Tuesday, December 25, 2012

DANCE QUEENS - Reflections and Visions

DANCE QUEENS - Reflections and Visions 121225

The end of the year and beginning of the next is always a time for me to reflect a bit on what has happened and think about the vision of what I want to happen in the next year. Yummy's recent article on Milestones has spurred me to think about this a few days earlier than usual.

So, I first went back to last December and looked for what I wrote then. Nothing! Hahahaha. Well, maybe I am not as organized as I thought.

Next, I went through the list of DANCE QUEENS blog posts for 2012. You can see the titles by scrolling to the bottom of this page. As I write this there are 512 posts in 2012. So, I spent a little time reading the titles and a few of the articles.

Finally, I just thought about 2012 and what was in my mind and heart as significant.

From all this here is what I view as significant in 2012 in dancing and DANCE QUEENS (in no particular order):
  • COMMUNITY - On 120101 (January 1, 2012) there were 330 members in DANCE QUEENS. Right now there are 515 members. There is no advertising for DANCE QUEENS and we don't sell anything. Growth comes from word-of-mouth or people finding us through search or by chance. People stay because DANCE QUEENS adds value to their Second Life. DANCE QUEENS has a diversity that I am really proud of. Every kind of dance is represented and every level of skill. Most rewarding of all is I think in 2012 there has been a real growth in dancers talking and sharing with each other. Two of the concerns I have with the community aspect of DANCE QUEENS are that I feel we don't do enough to address the needs of special groups and beginning dancers, and there is too much turn-over in membership. When someone joins DANCE QUEENS her/his title is automatically set as Dance Queen. Occasionally, I go through the membership list and add the second title of Dance King to everyone. This is how I identify new members. I keep a monthly tally of total members and I can see that we are losing about one member for every two that join. This can only be because we are not meeting their needs. I don't know who the people are who leave and I don't know why.
  • INVOLVEMENT - When I started DANCE QUEENS in 2008, there were only two members, Riddle and me. Over the years I have been the leading force behind it with the exception of a few months in 2010 when I was in RL and Cheryl Nitely, Cilla Teebrook and Galilla Sinatra kept DANCE QUEENS alive. In 2012 I actively tried to get more involvement. One result of the success we are having with the Community aspect of dancing is the amount of effort necessary to support it. I realized that I could not do it all. I can't list all the names of people who have been involved in 2012. There are too many of you. Please accept my thanks for helping and my apologies if I don't single you out. There are a few people who have shown a lot of leadership by their involvement and I do want to mention them. Yummy ... writing a column is no easy task. Since June we have had nine columns by Yummy giving her view on dancing. I can see the popularity of different posts that are made and Yummy's always rate near the top. Psyche Lunasea ... database contributor, extraordinary dance blogger, bridge to the Japanese dance talent in SL and friend. Wow, what more can I say. Montana Ballard ... perseverance on an almost impossible task of trying to make the Dance Calendar work. It doesn't, but not for lack of trying. Hendrik Schroeder, Ramona Criss, Jariah Yuhara, Racheal Young, Bryndyn Burton ... yes the dance animation and equipment leaders. I often talk with them about their products and share ideas with them. I think the interaction between DANCE QUEENS members and the providers of what we use is the best it has ever been. The list goes on, but let me stop here. Involvement is up and I like it.
  • INNOVATION - A real surprise for me in 2012 was the large number of new dances. I thought we were about saturated with dances but wow was I wrong. Just as exciting has been the innovation in equipment with dance HUDs, the innovation in position and movement represented by newer and better control systems, the improvement in sim couples dances systems, and the innovation in dance performances. I differ in view from Yummy. I'm rarely bored when I see a dance performance and I still get excited by both the dancing and the showmanship. The Dance Festival V had some really great performances and venues for shows, burlesque and variety performances continue to thrive. I don't see a decline in interest in this side of dancing ... just the opposite.
  • RECOGNITION - The idea of recognition is something I have thought a lot about in 2012. DANCE QUEENS is about sharing and not winners and losers, so it took me a long time to get comfortable with the idea of the DANCE QUEENS Dance Awards for 2012. The event will be in 2013, but the recognition is for 2012 and the thinking I have done about it is over 2012. I am really trying hard to make these awards special and respected. I know there is recognition among different groups of dancers, different venues, different suppliers, but the Cutie I hope will be the ultimate recognition for dancing since it is for and from the whole community.
  • FUN - Dancing continues to be fun and it is found in so many different ways. Maybe it is dancing in a club and being recognized as a good dancer. I had a talk today with a DANCE QUEENS member about how much fun she has just leading people at a beach club she goes to. Her know-how has been increased through DANCE QUEENS and she gets a lot of fun and respect from her dancing. I could see the enthusiasm in Halfpint Raymaker a while back when she was playing with the idea of mirrors ... she was having fun with dancing. Pia Klaar's video of Nossa dancing is another result of fun with dancing as a part of it. Dancing gives us fun in so any different ways and I think each person experiences it uniquely. I never would have imagined writing a blog about dancing, but it's fun for me.
Rereading what I just wrote gives me kind of a strange feeling. There is no substance in terms of dances, shows, equipment ... the tangible things in our virtual world. But, I think I've covered the important part of dancing in 2012 ... the feelings it gives.

Now to 2013 and my vision ... maybe my dreams or nightmares. Hahhah.

I think we are on the edge of a significant change in dancing in SL. I am in the position that I get to hear about many of the new things that are coming and one in particular I believe will change the face of dancing. Racheal Young is working on a version of the Barre HUD that will allow one avatar to control multiple groups of avatars to dance different dance sequences. I wasn't around when dance HUDs were introduced that allowed you to invite someone else to dance, but I think that was a major change for SL dancing. I feel this change which should occur in late January, will have the same impact. WOW ... I can imagine this affecting not just shows but also club dancing.

It may spur the development of additional equipment and I think even more dances. I can even imagine the end of sim-wide dance systems like the INTAN, TIS Hybrid or Henmations Club Control. This is exciting and will happen soon.

More people will dance and I like that. I plan to start making dance sequences that will include two or more dancers. You probably will too.

I plan to increase my efforts to get more involvement in DANCE QUEENS by members who are interested in this. DANCE QUEENS is in one way my baby and I want so much for it to continue growing and meeting the needs of dancers, but it takes a toll on me. I don't get to dance as much as I want either in clubs or in shows. I am torn between developing a plan to get the DANCE QUEENS group to take over running of the group through elected leaders and wanting to control every aspect of what the group does. Hahahaah ... it's a baby that has grown up. So, I expect I will be loosening my reins a lot this next year.

I also want to put more effort into beginning dancers and special interest groups. When I look at the articles from 2012 about dancing and take out the ones about new dances or shows, the posts tend to be quite advanced and technical. What fun is that for a new dancer? I don't want to lose these useful articles, but I want more articles for people at a less experienced level.

Yes, there will be a Dance Festival VI probably in July or August. I hope The Cutie awards are a big success and lead to more documentation of dancing and a continuation of the Cutie Awards for a long time.

So, that's about it ... Reflection and Vision.