I’m always amazed by how many people are unaware of the show dance scene in SL.
If you ask most people about dancing, they immediately think of clubs, socializing, or ballroom/couples dancing.
For over 5 years now (eek!), I have been involved in ‘show’ dancing in SL.
I went from being a ball-warmer (not that kind!) to being a lead dancer to being a choreographer to being a solo artist. 😀
Show dancing is a ton of fun, but there are some things you need to know before you jump in.
(Please – jump in – new victims, err . . . dancers are always nice!)
If you’ve never seen a dance show in SL, hop over to my calendar page for a listing of regular weekly shows (with SLURL’s) and check one out.
The first thing you’ll need to be a show dancer/choreographer is dance animations.
I recommend buying only copy animations to protect yourself in case of loss (i.e. – SL eats your stuff 😛 ).
There are a lot of great dance animation stores (see my list here), but I highly recommend Abranimations and A&M Mocap.
The next item you’ll need is a dance HUD that will let you ‘sequence’ your dances, so that you can make your own choreography using animations you’ve purchased.
There are a ton of HUDs available, but most serious show dancers use one of 4 HUDs:
- HUDDLES EZAnimator Deluxe
- Barre HUD
- SpotOn Performance Director HUD
- Artiste HUD
Both the HUDDLES and Barre are available on MP only, as both in-world stores have closed.
Additionally, there is no customer support for either HUD, though both have user groups you can join for help.
Any of the HUDs above will let you animate other dancers for a performance.
The HUDDLES, however, does not have the capability to do ‘group’ dances, where different dancers do different sequences during a routine.
As show dancing has evolved, so has the equipment.
What you’ll find now, instead of stand-alone dance HUDs, are ‘suites’ of products all made to work together seamlessly.
There have been avatar/object mover systems in SL for quite a while, but when the SpotOn Choreography Design System was released, it was an instant hit.
It’s pretty simple to use and set up, and it works with most any dance HUD.
Following the success of the designer, SpotOn has released a number of products – Group Formation system, Performance Director HUD, Costume Assistant, Smooth Dancer HUD, and most recently, the Stage Manager.
SpotOn products are all sold separately, so you can choose which products you want to purchase.
The Artiste HUD is another suite of products.
Included in the Artiste GOLD Performer Series are the following: the Artiste GOLD Dance HUD, the Palette (mover/special fx), the Set Rezzer, the Director, the Stage Sight (a directed camera HUD), the Stage HUD, the Dance Diva (a group formation system), the Follower Relay (for use with the Dance Diva), and the Message Board.
Everything is included in one package and is available for purchase from the creator, Lat ‘Yummy’ Lovenkraft.
Show dancing in SL is not an inexpensive undertaking.
Just for tools (like those mentioned above), you can spend anywhere from $1200L to $25000L on equipment.
Though you can make a nice income in tips, it will rarely (if ever) equal the amount you spend on props, textures, animations, costumes, and everything else you need for a routine.
If you’re unsure whether show dancing is for you, you can join a troupe as a chorus member (otherwise known as a ball-warmer) to learn the ropes.
I love putting a routine together and then performing it in front of an audience.
Dancing is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in SL.
See you on stage!