Arrive early at the venue and allow the place to load in your viewer. Cam around and give it some time. Have your draw distance at perhaps 120 during this. Then, lower the draw distance to 60 – 80. I use Mid for my graphics settings and a draw distance of usually 64 for shows.
Go to your Advanced menu (control/alt/D) at the top of your monitor. Go down to Rendering Types. Click the double white line at the top of the Types menu that appears, to force this menu to stay open until you are finished. Then UNCHECK everything you can dance without. I uncheck: Clouds, Grass, Ground, Water, Sky, and Tree. This makes it so your viewer will not stress as much because it will not load textures for those items. After unchecking, click the double white lines at the top of the menu to close it. After you dance, you can return to this menu and CHECK those selections to turn them back on. Or just relog.
I’m sure everyone knows to make sure everything else we can dance without is turned off, exited from, closed, etc. (such as Skype, Media, etc.). You might want to also consider who else in your house is on the internet, as this could slow things for you. I usually will ask my teenager to log off the net during my shows, as it is usually only an hour here and there. She does not mind.
I try to delete scripts from hair, clothes, and descript my avatar as much as I reasonably can. Script count below a hundred is good, below fifty is great, if we can manage it without taking away from the integrity of our dances. Scripts are really bad for causing lag. So get rid of all the scripts you can!
Stand on a poseball, mover, or some sort of stand while waiting to dance. Every avatar needs to be on something. The reason for this is, the server sees avatars that are not on poseballs (or similar seating). It then checks back on them constantly. However, it does not see avatars who are seated. It ignores them, which makes less pressure on the server and greatly decreases lag. So! A mob of standing dancers will greatly increase lag on a sim. A mob of stationary dancers on a stand or poseball greatly reduces lag. Sadly, few people are aware of this and thus, do not provide secured static posing for dancers. So we get a heap of lag.
Someday a Dance Manager or Director may thank me for this. I am not trying to be snarky, but!! When given a NC, please read it. Be organized and accept responsibility for your commitments. As a Manager, I find it so annoying to be IMed by dancers asking questions that I have already answered on a NC, just because they did not bother to read it. I can’t tell you how many times I get IMs, “What day is the show? What time is rehearsal?” This wastes time, and makes me type the same things over and over. I sometimes wonder if some of these people call their bosses in the morning and ask, “What day am I supposed to be at work?” Or ring their child’s school and ask, “What time am I supposed to be at the bus stop?” Take responsibility for your shows, organize your agendas, and read the notecards! I would say eighty percent of the questions I get asked in IMs from dancers in my shows already have the information in the notecards I provide… if they would only read them. Managers are usually so busy, and you can help by doing your part… read the NCs, type down on your agenda the dates and times of shows. Rather than having to be hand-fed step by step. A Manager or Director somewhere will sure appreciate you if you do.
Reminders!! I have some dancers who expect me to always remind them about rehearsals and shows. Thus, I seldom ever work with those particular dancers more than twice. I do not mean to sound harsh, but honestly, we are grownups. We should not need someone else to remind us of when we are supposed to show up for a commitment. Do we expect our bosses to remind us to come to work? Do we expect our children’s teachers to remind us to send our kids to school? It is ridiculous. Please take responsibility for your own schedules. I only mention this because it is so common, and I find it very time consuming to have to remind so many people of events they have committed to. You can be a huge help to your troupe Manager by taking responsibility for the shows and events you commit to.
Deadlines need to be respected and honored. A Manager sets deadlines and these need to be taken seriously, if you are serious about dancing. Be professional. If there is a deadline to have your music in, please make sure to get it in on time. Music usually needs to be submitted in MP3 format. Please don’t send in music in the wrong format. Know and respect the deadlines for the shows you sign on to dance in. Also, show up for rehearsals. Unless they are optional. All of this is part of being an asset to a troupe. It is all a matter of respect, professionalism, and responsibility. It is all part of being a great dancer.
When you commit to do a show, your commitment is very important. Always arrive early, set already positioned, prepared and ready to dance. Sometimes RL happens and that can’t be helped. Try to let the show Manager know ASAP if you have to pull out. Once the show starts, please do not go afk. Please pay attention to group chat or conference. Please do not IM the Manager/Director during a show, right before, or right after unless it is urgent, because that person WILL be buried in IMs already. It is not the time for casual chitchat or even exchanging pleasantries. Use group chat or conference for this. Cheer on your fellow dancers! Be positive and encouraging. But please give the Manager a break from IMs at this time, because they are manically busy. We want to have FUN in our shows of course! But we also want them to look good, and that does require us to be professional right before, during, and right after a show. There are always fires to be put out, and the Manager will be hammered wrangling all this. It is a mercy on the Manager to avoid IMing them at this time unless it is urgent. And do pay attention to your own IMs, as if there is an urgent matter, the Manager will most likely use IM to communicate with you, since group chat is often unreliable due to lag.
When it’s your turn to dance, try to set up then clear the stage as quickly as possible, and try to not leave props on stage. I suppose this is obvious. After the show, depending on the venue, it is nice to go out and greet your audience! Some leave immediately, others like to hang around and chat. What about thanking people who have tipped you? This is interesting. I have found most dancers do not thank you when you tip them. Now often the reason for this is because they don’t KNOW exactly who tipped them. Some venues provide a means for the dancers to know, and some have tip jars that, unless you are watching the name appear in hovertext over the tip jar (which you do not have time to do when you are dancing), you have no way of knowing who tipped you. I prefer to IM each person who tips me, thanking them, when I am dancing at a venue that relays that information to me. However, this is invasive to some people. It can also make some people feel pressured into entering conversations they do not want to be in. So, it is a very personal decision whether to send a thank you or not.
JOIN A TROUPE
There are a LOT of active dance troupes in Second Life. I try to keep the database updated and current. To see the current list:
Go to the Dance Queens blog: http://sldancequeens.blogspot.com.au/
On the right side menu, click Dance Groups: http://sldancequeens.blogspot.com.au/p/dance-groups-shows.html
Click the word HERE in this sentence: 1. Click here for the current list of SL Dance Groups as per information provided to Babypea von Phoenix. And that should take you to the spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AohZI4XRY-bwdFRIQTdVNi1aUTMyTHpNS3hKYXJhOFE#gid=0
If you see a dance troupe you would like to join, find out who manages or owns the group, and drop them an IM. It is nice if you also pass them a NC with a little bit about you. Your background, experience, and reason for interest plus a pic of yourself. Call it an Expression of Interest. They will not mind, in fact will most likely be flattered. Even if they are not hiring at that time, it is a connection made, a contact that will most likely prove rewarding in the future.
Okay. Perhaps we should touch upon this, as you will come across it from time to time. Ego is the same in dance in Second Life as it is anywhere in life. You will on occasion meet those Divas who are very critical of others, and unfriendly. Please do not become one. Fortunately, they are few and far between. I have found most people who dance in Second Life are supportive of one another. They attend each other’s shows, applaud, tip, IM with kudos, and so forth. When attending shows, try to think kindly of other dancers. What I mean is, if things seem to be going haywire or look off, consider it could be lag or a SL glitch. It happens to all of us, and you will appreciate others understanding, being patient with delays, and not judging you harshly when it is your turn to be belted up by the lag sleen.
One of the things I love most about dance is the friendship and fellowship. A candle loses no light from lighting another candle, so I think it is great if we can all be friendly, supportive, and helpful to one another. When people are doing what they love, and they are happy, that makes the world better for us all. So I am encouraging of other people fulfilling their dreams and ambitions. I hope each of you will feel the same. We are one big dance family in Second Life. Feeling competitive has no place in the art of dance, and it really takes the fun out of it. Don’t compare yourself to others. Just do what you love, and love what you do. Your dances are your children, sort of… your creations. Love them, appreciate them, and let them come out to play with others, not to be the school yard bully, not to be the wall flower, but to simply be nurtured, appreciated and enjoyed. When you DO come across one of *those* types I referenced earlier, the mute button works a treat. How I love it! Mute… derender… peace. But that is rare.
This is always a challenge in SL. So many people, yet so hard to get the word out. Networking is one way of promoting your troupe or show. Attending dance shows, hanging around after the show and chatting with people, getting to know them. I think guest dancing and having guest dancers is a great way to network with others and form a great working relationship with them. Of course there is the internet… blogs, Facebook, websites, Google, and so on. The Dance Queens blog, group and Info Center are great resources for advertising your shows. But the problem is this: there are so many troupes, and only so many of us active people in the dance community to go around. What we need is, to draw in people who do not know this form of entertainment exists.
This means going outside of the dance community to introduce new people to Second Life dance. I have thought of ways of doing this. We of course can advertise in Second Life Events. We can invite people personally. Perhaps we can invite entire groups of people to come check out one of our shows, or to allow us to perform for them at their venue or build. We can ask creators to sponsor our shows, and hope that they will advertise us in their groups, thus reaching new potential audience. We can go to events and parties and dance clubs, socializing and meeting people, as some will be interested in seeing a show. Many people will come to a show for the first time and be amazed. They will say, “I had no idea this existed in Second Life.” So getting the word out there is key to a successful show. There are SL magazines and promotional groups as well. We of course will have a group joiner and subscriber. The bottom line of promotions and networking is, it is time-consuming. I recommend doing a little each week. It also helps to enlist members of your troupe to do some of these activities, if they are willing to do so.
What makes a successful show? Is it the amount of money you get in tips? Is it the amount of people in the audience? Is it the show going smoothly without delays, mishaps, and so forth? Or is it having fun with your friends? Perhaps it is all of these put together. Honestly, each dancer determines this for his or her self. It all depends on your own value system. Personally, if I feel good at the end of a show and feel pleased with it, then it is a successful show. I have done shows that had four people in the audience. I have done shows that had 94 people in the audience. I have done shows that garnered no tips. I have done one show in particular that garnered L$98k in tips. I have done shows that were train wrecks and shows that were smooth as cream. I have done shows that were highly stressful and shows that were pure good fun. They are all part of the experience of dance in Second Life. It is a journey wrought with adventure and discovery. So take your time and enjoy it!