Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Group Dancing - Helpful Tools and Tips


Group Dancing - Helpful Tools and Tips 111018


Group Dancing is when you are leading a group of dancers using your dance HUD. Group Dancing is usually done in clubs. Group Dancing is also done in shows but I prefer to separate Show Dancing into a separate category because of the many other issues involved in putting on show.

This note contains some useful tools and tips to help you with Group Dancing.

The first time I was in a club and saw two people dancing the same dance in sync I was amazed. I loved the look of it. That started my search for dance HUDs and learning what they can do. So, of course the first thing you need is a dance HUD. I have looked at many dance HUDs and there are two I recommend: the Huddles EZ Animator Deluxe and the Fleursoft. I have three dance HUDs in queue to look at: the Barre, The TIS Fusion and the new one from Henmations. After I have looked at them, I will publish an analysis to help you choose the right one for you. So, get a HUD and put your dances in it. This is described in many places in this blog.

So, once you know how to make your HUD work for group dancing and you know your dances, you are ready to WOW them leading a group. This means you already understand Freestyle and/or Sequenced choreography. You don't have to know these but you will look sloppy if you don't.

Dancing with one other person is the easiest to do. I usually do this in one of four ways:
  1. We both dance in sync but don't worry about our orientation to each other. I am a visual person and love the look of the synchronization, so being at a random angle from each other is my least favorite way of dancing for two.
     
  2. We both dance in sync side by side facing the same direction. I love this look of two people dancing together this way. There are two minor challenges to making this look right. One is getting side-by-side. It's not always so easy to position yourself next to another person at maybe 1 m apart. Sometimes I laugh as I go forwards and backwards trying to get in line. So I learned the way to get positioned is to walk about 3 m to the side of the person so that you are facing perpendicular to each other, then walk to the place 1 M at their side and rotate my body to face the same direction. The second minor challenge is to orient the two of you so you are in parallel. This becomes noticeable when you dance a dance that moves you several meters from the center point. You see the two of you separate or overlap. It's yucky for that synchronized look. So I stop the dancing and turn my avatar just a little to get us in line.
     
  3. We both dance in sync facing each other. I do this a lot with Riddle. Generally, I place us about 1 m apart. There are a couple of things to keep in mind with this orientation. Usually I want to minimize pass-throughs, which is the term I use for one avatar passing through another. I will move the distance between us a bit depending on the dance we are doing. I love for us to just touch, so for dances that have some forward movement, I slide back increasing the distance between us.
     
  4. We both dance in sync facing opposite directions offset by 1 m. This sounds complicated but really its the same as dancing face to face except I slide to the right 1 m. I have found that this position minimizes pass-throughs and I don't have to move back and forth. I often use this orientation when I am dancing with another girl and we are looking sexy with lots of laughing. This one is also good for me because I am usually much taller than other avatars and it makes the height difference less noticeable.
Dancing with two or more people adds a few more challenges, but is so much fun. Again there are several options for doing this:
  1. Random orientation. I often do this when I am leading a group when Riddle is DJing. I ask people if they want to dance and send them an invitation. One thing I learned about group dancing is that a much higher percentage of girls like it than guys. When I ran a blues club, I emphasized group dancing and the club membership was skewed about 60-40 female to male. I do not know for sure, but I think there are two reasons for this. One is guys like dancing to be close to a girl and to talk while dancing. Girls like the talking, but also love to move their bodies anytime. Two is that most dances are made for females and many guys don't like to look feminine while dancing. So, when group dancing with guys and girls, I mix in some guy sequences along wih the girlie ones.
     
  2. Lined up. When I first started leading dancing in clubs in 2007, I didn't worry about lining people up. We used to dance at Toby's Juke Joint on the bar and just getting on the bar was a challenge. Part of the fun was knocking people off the bar when it got crowded. In 2008 when Riddle and I started our first club (Not Too Hot), I began to think about lining people up.

    The first thing I did was to make single pose balls with a standing anim in it. This is the DANCE QUEENS - Dance Ball Individual for Group (you can find all of these tools at Dance Central in the Free Stuff Box in the box called DANCE QUEENS - Group Dancing Tools). All this pose ball does is place you in a standing position ... aTENNNshun. You may have to adjust the height. You can link several pose balls together in a line. For example, I had a bar that was long enough for seven dances separated by 1 m each. So, I made a seven person set of pose balls all facing the same way: DANCE QUEENS - 7 Dance Line - 1M. All you have to do is rezz the set of pose balls and adjust the positions and people can hop on and be perfectly oriented. Then, you can lead with your HUD and it looks really great.

    Next, I made a circular set of 16 dance balls: DANCE QUEENS - Dance Circle 16 person. This is good for dancing in a large group. Everyone crashes in the middle on dances that move foreward and it creates lots of fun.

    My friend, Rug Halberd, made a height adjusting dance pad: DANCE QUEENS - Individual Dance Pad - Height Adjust. This is a dance pad that requires two steps, one is to touch to get the avatar height and two is to sit. What this does is solves the problem of different avatar heights so
    everyone just touches the floor. From that I made a line of five: DANCE QUEENS - Dance Line 5 - Height Adjust.

    I have made lots of variations of lining up people and now you can too.
     
  3. I have also used the XPOSE for Group Dancing. It takes some set up to do it, but it lets you move pose ball positions. This way you can have a group and have one person moved to the front or upside down or anything you can dream of.
Group Dancing also opens the possibilities for using two HUDs. You can divide the group so you part on one HUD and the rest on another. I will cover using two HUDs in a future note.

xxx
Nottoo

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