements across the stage.
  • environment:  environment is created by the costumes worn, the stage that surrounds the dancers, any props, lighting and effects used.

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.

There are no hard and fast rules, there are different opinions on everything, and very few absolutes.

Types of Dance in SL:

Freestyling – on your own or with friends, go to a club or turn on the music at your sim and just dance!  Wearing your animation hud, flick through those animations and create your own unique dance on the fly.  Nothing saved, just enjoy the music and the movement.  An excellent way to get to know your animations and help find your own style!

Small Performances – generally a solo, may be performed on a small stage, pit stage, or platform.  In most “small performances”, the focus is you, your choreography, and the music.  Generally few if any moves using a mover system.  These can be a lot of fun, less overwhelming than a big full stage production, and can provide a very “intimate” and close experience for you and the audience.  Think of this like a jazz singer performing in a jazz club compared to a full arena concert.  Generally one song with a variety of performances by different choreographers.  There is generally not a director overseeing and managing creative choices and development.  Examples:  TerpsiCorps Pit Shows, Inanna, potentially Club Image except for themed productions.

Performance Art – A different type of expression through dance.  May be more subjective, encourages the viewer to feel, think, challenges their understanding and pre-conceived notions about what dance is.  Often combined with an art creation/art piece.  May be purposely inflammatory, often strives for a reaction.

Full Stage Performance – for this I mean a full stage set, generally at a larger venue.  May be a solo dance or have many dancers.  A full stage performance is generally one song, on a large stage, with a variety of performances by different choreographers.  There is generally not a director overseeing and managing creative choices and development.  Examples:  Phoenix, Moonshadow, Elysium Cabaret.

Full Show Productions –  a full show production is generally a themed or cohesive show that is planned and structured to express a story and/or a full experience.  There will generally be some type of continuity to tie everything together – the set design, the story, the style.  There is generally a director involved who will oversee all aspects of the production and the creation of it.  Examples:  Monarchs, TerpsiCorps, Spirit Light Dance Company, and Club Image Productions such as Tarot.

and everything in between!

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Nov 19th workshop – Introduction to Dance and Choreography

logo harleyquin learning center 2018
Today’s workshop:

Introduction to Dance and Choreography
Mon, Nov 19th at 5:00 pm slt

Harleyquin Learning Center Pavilion  TP

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 we’ll be introducing what we believe are the key aspects of dance and offer 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.
(1 hour, Pavilion)

Workshop Details

All are welcome and no registration is required.
Come and participate or observe! 

Workshops are presented in voice.   Please make sure you can hear voice before arriving.  If you prefer not to participate – feel free to come listen!  Comfy chairs and class notes provided.

Please arrive early to prepare.  To allow for greater focus and to minimize distractions, the sim may be closed when the workshop begins.

Who We Are
Harleyquin Workshop Listing
Harleyquin Learning Center Landing Point

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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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