Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Sirens Call - A Beginning for the New Dancer, Post 2 - Observation, Learning Style, and Inspiration

A new series, sharing my own beliefs, methods, and suggestions for the new dancer.  As with anything I say or teach - QUESTION EVERYTHING!  There are many different approaches and methods to dance.  From all you learn, all you experience, strive to create your own methods, ideas, and knowledge.  Unique and your own.

Disclaimer:  The author of this article wishes to point out, in case it was not already embarrassingly, ridiculously obvious, that the opinions expressed belong solely to the author and they do not represent in any way those of Dance Queens, Dance Queens members, any affiliations, friends, non-friends, the guy in the 3rd row, or management.  If you must...EvaHarley bio

Woot!  You're back - wasn't sure you'd make it!  It can be so tempting...the excitement of jumping into dance immediately, the anticipation of glory and accolades - golden lindens being showered down from above as you are carried by four burly....(oh wait, that was my dream last night...where were we?)

Yes!  Foundation!  In our previous post HERE, I introduced choreography in SL and a bit of the flow as you learn to create your own.

You may find during this series that for me, dance in SL is a form of expression, it is art, it is a method of sharing a piece of yourself with others.  Whether a dance performance is inspiring, tear jerking, sexy, powerful, or funny, so many choreographers pour their heart and soul into what they create.  Passionate.

Each choreographer you talk to will have a different answer - what is the "best" tool, what is choreography, how to create a dance.  Never forget, this is YOUR adventure.  Dance in SL is what YOU choose to make of it, whether you choose to perform for a single venue, tour around the grid, or create just for yourself.  This series is but one resource of many available to you.

A dance performance is made up of many different pieces - the music, the choreography, the set, the costumes, the dancers, the movement across the stage, the effects, and more.  To me, an amazing performance is one that you can lose yourself in, where for that moment in time nothing else exists.  It is a choreographer's goal to bring together these individual pieces into an experience, where the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts.  The dance doesn't have to be an epic production with 30 dancers to be memorable.  Once again there is no set formula or rules in what makes a great performance.

So, what next?  Observe, observe, observe.

Dance Queens is an excellent resource for finding a variety of dance venues and shows.  You can also use SL search for dance theatres, and possibly SL events.  If any readers have additional recommendations, please feel free to add them in the comments!

Visit at least 2-3 shows per week if you can, different venues, different choreographers.  What kind of music/dance inspires you?  Each venue has its own "vibe".  Do you prefer big themed productions?  Variety shows?  More intimate theatres or full stages?  Picture yourself performing - what do you see?  This will help guide you on your dance journey.  Observe the sets, the costumes, the choreography, the music choices.  Do not judge, just as we shouldn't judge art in a museum.  Observe.  What makes a dance you see special for you?  What is the flow?  What is the message or feeling you get?  From your observations you will begin to learn what speaks to you most, and slowly you will begin to observe the choreography transitions, the color schemes, how effects help enhance the performance, and more.

Dance can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it honestly.  The tools you use, the number of dancers, it's all your choice.  Before you dive down the rabbit hole, consider what your learning style is.  There are guides and manuals, blogs, workshops, youtube videos, and sometimes you can even find a mentor.  Some prefer to learn on their own trial and error - some prefer interaction with others.  Know your learning style, and remember - slow and steady.  As you watch performances, you most likely will want to know how they are created.  This is where knowing your learning style will soon come into play.

WAIT!  I have one rule - yes rule!  As you watch other performances, whether as someone new to dance, choreography, or one that has been creating for some time - do not ever compare yourself to others!  It is so easy to let doubt creep in, become overwhelmed, to admit defeat before you start.  We all have our own unique talents.  Dance is about self expression, not about being "the best".  In my opinion, there can't be a 'best' because there is so much variety in the dance world.  Everything is always changing and evolving, new theatres spring up, new tools and resources, new choreographers.

Observe dance in SL as you would any other artform - appreciate it, enjoy it, and know that perhaps you too have art in your soul to express in whatever method you enjoy most.  Everyone begins at the beginning, and everyone continues to learn and grow if they so choose.

Next post:
Post 3 - Choosing music and what is choreography.  Post 4 we'll be introducing animations and animation HUDs.