Artiste Producer Suite Class – K&M SOPA

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteOn Sunday, March 13, at 12pm SLT (noon), I will be giving a short class on the products in the Artiste Producer Suite.

We have a theater set up with all the pieces installed so that you can come and play with them and see what they do.

The class is open to anyone who is interested, you do not need to own the Producer Suite in order to attend.

If you’re interested, IM me in-world for the class LM.

Hope to see you there!

K&M SOPA Classes!!

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteI opened registration for this year’s classes a few weeks ago.

I’m overjoyed that the Intro to Artiste class is now full and closed. 😀

If you’re interested in learning, the Movers Course is next on the schedule, from February 7 to February 21.  Other courses will be scheduled after that according to interest.

You can check out the full listing of courses here.

If you signed up for the Intro to Artiste course, I will be sending out confirmation notices and group invites in the next few days.

See you in class!

2016 K&M School of Performing Arts Classes

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteI am very excited to announce the course listings for the K&M School of Performing Arts for 2016!!

I have spent the last month working on curriculum, changing some things, adding some things – all based on feedback and reflection from previous classes.

I have updated the K&M Course Listings to reflect the changes in the courses.  The basic topics/concepts covered in each course are listed.  You can now choose from courses in Choreography, Movers, Set Building, Costuming, and Advanced Choreography.

In addition, I am adding courses for learning the Artiste.  Currently registration is only open for the Intro to Artiste course.  If you have or plan to take advantage of Yummy’s discount offer for a HUD/palette combo, then this is the course for you!

Courses will be held on Sundays at 12pm SLT at the Kat & Mouse Theater.  There will be ‘homework’ for in-world skill assessments, as well as online assessments (assessments are not required).  For students who choose to complete all assessments, the school will keep a posted list of dancers/students who have successfully completed courses and demonstrated mastery of various skills.

I have listed the dates/times for both the Intro to Artiste and Movers courses.  The courses that will be taught following those will depend on interest.

I look forward to classes and hope to see you there!

Learning and Unlearning

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteAs many of you know, earlier this year I opened the Kat & Mouse School of Performing Arts.

I’ve had an amazing time working with dancers who are eager to learn and grow in their craft and I can’t wait to do it again in 2016!

I am in the process of revamping some of my curriculum and adding new courses.  With the announcement of Yummy’s sale on pieces of the Artiste Suite, I will be adding classes on using the Artiste.

To that end, for the last month, I have concentrated on creating routines with the Artiste HUD and palette.  Yummy has added so many new features and functions that it was almost like starting over. 😀

It’s very easy to get up and dancing with the HUD, though some of the other features take a little longer to learn.

What I have discovered, both with the GOLD (current) version of the HUD, and the SILVER version (which I bought several years ago), is that because I have used other tools for so long, I have come to expect tools to behave in certain ways. Which means that, in learning to use the Artiste, I have sometimes had to ‘unlearn’ what I know.

Every dancer has preferred tools.  Though it seems like there is always some new ‘shiny’ becoming available, there are those who prefer to stay with what they know.  Why? Because ‘unlearning’ is uncomfortable for most people.

Is there anything wrong with using older tools?  No, of course not.  However, newer tools tend to take advantage of newer tech developments, which often means you can do more with less.

When I first started dancing, I used a HUD and had to manually click each dance.  Then I discovered that I could sequence my dances using note cards with the HUDDLES.  Then the Barre came along with its ability to do grouping.  Then SpotOn developed their mover, and followed it with various other products.

I admit, I am a bit of a tool junkie, and I’ve tried just about every dance tool in SL.  I, too, have my favorites.  Using my favorite tools, I can create a routine in a couple of hours.  However, doing so rarely pushes me outside of my comfort zone.

I want something that will help me to push myself to learn more and do more.  The Artiste has done that for me.  In fact, I look forward to working with it, because I know I have only scratched the surface of what I can do with it.

BabyItsCold4

This pic is from a routine I created last year when I first got the GOLD version of the Artiste.  Looking back, I made this routine much harder than it could have been, because I was still ‘unlearning’ what I knew.

That said, it was my first true ‘all-Artiste’ routine and I am still proud of it. 😀

As a solo artist, the Artiste lets me do things I never thought were possible.  That is something to keep in mind, for those of who may be on the fence about purchasing yet another dance tool.

Every tool was designed for a purpose.  Every tool has its pros and cons.  If you are looking for a tool that will let you run huge group dances, the Artiste is not that tool.  If you are looking for a tool that will let you run everything manually, the Artiste is not that tool.

However, if you are looking for a tool that will let you shine as a solo performer, or a small group performer, the Artiste might just be the tool you’ve been looking for!

Looking Forward to the New Year – Artiste Classes!

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteAfter a successful first-run of classes at K&M SOPA, I am working on revamping much of the curriculum.

In addition to the courses already offered, I am thrilled to announce that in 2016 I will be offering classes on The Artiste.

I will be teaching courses aimed at helping new owners/users to understand the main functions of the HUD and palette.

New users will create ‘working models’ for reference for various abilities of the HUD and palette.  These ‘working models’ are invaluable when working solo to re-create Artiste abilities.

In addition, Yummy will be teaching ‘Master’ level courses on various topics, including advanced features like the Thrower, Grouping functions, and Dance Diva.

Yummy has been writing a series of Tutorial articles on the Artiste to explain some of its capabilities and the thought process behind its creation.

In case you’ve missed them, you can find them under the ‘Product Reviews‘ page of the blog.

Tomorrow marks the start of the sale of the new Artiste product combos, which Yummy wrote about in Tutorial #1.

For those interested in a taste of what the Artiste can do, you can now purchase the following:

A-50: 1 NOCOPY/NOTRANS/MOD HUD      $5,000L
A-75: 1 NOCOPY/NOTRANS/MOD HUD & COPY/MOD Palette      $7,500L
A-100: 2 NOCOPY/NOTRANS/MOD HUDs & COPY/MOD Palette  $10,000L

The A-50, A-75, and A-100 are only guaranteed valid From December 1st, 2015 thru December 31st, 2015.

I am having to re-educate myself on some of the functions, because Yummy is constantly developing and adding to its capabilities. (Such a wonderful problem to have, right?!)

Once I have finished creating the curriculum, I will open registration for K&M SOPA classes, including those on the Artiste.  I anticipate that will happen mid to late December, with the classes actually beginning in January 2016.

In addition to the Artiste classes, I will also again be offering courses on choreography, dance tools, set building, etc.

What new skills would you like to gain in the new year?

K&M SOPA Class Schedule and Feedback Request

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteHalloween is over, Thanksgiving and Christmas are looming on the horizon, and it’s almost time for this round of classes to end at K&M SOPA.

A huge thank you to all the people who signed up and took classes!

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting know to everyone and I’ve learned a lot.

There are two classes remaining for this year – the Intermediate Choreography and Intermediate Movers class, both of which are full.

After those two classes end, I will open registration for the basic series of classes starting in January 2016.

As the holidays approach, I know everyone will likely be busy, so I have opted to restart classes after the first of the year.

I am currently working on more curriculum, including some courses on using the Artiste suite of products, so be watching for those. 😀

If there is a class you would like to see over a certain topic, please let me know.

For those of you who have taken some of the courses at K&M, I would appreciate some feedback.

I have created a short questionnaire that I would ♥LOVE♥ for you to fill out. 😀

You can find the form here.

The feedback you provide will help me to better create and plan classes, and to better serve those who want to learn.

I am also currently developing some curriculum for a ‘Masters’ class, so if you are interested in that, please let me know.

Again, a huge thank you to all of the students – without you, none of this would have been possible, and I’m extremely grateful.

K&M SOPA Dance Classes

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteOver the past few weeks, since opening the K&M SOPA and offering classes, I’ve been a bit surprised at the number of people who have signed up for classes.

Not just at my own classes, but at other schools as well.

While I’m glad to see so many schools and so many students interested, I’m curious as to why so many people, including people who already have skills, are signing up for some of the classes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see so many eager learners!

But it seems that many of the people taking classes already have skills, so I’m curious about the reasons behind the seemingly sudden flurry of students.

*What* is it that everyone is so eager to learn?

There seems to be a shift in dance right – to what, I’m not exactly sure.

New venues are opening, new schools have formed, new students are appearing – all wonderful things.

I don’t know if it has to do with Project Sansar looming on the horizon, or if it’s just a seasonal shift – but there seems to be some -restlessness – for lack of a better term.

Winnie addresses some of the things I’ve been feeling in her recent blog post, ‘What is art anyways?’

Art and dance can be so subjective.

Nothing you do is ever going to please everyone.

We’re all different people, and everyone has their own tastes and likes.

I personally prefer smaller stages and more intimate-feeling venues.

That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate huge stages and extravaganzas – they’re just not my favorite type of dance.

Does that mean people shouldn’t do them?

Of course it doesn’t.

But you should be aware of what you like and what you don’t – as a dancer, as an audience member, and as a student.

Types of Learners and Teachers

I’ve taken a lot of classes in my life – some from teachers I loved, some from teachers I couldn’t stand.

I learn best when I can read on my own and then get some hands-on experience.

Others prefer visual learning – a video as opposed to a lecture, a slide show instead of a page of notes.

Still others have to be up and moving around – doing something physical, kinetic – in order to learn.

Instructors are people too, and they each have their preferred style of teaching.

Some like to lecture, some like to have hands-on activities, some have a mixture of things.

The best teachers are the ones who can teach in a variety of ways, so that they can meet each student’s needs.

It’s a difficult skill, and one that I am still struggling to master, even after 10+ years of teaching.

I’ve seen some frustrated students (in SL and RL), and while it’s easy to place blame, I think it’s more helpful to focus on how you learn best and find an instructor who teaches that way.

When I decided to open K&M SOPA, it was for exactly these reasons.

My Philosophy

How I teach in SL is different than how I teach in RL in many ways.

In RL, I lecture, I hand out assignments, I give presentations, the students do hands-on activities, they have homework, and there are essays and tests.

In SL, I purposely cut out many of these things – particularly lectures, assignments, homework, and tests.

(Please note, there is nothing wrong with any of these, I just chose not to do them.)

I come into SL for fun and relaxation.

Dance is a way for me to express myself creatively in ways that are not possible in RL.

I don’t want to do homework and assignments in SL – it’s too much like RL for me, and it’s not why I’m in SL.

If you do, great!

*That* is what SL is about, in my opinion – finding places and things and activities that you enjoy.

If you don’t like something, you can move on to something else.

Because so many people have limited time in SL, I chose to limit my classes to only one session (where possible) and only one hour.

My goal was/is for students to come to a class, learn something, and then use what they learned.

I didn’t want to spend my time creating assignments and later grading them (I do enough of that in RL!).

That’s my choice as a teacher – and not everyone will like it.

That’s ok – there are plenty of other places to learn, if my style doesn’t suit you.

I don’t plan to hand out certificates, and I don’t plan to have a graduation show.

I could have, I just chose not to.

Again, my decisions as an instructor.

Will they suit everyone?

Of course not.

Find What Fits YOU

As I stated above, not everyone learns in the same way.

Not everyone wants to learn the same skills.

Maybe you want to learn how to use particles effectively.

Another student may be struggling with how to build a set.

Find out how you learn best, decide what it is you want to learn, and then find the person who can teach you.

Do you want homework and evaluations?

Do you want to work in a group or by yourself?

Do you need one-on-one time with an instructor?

Are you looking to learn basic skills or is there a particular skill you want to learn?

If you are in a class that is frustrating to you, it’s likely because your learning style is at odds with the instructor’s teaching style.

I found myself in that situation recently, so I decided to leave the class.

I wasn’t doing anything but getting frustrated and taking up space in a class that another student could use.

I think sometimes that dancers/students feel there are ‘secrets’ they need to learn in order to improve their performances.

I know I’ve felt that way before.

It’s one of the reasons I started K&M SOPA and why I’m glad to see other schools open as well.

There are no ‘secrets’ – it’s just a lot of hard work.

You will learn more from your own mistakes than any lecture or class.

Are there things that more experienced dancers do?

Absolutely.

Are they secrets?

No.

It’s simply taking the time to learn how to make your performances better – whether that’s learning how to use a fader, how to build a better set, or how to tweak your movers so you don’t ‘glide’ across the floor when dancing.

Learning is not easy – it takes time and effort from you, the student.

Final Thoughts

Teachers can only teach you what they know.

Some are willing to try different methods of teaching to reach a student, some aren’t.

For me, one of the biggest differences between teaching in SL and RL is the motivation of students.

In RL, I often have students who are only there because they are required to be.

They have no interest in the subject and are not really motivated to work and learn.

In SL, you can do whatever you want with your time.

If you’re choosing to spend some of that time in a class learning, to me, that’s an indication of motivation. 🙂

So I teach, I show, you learn, and it’s all rainbows, and unicorns, and glitter, right?! 😛

On a serious note, decide what works for you.

Don’t waste your time, the instructor’s time, or the time of the other students.

There’s nothing wrong with admitting that a class isn’t for you and dropping out gracefully.

After a few weeks of teaching classes, I’m starting to wonder if more one-on-one options would be nice.

To that end, I’ve decided to offer one-on-one sessions for students.

Because time is precious and I know that making a ‘scheduled’ class is sometimes impossible, I am offering students the option of scheduling a ‘one-on-one’ session.

These one-hour sessions will be geared towards whatever skill(s) the student is interested in – whether that’s set building, using movers, choreography, critiques, whatever.

This is a new concept for me, and I’m not sure how it will go.

Because of that, the first 5 students who contact me to schedule a one-on-one session will get that session for free.

(Limit of one session per student.)

After that, there will be a charge of $200L per hour if you’re interested in future one-on-one sessions.

Hopefully, this will give students who can’t make scheduled classes the option of learning skills at a time more convenient for them.

Students can choose from any class currently on the K&M SOPA curriculum, or they can request a specific topic.

Topics might include: using movers, costuming, emoting, choreography, set building, texturing, lighting, particle effects, etc.

To schedule a one-on-one session, simply contact me.

IM me in-world (my offlines go to email) or email me at katfeldragonne at gmail dot com.

For those of you who have already taken classes or signed up for upcoming classes – THANK YOU!!

I am having an absolute blast teaching, and I sincerely hope you are all having fun learning. 😀

What Should I Teach?

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteHappy Tuesday!

I’ve been busy the last several days, trying to sort out my inventory, and teaching my first class (in SL, that is).

I think I finally have my inventory sorted, ready for the next round of shopping events. 😛

My first class went extremely well, and I’m hoping the next class will be the same.

I have been surprised at the amount of interest in the classes, and I’m wondering if there are particular topics that dancers (new and experienced) are interested in.

I am working on additional advanced classes, but if there is a topic that dancers would like to see covered, I want to make sure I don’t miss any topics.

As I was discussing with Yummy, it can be extremely difficult for dancers to learn new skills and tools – especially if they dance at a venue where they are trying to have a routine ready every week.

Learning skills and tools takes times, and we all know there isn’t enough of that!

I know that I probably have more time than most in-world, and I have the luxury of using that time to learn new things (sometimes just for the sake of my own curiosity).

My goal is to share that knowledge with you, quickly, and in a way that makes sense to you.

The greatest tool in the world is useless to you if you don’t know how to make the most of it.

Most of us aren’t using the tools we have to their utmost.

And, as I have discovered, people generally have favorite tools.

It can be hard to try something new when you already have something that works.

So, while I work on new curriculum, I thought I’d take a moment and ask YOU what kind of classes/topics you’d like to see.

Fill out the poll below, and share it, if you would.  🙂

I’ve put in some topics, but feel free to add your own, if you have a subject you’d like to see covered.

If there’s enough interest in a topic, I’d love to add it to my curriculum!

Thank you!!

Kat & Mouse School of Performing Arts Classes Starting Soon!

Kat&Mouse SOPA Logo WhiteIf you missed my earlier announcement, I have founded the Kat & Mouse School of Performing Arts in Second Life.

When I first started dancing in Second Life, I had no idea what I was doing, nor what I was getting into. 😛

I absolutely fell in love with choreographing dances and performing.

I know that a lot of people in SL share that love, and I’d like to help YOU get better at what you do.

My approach for classes will be a bit different than most dance classes in SL.

Teaching can be a challenge in SL, because the feedback you would normally get in a classroom isn’t there (ie, the eye-rolls of students who are bored, the confused looks of those who have gotten lost, the snores of those who stayed up too late dancing the night before). 😛

My focus, for all of my classes, will be to help you learn what YOU want/need to know.

The classes will be in voice, but I will also have notes for you, which will be available at the beginning of class so you can write your own notes on them as well. 🙂

I will have hands-on examples for you to try, to play with, to explore – because I think having some hands-on is essential to learning, especially in SL.

I hope to teach you skills you can take to any venue on the grid, so that you can be as successful as you want to be.

Every troupe does things a little differently, but with the basic skills, you can be successful dancing anywhere.

The classes will be kept to an hour and only one session (as much as is possible), because I know that scheduling and availability is difficult for many.

There is no fee for any of the classes, though some of them require that you own specific equipment/tools.

If you’re an experienced dancer/performer and you have specific skills you’d like to acquire, PLEASE let me know!

I am still working on some advanced classes, so if you have an interest, I’d love to hear about it.

The basic series of classes starts on Sunday, October 4, at 2pm SLT at the Kat & Mouse Theater.

You can still sign up for classes – just head over to the K&M SOPA Class Listings page on the menu above.

See you in class!!!

K&M SOPA MISSION STATEMENT:  To help those interested in dance to acquire skills in order to achieve success.