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Monday, March 23, 2015

CALM DOWN

Sometimes a song just appears that calls to you and throws up images and emotions that you can't ignore.  This song turned up on the stream at my home and I had to go looking for it.  There was an element of lateral thinking involved as I initially thought she was singing "come down" which was the trigger for the ceiling sequence.
Originally the set was going to be faded from color to white to symbolise color draining from surroundings but I am glad that I stuck with the stark white in the end.



This was a very personal piece for me, dealing as it does with isolation, depression and anxiety.  The original stage version had accompanying emotes:

Another day starts after a sleepless night; the day is bleak/ How many days have I spent like this, trapped between tension and lethargy / How do I remember who I was any more?  Or who I am now? / So many days gone by and nothing remains / Clinging to a hope that one morning I will wake and all will be forgiven / Fading under the critical gaze of others/
My arc of self control gone and I am spinning / Until that day, I float like a ghost through my own life / Trapped behind glass, unable to escape/ ..And the clock still turns


The dancer is the only color in a room of white.  She is not overweight, or ugly or stupid; illness does not have to show on the outside. Inside she is plagued with visions of herself longing for something. She is constantly feeling as though she is scrutinised by others and criticised.  She is trapped in a fish bowl life, unable to escape from her own feelings. Dealing with anxiety can be like wanting to crawl the walls or feeling like your life is upside down.  I hoped to reconcile all these images within the piece.

This is not a typical dance piece, in fact there are very few actual dance animations.  Most of them are taken from AOs or non-static poses and took a lot of time to track down.
The Artiste makes them very easy to compile, and with the choice of putting the animations in the palettes or in the dance sequence I can work around any problems caused by priorities in animation.

Because the anims were all differently purposed originally, some of them have different "heights" as well, which made it important to adjust palette height to accommodate this.  This worked particularly well with the ground sits which are notorious for making you hover off the ground.  It was also so easy to get the palette back to where it started because you just flip the difference in the relevant vector eg. you move the pallete down 0.355 in a move...the same move with -0.355 will bring you back to where you were.

The "wall walking" was accomplished using 3 palettes and force-sit between them.  It takes a little while to set it up but it is not hard.   It was trial and error to establish the most appropriate animations for jumps and landings to "soften" the flow.

I also used a set of alpha palettes which fade in and out such as the sitting figures.

This was a very fulfilling piece for me to work on and I was gratified by the response that I got when I performed  it live as, I wasn't sure that people would "get it".  They so obviously did and it was very moving.

As always, Thad has stepped up and added his own little embelishment on it which I think has just made it magic, thank you love!

I would like to dedicate this video to everyone who has ever suffered an anxiety attack or a depressive episode.  If you haven't, remember to be kind to those who do :)

CALM DOWN VIDEO

Love and Light

Aura x

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