Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sequenced Choreography

Sequenced Choreography 110929

Dancing in SL is fun and even more fun when the dances fit the music and the dances are sexy and fun. Choreography is a way to stitch together dances to make a Dance Sequence that really is hot.  There are two ways to do choreography. One is to do choreography by switching dances during a song (Freestyle Choreography). The other is to make Dance Sequences (Sequenced Choreography) and click at the beginning of the song. This notecard tells you how to do Sequenced Choreography.



To choreograph dances you need five things:
1. A Huddles EZ Animator Delux or Fleursoft HUD. If you have the Huddles Basic, it will not work.
2. A selection of dances to choose from for the sequence. These dances need to be in your HUD.
3. A Choreography Grid - Although the Choreography Grid is optional, it really helps you see your location when matching dances. The Choreography Grid is in the Free Stuff box.
3. Attention to detail
4. About one hour



Choreography is stitching together several dances to create a pleasing dance sequence. A well choreographed dance makes the dancers look and feel like they are actually dancing to the song matching the rythm and the feel of the song

The Huddles EZ Animator Delux or Fleursoft allows this by using Notecards. Choreography is a process of selecting dances and fitting them together so that they look smooth when transitioning from one to the next and the whole matches.

Today, we will cover all of the steps necessary for you to be able to choreograph. For the class today we will use five dances:

1. f_dance_20 from henmations
2. cherry pips from sine wave
3. f_dance_26 from henmations
4. f_dance_06 from henmations
5. Sultry Down Body from Abranimations

You do not need those dances today. Instead, I will add each of you to my HUD so you can see each step of the process. Please accept my invitiation to dance. Also hop on a pose ball on the dance circle to make it easier to see.

Sequenced choreography is either for a specific song or for a specific speed of song. When it is for a specific song, you can almost exactly match the dances to the song. Dance groups that perform use sequenced choreography for this purpose. The more common use is for matching the tempo or beat of a song, which is usually slow, medium or fast, but can have additional divisions. For example, I use eight.

In this class we will make a sequence for a specific tempo, but the process is the same for a tempo or a specific song.



The first step is to identify the dances that you want to use in your sequence. When I am making a sequence I consider three things:

1. I use only good dances. They can be looped, which means that they repeat themselves, or non-looped. I usually don't use poorly made dances or dances that end in a different place than where they start. Let me show you a bad dance. This is 5mokolo. It is looped but jumps when it repeats itself.

2. I decide what speed of dance I want. Usually, I use dances that are all the same speed in a sequence. I look at speed as slow, medium or fast. Occasionally I will mix speeds but not normally. Categorize your dances into these three speeds. Let me show you three speeds. First is slow with the dance "swoon". Next, is a medium speed dance "f_dance_20". Last is a fast dance "let me think about it". These divisions into slow, medium and fast are arbitrary but useful.

3. I also decide if the dance will be a specialty dance. For example, a break dance is a specialty dance. Here is a break dance, "AKEYO_dance_BEN_break01". So is a Spanish dance like "farruca". This requires looking at the dances and deciding if they are general or specific.

Once I have selected the dances I play them to be sure that they go together. Let me play each of these dances.

1. f_dance_20 from henmations
2. cherry pips from sine wave
3. f_dance_26 from henmations
4. f_dance_06 from henmations
5. Sultry Down Body from Abranimations

We will make a Dance Sequence from these 5 dances.

The easiest dances to put together in a sequence are those made by the same Dance Creator from a series produced by that Creator. Dance Creators often will place similar dances together at their store. Making a sequence of dances from different creators is more difficult, so for your first sequence stick to dances from the same maker.



Hop on the pose ball in the middle of the Chroreography Grid. This places you at the center in a standing position. The grid is designed so that you can see what your position is and is very useful for matching dances. When matching dances you switch from one dance to another and need to minimize the distance between the switching point of one dance from the beginning of the next. There are several variations of the Choreography Grid, so use the one that you liike best.


The next thing I do is time the dance. By this I mean how long the dance goes before it repeats. I took a list given me by Cheryl Nitely and have added to it. I send it out with revisions occasionally to DANCE QUEENS members. Let me give each of you the current Dance Times list. You can see it lists the dances in alphabetical order. Each dance has its name spelled exactly right followed by the "|" symbol then a number and the "|" symbol again. For example, f_dance_20|20| means that the dance f_dance_20 is 20 seconds before it repeats itself.

If the dance is not listed or the time is not indicated, you have to time the dance. This usually is easy to do. You watch a dance and you begin to see the same pattern repeated. Most dances are 15 to 30 seconds long. To get an acurate length of time I start the dance and time it with a watch or stopwatch.  Recently, I have used the online timer at The maximum length of one animation in SL is 30 seconds.

Let me show you f_dance_20. First, I will restart it about five times so you can see the beginning. I watch the movement or where I am standing to be sure where the beginning is. Now I will run through the sequence and stop as soon as I see it repeating. Let me do it again.

Alternately i find a place in the sequence that is easy to spot and time from there until it repeats. In f_dance_20 a good spot would be when your right knee touches the ground.



To match dances I decide the sequence I want to use. Matching involves deciding not only the order of the dances, but where to switch from one to the other. Most dances start out where you are standing and face the front. Let me show u "f_dance_20" again and watch where it begins versus where you are standing. Also notice the direction you face. Let me show you an example where the dance actually starts in a different place. This is "red chili sheen" and it actually begins by jumping back. I will restart it several times so you can focus on your feet. Here is "weloveyou-girl" which starts facing right instead of forward. I will restart it several times.

When matching you also want to think about your arms and legs. Some dances fit together very well. Here is how "crimson breeze" and "dip me in chocolate" fit together. First, let me show you "crimson breeze". Now i will show you "dip me in chocolate". Do you see in crimson breeze that the right arm is in the air at  one point. Similarly, in dip me in chocolate you see the same thing. This is a good place to transition.

So you do the best you can to match the dances. This determines the order and the transition point. If I cant find a good transition point, I insert Sultry Down Body. It is a two-second, non-looped dance that is good for transitions.

Usually I use three dances at a minimim for a sequence. Sometimes I use more. With three you can repeat and in a three-minute song there is not too much repetition.



Usually, I create the first try at a sequence by using the repeat times for a dance. I put the dances in the order I have selected. For example, the sequence I chose was this:
f_dance_20|20|f_dance_26|19|f_dance_06|18|cherry pips|20|f_dance_20|20|f_dance_26|19|f_dance_06|18|f_dance_20|20|f_dance_26|19|f_dance_06|18|f_dance_20|20|f_dance_26|19|f_dance_06

This means the the dance starts with "f_dance_20" and it plays for 20 seconds. The next dance starts after 20 seconds and is "f_dance_26" and it plays for 19 seconds.

You can see I chose to play "cherry pips" only one time. I did this because I wanted to have on the ground movement only one time. Other than that I decided to just repeat the order for the other three dances. You can also use the [REPEAT] command to repeat the sequence.

What I have created is a pretty good sequence. In fact, I would use it. But, some of you may have noticed that there were small jumps between some dances. This leads to adjusting the dance.



One of the more noticeable places where a jump occurred was between the third dance "f_dance_06" and "cherry pips".

Let me show you that part of the sequence just f_dance_06|18|cherry pips|20|. Watch the transition.

It felt like the dance should have switched maybe a second earlier. So here is the same section with one second off the timing of "f_dance_06" so the section is now f_dance_06|17|cherry pips|20|. Watch the transtion.

It looks better. You can set hundredths of a second if you want. Most dances are at 30 frames per second so one frame is 0.03 seconds.

You can do this adjustment with every transition. You can use Sultry Down Body if the dances are very different.

Sometimes you cannot achieve perfection and you just have to accept a slight jump between dances.



Now we have our adjusted sequence:

f_dance_20|20|f_dance_26|19|f_dance_06|17|cherry pips|20|f_dance_20|20|f_dance_26|19|f_dance_06|18|f_dance_20|20|f_dance_26|19|f_dance_06|18|f_dance_20|20|f_dance_26|19|f_dance_06

You put this in your HUD on one line. When you do that the HUD shows it as only the first dance, in this case "f_dance_20" but it is your sequenced dance. If you want to name the sequence you can use the [NAME] command.

If you make a sequence, send it to me. I will try it and publish it to all of the members of DANCE QUEEN.

This ends the class. Any more questions?

Have fun with your Sequenced Choreography!!

Nottoo Wise