Forming a Dance Group 111004
Dancing in SL is fun. It is even more fun when you master using your dance HUD to lead dancing. Many people get to this stage and want to go even further by forming a dance group or team. This note gives an overview of setting up and running a successful dance group.
If you have ever seen a dance group perform in SL, it can be amazing. The choreography, the sets, the costumes, the music can all combine to make a really spectacular show. Here are the main things that you need to consider to start a dance group:
Start relatively small with just a few members. It takes commitment to make a dance group work with lots of practice and preparation. When you start out some people will find that other things get in the way of dancing, so it is best to start with a small dedicated group. Being in a close RL time zone is also important so you have plenty of time together.
2. PROGRAM DESIGN
Someone has to decide what the group will do. Often this is a group decision, for example, an Elvis Show, ballet performances or a 30's Music Show. In putting together a show you need to think about length in time, set, costumes, music, choreography, dance leadership, communication, movement, location, publicity, finances and management. For your first show choose something easy and simple.
The sound for a show can be all music or a mix of music and dialog. It can be all pre-recorded or include extemporaneous comments or even live music. The group needs to have someone (or more than one) proficient in using WinAmp/Shoutcast or similar product with a stream to provide the sound.
4. SET DESIGN
The set design can be nothing at all except a bare stage to something very elaborate and interactive with the performers. The set has to be built and may need to be portable to fit the dance location.
5. DANCE LEADERS
Although some dance groups have members without HUDs, every dance group has at least one and usually more than one person who has a dance HUD or something similar and knows how to use it well.
6. COSTUMES AND PROPS
Costumes look great when they fit the show's design. Acquiring the costumes and figuring out how to change during a high-lag show is challenging. Using props adds even more challenge and needs to be considered by the choreographers.
Once you have the music selected and the set designed, you can work on the choreography. You can do Freestyle Choreography, but most groups use Sequenced Choreography with the dances tailored to the specific songs in the show. This requires someone (or ones) who can do choreography.
Communication during a show is important. Friends conferences are the main way to do this.
You can set up a show with the dancers set up in a specific location and remain at that location the entire show. More advanced dance groups use movement during the show. The XPOSE, Zhaza's Moving Pose Balls (DB Dance System) or the DanceMaster are used to move dancers around. This requires someone (or ones) to design the movement and to operate it during the show.
Knowing the audience and the location is important. If there will be a lot of people, lag will be an issue. The view of the stage is important as is the distance to the stage. If particles are used during a show this adds to lag. Lighting is important too.
A practice area needs to be available where you can do all that the show requires. Practicing makes a big difference in show quality.
Starting out as a new dance group requires finding a place to perform. Once you find a place, you need to publicize your show and send invitations to your dance group's groupies, your friends and put it in SL events. A logo is helpful too and a write up about the group.
It takes some money to put on a show. You can get a lot of free stuff, but expect to spend more than you make. Also someone needs to create and manage the tip jar during the show. You also need to determine how to distribute the tips among the Dance Group.
What to do when someone doesn't show up is a major consideration. Lag is always a problem and all dances should be run through just prior to the show. After a show you should review what went well and what you could do better. Putting on shows is a learning experience.