Sunday, October 9, 2011

Couples Dancing - Overview

Couples Dancing - Overview 111009

When I started in SL in early 2007, clubs were littered with couples pose balls for couples dancing. At that time Bits and Bobs V3 and Sexy Jesse's Hot Salsa were the rage. In 2008 the INTAN Dance System swept through SL Clubs almost eliminating the static pose balls and cleaning up the look of the clubs. Now, there are a lot of couples dance makers and well over 100 quality couples dances (I have 160 in my club's INTAN).

This note is aimed at reviewing couples dancing in general. Other notes will detail the many options available.



There are five ways to couples dance:

1. No Pose Balls Unsynced - WIth this option both persons dance their own dance using individual dances. They can control their dances from a club's dance ball, their own HUD or just by activating the dance that is open on their screen. I often dance this way with my partner. This approach lets you dance anywhere but does not allow coordination of dances and often leads to the dancers passing through each other.

2. No Pose Balls Synced - This option has one person from the couple using a dance HUD. Both follow the same dance. I also do this a lot. I like to position the couple one of three ways:
a. Side by side facing the same direction about 0.75 m apart -  great for a patterned look
b. Face to face with about 1 m apart - like RL dancing
c. Face to face 1 m apart then one person offset to the right about 0.5 m - this reduces the amount of times dancers pass through each other

3. Static Pose Balls - This is the original way to couples dance. You dance the dances that are in the pose ball. This allows synchronized dancing but requires the dancing be done at that spot. If you bring your own pose balls, you have to have rezzing rights and you have to remember to take your pose balls when you are done.

4. INTAN or TIS Hybrid Dance Systems - Almost everyone has mastered dancing with the INTAN or TIS Hybrid system. These systems allow a couple to dance anywhere that the INTAN can reach with a synced dance, clears the pose ball litter, and reduces costs since a specific couples dance only has to be put in the system one time.

5. XPOSE Pose Balls - The XPOSE system was originally developed for other couples' activities (cuddles and sex), but can be used for dancing. The XPOSE system can be added to a floor or a pad so that a couple can choose a dance and the pose balls are activated. This allows for syced dancing at that specific location, but only at the pre-determined locations. The XPOSE is also not so easy to set-up.



Making animations is possible but very challenging. Programs such Qavimator or BVHacker give you the basics, but a lot of work generally leads to a jerky and lousy dance. Commercial software combined with motion capture (MOCAP) technology is the way to make dances. Couples dances are even more challenging since coordination of the animation sequence is necessary. Making couples dances from scratch is likely beyond the capabilities of most DANCE QUEENS members.

However, making couples from existing animations is possible. There are three ways to do this. All three include an initial selection of dances and choreographing the couples dance. Included in this is determining the initial spacing and orientation of the two dancers.

1. Static Pose Balls - You can get scripts in SL that sync the animations of two pose balls that are linked.

2. INTAN Pose Balls - You place the two dances in the INTAN or TIS Hybrid and modify the appropriate notecard (INTAN) with the spacing and orientation.

3. XPOSE Pose Balls - You place the two dances in the XPOSE and modify the .MENUITEMS and .POSITIONS notecards.

The XPOSE system offers an easy way to determine the spacing and orientation of the dancers. Since it is easy to move the pose balls while doing choreography, I recommend making the couples dances using XPOSE.



One popular dance is called Shake Nasty which in its original version was a three-person dance from Sexy Jesse's. The INTAN and TIS Hybrid do not work for more than two pose balls and cannot rezz a three or more person dance. Of course you can rezz the pose balls, but you can also use the XPOSE system for this. I have put Shake Nasty into an XPOSE and have it at my Club, Not2z, if you want to see it.


Nottoo Wise