Friday, July 15, 2011

Shall We Dance?

Dancing is extremely popular in Second Life. There are thousands of clubs where people can gather to listen to music, dance, talk, and have a good time. In fact, doing this is probably the most popular social activity in SL by a wide margin.

There are several reasons for this. One is the existence of excellent motion-capture dance animations. With the click of a mouse, even people who have two left feet in Real Life can dance like Ginger Rogers or Fred Astaire. The second reason follows from this – you and your partner dance so sexily that it tends to put one in a, well, amorous mood. Finally, it’s so easy that once you’ve chosen a dance, no further attention is required and you can concentrate on talking with your friends…or seducing your dance partner.

The dances included with your basic newbie avatar are extremely low quality. Don’t bother using them, they mark you instantly as a noob. Instead, use the dance animations provided by the clubs in their dance machines.

These are usually located in a dance ball or other fixture located over the dance floor. Click the dance ball, accept its animation request, and you are presented with a menu of dances from which to choose. Click the ball again to get the menu back and choose another dance when you get tired of your current one.

Most clubs these days have both a “singles” and a “couples” dance ball. The couples balls deserve special mention. Besides the main ball (which often looks like a joined pair of spheres), there are often “repeater” balls that look like little gumball machines scattered around the edge of the dance floor. You can click either the main ball or a repeater ball to operate the system.

When you first click the couples ball, a pair of poseballs will appear near you, one pink and one blue. The female partner sits on the pink ball, the male partner on the blue one. When both are seated, the dance animation takes effect. Either partner may click on the dance ball to see the choices menu and change the selected dance. If you don’t appear to be dancing correctly, click the “tools/resync” option in the menu so your animation is properly synchronized with your partner’s.
The Savoy, One of My Favorite Ballrooms

You should always stand up from the poseball, or click the dance machine (either singles or couples) to stop dancing before you teleport off to a new location. Otherwise, you may find yourself “stuck” in the dance animation with no dance ball to click to stop yourself. If this happens, use the “stop animating my avatar” command found in the Help or World or Avatar menus (depending on what viewer you are using). Or you can use any of several “stop animation” gadgets that are available as free items.

Some clubs also have permanent poseballs visible a foot or so above the floor. These contain specialty dances that for one reason or another the club owner has chosen to provide this way rather than in one of the menu-driven dance machines. Often three-person dances or country and western line dances are offered in this fashion.

If you don’t like relying on the taste of the club owner, you can carry your own dances around with you. The simplest way is just to have them in the Animations folder of your inventory. Double click one to open it and click the Play in World button.

You can organize your dance collection and have them all more readily accessible by using a wearable dance machine. One very popular one is called the HUDDLES. It’s an AO as well as a dance organizer. Another very popular gadget is called a “Chimera”. In fact there are several varieties of this item, so that “chim” has become a generic term for them. In operation, it’s an invisible ball that you attach to your head or other portion of your anatomy (the butt is popular). You can click it to get its menu and select a dance. The fun part is, other people can click it too, and dance along with you, with you controlling which dance is in effect. It’s fun to dance in sync with a half dozen other people, all of you looking like pro performers who’ve rehearsed your moves to perfection! (To see if someone is wearing a chim, click CTRL+ALT+T to toggle “view transparent textures” on or off. Look for a red ball on their ass and click it.) Many times, it will be the DJ who’s wearing the chim. She is, after all, responsible for seeing that the group is having a good time and is the one picking the music in the first place.

Whether it’s slow dancing in the moonlight by the ocean or boogeying wildly to a pounding techno beat, dancing in SL is one of the best ways to meet people and have a good time. Enjoy!



Dance Animations

Chims and HUDs

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