Friday, October 01, 2010

Happy Dance Friday #21
- writing about dancing is tricky business

Seriously. I'm writing about a visual medium, but all I can use is words. Which is something I've come across a lot while writing my time travel ms, Endless Summer. Since Endless Summer is a time travel, I get to deal with not only two different forms of dance, but those forms are from two different centuries.

Here's what "dance" would mean to my 16th century hero, Angus:
Or something close to that, allowing for the lack of camcorders in the 16th century. With variatons according to region, ability, talent, and the like. (Summer and Angus made me add that disclaimer. They have rather strong opinions.)

Wheras Summer, a professional ballroom dancer in modern day NYC, "dance " means:

and this:

Comptetition is huge for Summer. Her original goal is to become a ten dance champion, though her first step is getting back into the business. Whether it's for fun or profit, dance isn't merely what Summer does, it's who she is. Which means lots of motion - she choreographs, rehearses, teaches and performs in the story as well as blowing off steam. Angus wouldn't normally find himself cutting a rug in the 21st century, but he's got a very good reason to join Summer.

All of which means lots of research for the writer. Watching lots of dance videos, television programs, dance-themed movies, reading books on dance, interviewing dancers both amateur and professional, and approaching friends and family members with my "don't bug me; I'm writing" look while simultaneously greeting them with the phrase "I need your body." Thankfully, I have understanding friends and family, who know that what I want is research-related. Only one so far has given me the flat out no, with a suggestion that next time, I use one of the oversized teddy bears. I seem to recall muttering something about oversized teddy bears having terrible frame before stomping back off to pound keys. Currently considering purchasing a jointed pair of Barbie and Ken dolls to spare my family such encounters in the future. Either that or dance lessons.

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