Sunday, May 6, 2012

Advanced Dancing 06

Advanced Dancing 06 (120506)

One of the real pleasures for me with DANCE QUEENS is that I have met so many people. Psyche Lunasea is one person whom I have met. I feel so lucky to know her both because she is a superb dancer, but also because she looks at organizing dancing and gives me ideas for improving how DANCE QUEENS can be more effective. Psyche writes her own blog about dancing and I use Google translate to read it every day.

Anyway, Psyche was kind enough to write a blog post about Advanced Dancing and here it is ...


I'm Psyche Lunasea from Japan. I choreograph for MaHal, a couple dance unit. 

Four years ago, I choreographed the first dance.  It was salsa!  Of course it was a solo one, and naturally I was not satisfied with it.  I had both Huddles EZAD and Intan then.  Intan was perfect for couple dances once a dance began, but it was not designed for shows.  Huddles EZAD had a good macro system, but I didn't have the idea of dancing in couples with it.  But as I was taking care of Intan, I noticed that the animations in the couple dance balls have the same symbol as the ones for solo dance animations;-)  In those days I began to be bored of Second Life, and I decided to try anyway before quitting Sl.  Me and my ALT Yoichi sat on two balls set on almost the same position and operated two Huddles EZADs.  Luckily enough, that worked better than I had expected.  Afterwards I knew almost all mocap dances have the same positions to dance.  Three 3FX dances (16, 26 & 27) are exceptions.  As Nottoo recently noted, all Bits & Bob's are non-MOCAp and exceptional.  I was so happy and began performance as MaHal; I didn't quit;-)  Just as other dancers dance in solos or groups, I have just been dancing in pairs.

At first I did not know "/99n" or "[99]n" options, so I operated two Huddles EZADs with one of them waiting 0.3 seconds for the other start.  Anyway I managed to do it, but I was not satisfied.  Huddles EAZD is a wonderful dance HUD, but it is not designed for couple dancing, and I long wanted a device that can control positions together with playing animations.  I knew some devices that can control positions, but I needed to change positions just at the same time as the changes of animations.  And at last, one of my friends Snuma Whitfield realized the dream last year.  The dance HUD, MLDU5+ is not yet popular, but it is the ultimate dance HUD for me.

What I do first is choosing music.  I have choreographed more than 200 dances, and as a couple dance choreographer, I love latin dances (tango, salsa, mambo,...) and retro-pop / jazz and rock'n'roll.  I also love oriental music and then we dance in a group of three.  I will have to listen to the same tune tens of times while choreographing, so the music should be good enough.  Otherwise I would not feel bored and give up choreographing to the song.  In other words, when I've done, I can dance to excellent music.  While choosing songs, I have vague ideas which animation is good for each part of the song, and write down the names of animations I can use.  Of course, I consult the database of the dances I have (and I don't have) in which I have noted the characters of them beforehand.  There are too many animations to learn by heart;-)  The database Nottoo offers is so organized and useful.  I add some columns like, "whether I have / not", "where I can get", "For what kind of dances I can use" and so on.

Next, I write down the time when to change animations and the atmosphere of the animation necessary for each scene.  At this stage, I put the candidate animations in Huddles EZAD (MLDU5+ is not designed for choosing a dance among a list).  I mainly use couple dance animations, and also use combinations of two solo dance animations.  I do so because there are just about 100 couple dances good enough for shows, and if you use only couple dances, one of the two dancers always shows their backs naturally.  I repeatedly listen to music and play animations to the song in a kind of freestyle.  When I'm satisfied, I will write a notecard for MLDU5+.  I don't write about how to choreograph with MLDU5+. It has unique functions, and the description on the notecards looks complicated, just because it can manage complicated movements.  i need too much space if I try to explain how to choreograph with MLDU5+.  So instead, I think it's far better to see what you can do with MLDU5+ in the wonderful movies one of my friends Florine Writer took.

I want to add that MLDU5+ is not just good for couple dances.  That you can control the position means that you can make the transitions of solo dances smoother.  If you want to make a very good sequence of two solo animations and the first one goes one meter apart from the center and turns ninety degrees away at the time you want to connect two, you can manage to connect the two.  This function increases the flexibility of choreographing, I believe.  If you are interested in MLDU5+, I'm pleased to talk about it with you, and Snuma Whitfield will answer technical questions. 

I don't have things that other dancers have.  I don't have regular staff to manage or promote my activity.  I don't use particles.  I don't have beautiful stages and sometimes just dance on the beach or in clouds.  I don't have gorgeous lightings or picturesque settings.  My dances don't have stories - just the music has stories.  I don't have genius or extraordinary senses, I have just imagination, concentration and patience, love of music and dancing together with respect for real life dancers and animation creators. 

Thank you, SL!

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