COSTUMING

MAKE IT SPECIAL

Sometimes, the role we are dancing in does require ordinary street clothes. But, this is a performance! Part of the fun of dancing is costuming. And audiences love it when we wear something spectacular. So take care to select costuming that is special, different, unusual, or simply fabulous! Something people would not see on an ordinary day. This helps to draw them into your world, and enhances the fantasy of your dance for them. Don’t stop with the costume!! Accessories such as makeup, jewelry, special hair, tattoos, glasses, fans, whips, dance hoops, and so much more can really add a special and unique touch that helps to make your dance yours. Don’t be boring with your costumes, be interesting and utterly divine!

DOES IT DANCE?

Not all clothing dances nicely. Long dresses that hide the legs, especially mesh that doesn’t even part nicely, often look horrible when dancing. Some mesh even pops up in the back like a stiff cone when bending. Part of the joy of watching dancers is seeing the movement of the limbs. Costumes that conceal or inhibit this movement are not a good idea. They may look amazing when standing still, but if they conceal the hard work you have put into your choreography, choose something else. Also, some shoes and boots have invisiprims that show against certain backgrounds. They look dreadful, so try to avoid footwear that use invisiprims.

COLOR

Be careful of the color of costumes and hair when outfitting yourself for a dance. Do you blend it too much with the background? Are you lost in the set? Check your colors and make sure they compliment the entire presentation of your performance.

VARIETY

Try to consciously avoid getting in a pattern with costumes. Example, don’t become the dancer who almost always wears a corset, or latex, or lingerie. Mix it up!! Surprise people and yourself, wear something different, even something outside your comfort zone or usual taste. It can be really FUN to wear something utterly outrageous that you usually would never consider wearing. You just want to surprise your audience and not have them always knowing what to expect from you. Be different!

STRIPPING

Stripping is a personal choice as well can be a venue choice. Some troupes always strip and their audiences expect it. Some never strip. Join a troupe that you are comfortable with, and if you feel stripping suits your dance, have fun with it!! Because it IS fun! Being a tease can be very sexy. And traditional burlesque is a time-honored, highly respected art. Burlesque differs from stripping in that, burlesque is slow and is about the tease. It is classy, not sleazy, it is a celebration of the female body. Burlesque dancers put a lot of time and work into their routines. That is another thing that separates them from strippers.

Know the rules of the venue if you are going to strip. Stripping on a General sim is of course a no-no. On an Adult sim is very acceptable and usually highly appreciated. On Moderate sims, as per TOS, stripping IS allowed including full nudity so long as certain conditions are met. You CAN go nude on a Moderate sim as long as there are no sex balls or anything encouraging escort services sitting around. Nudity is allowed on a Mature sim, so long as it does not promote Adult activities, such as having back sex rooms, promoting escort service search tags, etc. I have included the following for your own information, straight from Second Life website:

“Moderate”

Second Life’s Moderate designation accommodates most of the non-adult activities common in Second Life. Dance clubs, bars, stores and malls, galleries, music venues, beaches, parks, and other spaces for socializing, creating, and learning all support a Moderate designation so long as they do not host publicly promoted adult activities or content and do not use adult search tags. Groups, events and classifieds that relate to this broad range of activities and themes generally should also be designated as Moderate.

“Residents in these spaces should therefore expect to see a variety of themes and content. Stores that sell a range of content that includes some ‘sexy’ clothing or objects can generally reside in Moderate rather than Adult regions. Dance clubs that feature ‘burlesque’ acts can also generally reside in Moderate regions as long as they don’t promote sexual conduct, for instance through pose balls (whether in ‘backrooms’ or more visible spaces). However if any of these businesses uses adult-oriented search tags, the region may be categorized as Adult and blocked from appearing in non-Adult search.”

SIZE MAY MATTER

When doing a group routine in particular, you or other dancers may need to change their shape for that one dance. It looks nicer most of the time to have dancers similar in size. Now this is also personal preference, some people love variety. And there are exceptions to all rules. It is the creator of the dance’s decision regarding sizing of the dancers in their routines. Just please don’t take offense if a choreographer asks you to adjust your shape for his or her dance. Think of it as a chance to try something different for that dance. It is part of the adventure, getting to play dress-ups, and adjusting your shape for a dance is just that: dress-ups… costuming!

You also may need to adjust your shape to fit certain items, especially mesh. I think I must have more than a hundred shapes since mesh came out. I do personally detest mesh, even though it looks good, but just detest not being able to adjust most mesh to fit my shape. Once you get your costume fully prepped, make sure to cam around and check yourself, that it is fitting as well as you can make it fit. Hair!! Make sure if you wear a hat or a hood that you wear copy/mod hair. Make a copy of it, and go ahead, spend an hour tucking the hairs in under the hat or inside the hood. These little touches matter. They give your dance a more professional appeal. As opposed to sloppy.

ALPHA LAYERS

When you are wearing clothing with alpha layers, and plan to remove some of the clothing, you don’t want to stand there with an invisible body. With lag this cannot always be avoided. However, do try to minimize the distraction alpha layers can create by removing the alpha layer first, wait ten seconds, then remove the clothing. This of course gives your body time to rez for the audience before you take off the clothing. It looks better to have your body bleeding through your clothing for a few seconds than for the audience to see no body at all.

CACHE CACHE CACHE

Before you go on stage, make sure to cache your costume changes. Do this several times backstage. This aids your changes to load in the audience viewers so that when you do the actual change in your act, it appears very quickly for the audience with no gray or awkward delays. If you are going to strip, take off and put back on several times whilst waiting to perform.

DESCRIPTING

Do take the scripts out of your costume items, hair, everything that you possibly can. If possible, always copy your items and descript the copies, not the originals. This reduces lag on yourself as well as other dancers.

SPOT ON COSTUME ASSISTANT

This is a very simple HUD that makes taking things off and putting them back on SO simple! A simple silent chat command in local, on a private channel, and you can remove or add anything from clothing to props in a second. You can do entire avatar changes. You can also strip other dancers. If you are doing a group dance, and want to strip all dancers of an item of clothing, a prop, or an entire outfit, all at the exact same time, you can do this easily with Costume Assistant. The requirements are that all dancers have and wear the Costume Assistant, that they have RLV activated, and have given you permission on the NC in their CA HUD to strip them. Your SL account name must be used and it is case sensitive… must be exact spelling. Please note, even if you are using this HUD for ONLY you, you still must have RLV activated. Because it uses the RLV system to remove or add things to your avatar.

There is something else that must be done in order for this HUD to work. You have a system folder in your inventory, probably near the top. It is called #RLV. Anything that you want to remove from or add to your avatar during your dance must be placed in a folder, the folder given a name, and then put in #RLV. You can put a linked item in there, you do not have to put the original in there. Then you will use the name of that folder in your chat command. And example of the chat command is: /44 removefolder Body Stocking. When that is posted in local, and you have RLV activated, are wearing the HUD and it is ON, your item in the folder called Body Stocking will come off. Another example, the command /44 addfolder hat hand will add that item to your avatar (in this case I put a hat in my hand). You can put multiple items in one folder if you want to take them off or put them on all at once. If you are stripping other dancers, they must also make RLV folders with the items you will be taking off or adding on.

Another thing that you can do is, if you use a HUD that will post emotes for you, which the Barre and Spot On Director’s HUD will both do, you can put these chat commands as emotes in your HUD. Then you do not need to post them during your dance, the HUD will do it for you automatically. It is SO freeing!! Something less to think about while performing! To write up an emoted chat command in Spot On, it will look like this:

1:06|SHOUT:44:addfolder hat hand

The time is the time into the dance you want the event to happen. I always use SHOUT but you can use SAY, I just use SHOUT for all my emotes out of habit. Then the channel number between the colons. And finally the command. No one will see this command, not even you, because 44 is a silent channel. Your HUD plays your dance, and at 1:06 into your song, the HUD will post that silent command in local, and the hat will appear in your hand. Just like magic! I do entire strips, add and remove particles and props… everything with chat commands from my HUD. Otherwise, you will have to copy/paste the commands in local chat when you want them to happen. You may also create a gesture and trigger it to post commands. But using the HUD is so precise and takes out all guesswork for costume assistance. And for group dances, no more having your dancers trying to strip off at the exact same moment… the HUD will strip them all at the exact same moment. It is fantastic!!

If you do not use the Costume Assistant to strip, you will need to ADD or REMOVE/DETACH costume changes manually when on stage. I usually have the costume I am wearing saved as an outfit and stored in the folder of the dance that it goes with. Items I am going to remove or add, I drag outside of the outfit folder into the main folder so that I can find them quickly and easily. You can hold down the shift or control key and left click multiple items, then detach/remove or wear/add all at the same time. If you are going to do a full avatar change, make outfit folders out of each costume. Then during your dance, right click the folder you want to change into, and select Replace Current Outfit. That is the fastest way to get from wearing one folder to wearing another. You can also select Add To Current Outfit or Remove From Current Outfit to add on or take off a group of items all at once.

ORGANIZATION

Start now to be organized with your costume inventory, because soon enough you will have hundreds of costumes and outfits. I have a main folder in which are sub-folders named things like Burlesque, Retro, Fairies and Fantasy, Cultures, Aliens and Futuristic, etc. And I put my costumes in sub-folders in that manner. Organizing them by color also works for some people. If you set up good costume organization now, you will be very glad you did, a year from now.

FULL PERM

There are some full perm creators who sell things for a very low price. When someone else dances in your dance, it is between you and them if they pay for their own costumes, or if you provide them. When costuming a group of people, it can get very expensive. Finding full perm items can help to lesson that cost, and also allow you to personalize the costumes. There is one in particular on MarketPlace that I am fond of. You can find this creator’s shop by searching the creator’s name: Meli Imako – FULL PERM MESH Clothing and Costumes!! You buy one, follow their TOS instructions which I believe you just have to pass the items as Copy/Modify No Transfer, and you should be alright. Read a creator’s TOS before buying any of their items. Full Perm is a great option when costuming a group of people.

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