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Protocollie's picture
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Hey, everyone! It's that time of year again, where we sit back and look at what we did at anthrocon that worked, and what we did that didn't. Obviously, my goal is to make sure that the dances run awesome and smoothly for everyone, and so I want as much feedback as possible - I see there have been scattered conversations about it, but let's make this thread the sort of central place to discuss everything dances. Smiling

There's just one ground rule I'd like to put into place: As someone with experience, I know how individual DJs did. To avoid hurting feelings or otherwise singling individuals out, let's refrain from negative commentary on specific DJs. I have plenty of ways to determine how they were doing at pleasing the crowd and I'd rather keep the energy towards the DJs positive in this thread, because they all worked really hard and really contributed to an awesome weekend. If you have a specific complaint that is SO important it just must be heard about a particular DJ, feel free to PM me. Smiling

Also, I have two specific questions to ask:

Did this year's blend of music appeal to you?

The number one feedback I've always heard was that there was too much in the way of hard dance/club stuff and not enough more poppy-sounding stuff. We did lose one 80's/90's DJ at the last minute, so we were a little light on that, but otherwise I tried to keep things in the realm of 'what everyone can dance to' and minimize the more intense music by putting it at the end of the night, when the hardcore dance crowd would still be there. Should there be any more of any one genre? Was any one thing over-represented?

Did you go to the fursuit friendly dances?

I hear they were under-attended, but that's certainly not for lack of quality DJs at them. Did you go? Did you not go? If you didn't, was there a specific reason that you didn't? Were the main room dances more fursuit-friendly this year?

Thanks in advance for all your input. Smiling

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Trevorkitty's picture
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Overall it was quite awesome. The sets were good, the stage dancing was a blast, lights were phenomenal.

 

My question though, is that it feels like there is a lack of breadth. From working with big party events before, it often helps to have more variety, and I noticed a lack of anything really mainstream. I no not everyone likes the top40s style dancing, but some might!

The advantage to using popular songs is that people recognize them, and so it's easier to dance along, or feel connected to it. I also understand that AC wants to keep things to live-mixing, which would make a simple playlist not really fit in. I do think that if included though, such a playlist would be popular. My experience with dances is that people DO like dancing to songs they know, even less dancable ones.

I also realize there's too many DJs, not enough time! It could be possible to have an "alternative" dance location for such music. Events I've been a part of often had 2-3 dance areas, sorted by genre. Of note, the pop music/hip hop area was without a doubt the best attended.

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Protocollie's picture
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We're not a festival, and I'm not going to divert what resources we have and spread them more thinly. We do have two separate dances, one with pop/top-40 and a little more lighting for the fursuiters. We also had two DJs in the main ballroom who were playing more mainstream/poppy music, as well.

While it seems like your comparisons to larger music festivals would make sense, the reality of it is that anthrocon's a much more finicky crowd, we have far tighter limits on time (only 3 hours to go from warm up to peak on saturday!) and in general the needs of the con are different.

What I would love (and what I'm hoping to find one day) is someone who consistently plays top 40 remixes/pop club stuff, like a professional, well mixed, and doesn't diverge much into craziness so i could use them at the same time to please the fursuiters/pop fans while simulataneously warming up the floor for later in the night. The problem with playlist DJs is that the kids who are coming from a club mindset are put off by the rough transitions and tend to get scared off, or leave the room. Finding the DJs who can play that same sort of stuff in a smoother fashion is key, because then both demographics are happy. Smiling

I will agree that the music 'settled' around certain genres as well, that was more a side effect of playing it safe and trying to straddle that pop-singalong/underground line as long as possible, which really right now means electro house, techno and fidget house. This is definitely on my radar, though, and I'm hunting for that DJ who can really light up my early Friday.

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I went to the SoP dance on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and I went to the fursuit-friendly dance (not in a suit) on Saturday before hitting the main room.  The main room music I heard was mostly the harder club style, which I don't often have much exposure to.  It was definitely a new experience to get into dancing to it, but it was a ton of fun to explore a new style.  I imagine I missed out on any pop/hip-hop that might have been played because I got to the dances about an hour or so in every time.  I think I might have heard one hip-hop style beat, which I went totally crazy for.  I'll make sure to spend more time at the dances in the future so I hear the full variety being played.

The fursuit-friendly dance that I attended was sparsely populated, but that didn't really detract from it for me.  The music had a lower BPM, which I appreciated and was instantly comfortable with.  It was interesting being one of the few non-suiters there, but I didn't think I was out of place or making other dancers uncomfortable, which I thought might have been an issue.  The room itself was much cooler, which I bet the suiters appreciated way more than I did.  I originally went just to be with my friends who were in suit and help them out if needed, but I ended up dancing a lot myself because I just couldn't resist the music =P

As for non-music comments, I LOVED the lights on Saturday, and on Thursday and Friday I didn't know what I was missing so I wasn't at all disappointed.  It seemed that the technical stuff improved every time, so no complaints there.  I liked those big screens with the random trippy stuff playing on loop.  Pretty much every time I looked over it was good for a laugh, especially with the derptastic MLP, Bolt, and ShamWow guy clips.  I was really pleased to find all the fans up at the front of the stage, so it was up there and more towards the outskirts where I danced the most because I either was less hot and nasty or had more room to avoid running into people with my uncoordinated movements.  I was jealous of the people up on stage; could anyone just kind of get up there?  I was very happy to stay on the floor but maybe next time I'll try to subject everyone else to watching me flail onstage.

One last thing: was the closest water out near the tabletop gaming room?  Did I completely miss some kind of refreshment place inside the SoP?  I had no trouble getting out, and liked that I got to spend some time walking in the cooler air to get water, but it would have been nice to know about water inside the main room.  I know the dance wasn't designated as the fursuit-friendly one, but there were lots of suiters in there and I don't want to imagine situations where they don't have cold water nearby and need it (The refreshments in the fursuit-friendly dance, by the way, were phenomenal.).  It's very possible I just failed really hard and overlooked a water station in the SoP, but I do hope there was at least one.

Overall, the dances were probably the best I've ever been to, and they were right up there with my favorite parts of AC '11.  Keep up the great work! =)

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Thanks for the feedback! The stage was technically open, yeah. I don't think we ever explicitly allowed anyone to come up on it, but none of the DJs were complaining so they were generally open. I imagine that's going to become a running theme so feel free to jump up in the future, just be careful because it's a long way down from there.

As for the water, traditionally there has been water inside the DLCC ballroom but I will agree with you, the closest water I could find was in the hallway outside - when I finished my set I was absolutely parched and it took me a good 5 minutes to locate any, so if there was any in the DLCC, I agree that we should make an effort to make it obvious. Smiling

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We were supposed to have four 10-gallon dispensers in the ballroom. Looking at the setup chart, I see 3 tables along the wall near the entrance closest to the elevator, but they're not marked as to purpose (although the purpose is stated in the notes). Similar tables in Hall B are marked with "C" to indicate the dispensers go there. ("C" stands for "Cambro," the manufacturer of the dispensers.)

I guess it's an oversight on both our part and the convention center's part, and Yet Another Example of Things We Can Fix If Somebody Just Tells Us About It At The Time Instead Of A Week Later.

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A friend pointed out that there WAS at least one water dispenser in the ballroom. If you were facing the stage, it was to the right, PAST all of the chairs, almost in the corner of the room. Not a very convenient place to put it, seeing that I didnt even know it was there until someone pointed it out, but at least it was there.

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There was another one in the opposite corner, front and left. Another back and left. They are, however, not easy to find. Why?

 

They are black-covered water dispensers. On black tables. In a room with dark carpet, black curtains, and black furniture. With no lights on. It would be nice if the DLLCC could change the color of the covers for the dispensers. Also, I appreciate the effort to put them all over, compared to last year which had one set location...however, they were so remote that it seems many found them hard to find. I wouldn't have seen any or know they exist except that I've been to past dances an know that there is water.

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Ah, that must have been an on-site change to locate them around the room. We're using every single dispenser the DLCC owns, and they actually bought a bunch of new 10-gallon ones this year with us in mind. We'll have to brainstorm on ways to make them more visible during the dances. I think all the covers are custom-made with the DLCC logo, and they're all black, but maybe they could put white tablecloths over them.

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There seems to be an abundance of glowsticks at these dances, so maybe those could help?  Or maybe they would actually make a water station blend in with everyone... it might look like a very lethargic dancer against a wall.

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I always attened the fursuit friendly dances as its tradition and the music played there is more of a crowd pleasing style,songs that most people would know. when i want the high energy stuff i go to the main ballroom,where its pretty intense with the light shows and stuff being displayed on the screens.just greatness at both dances. what comes down to in keeping the crowd happy is having a dj that plsys music that the crowd wants to hear and not just what the dj wants to hear. an overall excellent job was done at both. 

 

i did find water at the far right front of the main ballroom on saturday nights dance.

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I enjoyed the dances, though I had no idea what the music was for the most part.  I think I missed all the pop music stuff since they probably started off the dances and I was in usually an hour later.  I didn't even know there was another dance location.  (I'm guessing it had to be the Westmoreland room where the Sunday Dead Dog party was.)  I also missed Friday's, since I went to a wine tasting party and enjoyed a lot of good tasting wine, so I have no comments about that.


I do like that at some point, not sure if it was always like that, there was a second exit to leave the ballroom instead of having to navigate the aisles in the dark with my costume's vision.


Incidentally, it's the only time of year I ever go dancing.  It was fun.


-Mr Mutt

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I wanted to go to Yappy's Friday dance at the Westin, but with dances going on simultaneously, I missed it. It was confusing having to go from building to building.

Saturday night with BBF and Cheetah was spectacular!

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It was a real treat having them out - they're class acts musically and personally.

Cheetah also looks REALLY dapper in his white suit.

I definitely hope to have BBF and cheetah return in the future. Smiling

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I have some feedback relating to Cheetah specifically - He really seemed like he was having an AMAZING time Saturday night! He was jumping up and down by his laptop having the time of his life! DJs that get THAT emotionally into their sets are the DJs that are worth having time after time!

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That would be awesome! 

And yes, I've always had the utmost respect for them. Cheetah does that look well, doesn't he? ^_^

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I have not been satisfied with the dances. Every time I go to one, it just sounds like noise. I usually step in, bounce up and down for about ten seconds, and realize there is no way I can dance to the music unless I was tripping on something (and as a suiter and because it is always too dark, tripping on chairs does not count). My experience has been when I walk over to the headless lounge, where invariably there are lots of suiters sitting around talking, and they'll all sit there for the better part of the evening. Often, the conversation will turn to the dances happening across the hall, and often I will hear that they're sitting there because they cannot dance to what is being played. Every once in a while, someone will come in and announce that a good song is playing, and a few suiters will shuffle out, only to come back in a few minutes when the music inevitably returns to the baseline ultra high bpm techno. What I hear again and again from people I've talked to is that they want things that don't require glowsticks for dancing; things with melody or slower bpm. This doesn't mean we expect to hear Vivaldi at the dances, but my friends and I would like to hear songs that we can recognize as being a song. Alternatives often include 80s, or current popular dance music like Cascada or Lady Gaga. I acknowledge that the current genre of what is played at the dances has a strong following, but I feel that it is too niche, and that many attendees are feeling left out of the dances because only one subset of music is played. 

As I have said before, I think it is a bad idea to have fursuit dances at the same time as the main dances, especially when they are in a completely separate building. People will almost always choose to go to a main event rather than an offshoot, as thats where everyone else will be. I liked it better when they were ahead of the main dances.

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While I do appreciate the feedback, I have a couple of issues with what you're telling me:

  1. I don't understand the mindset of sitting across from a room that you're not willing to go in to save for every once in a while rather than heading to another place which is playing exactly what you want. If there are so many people in the fursuit lounge saying they do not want to go to the main dances because they do not like the music, logically, they should go to the fursuit dances, and then all the other people of a similar mindset would be there as well.
  2. We still DO have fursuit friendly dances leading the dances on Thursday and Friday, the other room is a supplement to that to increase the amount of fursuit friendly music that's played over the course of the weekend. This year, unfortunately, we had technical issues on Thursday with Rory and a last-minute shakeup with our opening DJ for Friday, but the DJ who did fill in was playing a lot of popular music - so as far as the main ballroom, the fursuit friendly dances haven't changed much.

Is there a particular reason everyone is averse to going to the fursuit friendly dances? Is there a reason you and your friends don't want to go there? I'm not asking this to be rude - but what you're saying is we have a large delegation of fursuiters who say it's too dark and the music is too hard to dance to, and there's another room in which the light is brighter and the music is slower and they are not going there. What can we do to help make this easier? Placing the dances across the hall from the main dances isn't really an option, partially because of noise - we'd rather people hear the fursuit friendly music EXCLUSIVELY, not the fursuit friendly music over the thump of the sound system across the hall.

The solution to the problem isn't really to turn up the lights in the DLCC and slow down the music all night - I think the answer is to make the fursuit friendly dances more prominent and appealing. Then, the people who want to spend the night dancing to the slower stuff CAN, while the people who'd prefer the more club-like dances have that option, as well. You refer to the ballroom dances as the 'main event' and the fursuit dances as an offshoot, which is not really the case - they're two freestanding events that happen at the same time. The fursuit dances are a direct response to the demands of a group of fursuiters who wanted to have a place with brighter lighting and slower music that ran for longer periods of time. They're not meant to be an offshoot of the main dances, but their own event in their own right targeted towards a certain group. If you could provide a little more insight as to why people are avoiding them, that would be helpful. What about them doesn't appeal to you?

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For me, I hadn't realized there was another dance place.  I always thought the ballroom was the only place and that they had the fursuit friendly dance the first hour, of which I kept missing.  I'll have to remember next year about the other place.


-Mr Mutt

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Proto:  Let's strategize on naming and marketing of the "fursuit friendly" dances.  I have always thought that fursuit friendly was a graet term, because it didn't say "fusuit exclusive"...but if people are thinking that way, perhaps we can change it.

The musical style of those dances has typically been pop and cheese....perhaps we can do something with those terms?

In terms of why there are 2 dances, let me give the history:

A few years ago, there was one main dance.  Everyone complained that the low light and heavy thump music was either too intense, not ravey enough, etc.  There was no consensus.  Also some people were very upset that one specific set was labelled "fursuit friendly" because it was taking time away from "their dance".  So folks can see...there was a large disparity about what the dances needed to do.  Now, in this one year, there was a labelling issue on the signs posted in the hallways.  So what ended up happening was that many fursuiters MISSED the fursuit friendly dance that year.  I was in the headless lounge hearing everyone arguing and upset about the "one" hour of dance that they wanted to go to...being missed.  We had extra space in the Westin, so I set up a second dance the next night that was independent and geared more "lights up" and slower beat.  The fursuiters were VERY happy with the arragement, and people told us that they really loved it.

Now, we may need to do a better job of letting people know that there is a lower BPM dance in the Westin, and maybe do different advertising/marketing for it.   But based on feedback, a number of fursuiters still want the separate dance, as do those who can't really dance to the main room music.  It's a compromise, and it gives people a choice.  I think that's what Proto and I are all about.  Let people have an option, rather than dictate they must go to one dance, or not go to one at all.  If there is one room with 100 people happily dancing and another with 1000 people happily dancing....then we're doing a good job.  We just need to let folks know what is really in the second dance room.

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I gotta agree with you, KP.  It would definitely get more attendees to know that there's more than one dance going on, and that they can choose which dance they'll go to and be more satisfied with. ;)

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Absolutely agreed. 'Fursuit Friendly' is a term that fursuiters and people who've been around the fandom for a while might know but it may say the same thing as 'fursuit games' to other people - i.e. you can't participate unless you're in fursuit.

We should definitely find ways to change the marketing of and spice up the second dance room. :]

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I wanted to go to Yappy's dance, but didn't get to see him. I was excited at the fact he was going to play 80s and 90s stuff. I believe I went to see it, but he wasn't there.. someone else was. I was sad, but hopefully I'll see him next year.

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I had no problem with the dances I went to.  I could only go to Friday and Saturday night's dances though since I was too tired to attend Thursday's.  I actually thought Protocollie's set was MASSIVE!  You did an awesome job there, PC!


I'm a fan of electronic dance music, and not so much the top 40 stuff (at least not so much the top 40 stuff released after 1998).  But I do understand that the music I like isn't everyone else's cup of tea.  I understand that the DJ's and staff are doing as best of a job as they can to please the audience at these dances, and I think they all did that part fine overall.

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Here's my two cents. It sounds to me like the fursuit-friendly dances aren't just a dance for fursuiters. While it may not be your intent, the general notion seems to be that the dance is just for fursuiters. If you call it something like Alternative Dance (or something more creative) then mention that it's designed to be fursuit friendly, but not just for fursuiters, you might get better attendance! Because, it sounds to me, like you also use the fursuit-friendly dance as the alternative more "poppy" dance that I was talking about, which is excellent! Now the trick would be making sure people attend! Before this thread, I honestly wasn't aware that the fursuit friendly dance had appeal to us skinned people, so I spent all my dancing energy at the main dance!

 

Also, the event I described isn't really a festival, it's the thrice-annual dance at my college. A school of 800 people. None of the dances are as big as the main dance at AC, and we certainly don't have GIANT LASERS.

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Noted!

The 'fursuit friendly' moniker may definitely be part of the problem. Historically, fursuit friendly is understood to mean that fursuits are okay to attend and the event has been 'fursuit proofed' so to speak, but that may be throwing off people who are not familiar with fursuiting and the terminology. We should take the time to figure out how we could better market it as not just a dance for fursuiters, but for everyone who's not into the club thing so much.

This was good insight, I'm going to look into what we can do to make the distinction clear and grow that event more. Smiling

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For That matter, if people are confused about the dance pairing, maybe the answer is a couple of signs (assuming we can get clearance from the DLCC and Westin):

"Looking for something a little more fursuit friendly?  Try the alternative dance in the westmoreland room!  Pop/mainstream music! brighter lighting!  Chill atmosphere!  And who doesn't love fuzzy creatures to dance with?"

"Looking for something a little more clubbish?  Try the EDM dance in the spirit of pittsburgh ballroom!  Darkness with fog!  Super electrinic music with faster BPMs!  And did we mention lasers?"

I know furries often go temporarily illiterate while at cons, but it might be worth a try.

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Did anyone go to the final dance that Dog den place? I read this over and have seen no talk about it.

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The 'dead dog' is what you're thinking of, and it was fairly well attended - did you have a specific question about it?

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1. I would have preferred some more poppy stuff-- I'm young, I can't help it, I LIKE Lady Gaga and other club music. I also enjoy hardstyle and whatnot as long as it's got as much melody as it has BASS BASS BASS BASS. But I liked Cheetah.de's set, and I caught the last bit of BBF's, and those were fun! I think leaving it up to the individual DJs certainly works out, and recent music seems to be controversial among furries anyhow.

2. I didn't go to the fursuit-friendly dance because... well, I don't really have a reason to not have gone. The nights I did dance, I forgot it was an option, and being in costume I don't mind the chaos, crazy lazers, darkness, and crowded energy of the main dance, so I didn't think about needing anything to be fursuit-friendly for myself. I should definitely try it next year!

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 Alternatives often include 80s, or current popular dance music like Cascada or Lady Gaga. I acknowledge that the current genre of what is played at the dances has a strong following, but I feel that it is too niche, and that many attendees are feeling left out of the dances because only one subset of music is played.

 

 

That is pretty much the type of music I played on Saturday night.... Smiling

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This might have been said or addressed already but here goes. Ive been following AC since Valley Forge and in all that time i think ive heard of two dances that were not techno/rave. That doesnt mean they werent there just i never found them.  That said Id like to see a dance thats got a variety of music maybe some 80's , metal (Motley crue, ozzy) , steampunk  etc. Lots of this are danceable and might be fun just to come in and listen. Id also have to believe that theres some folks out there who may want to slow dance. 

If this is being done with the Fursuit dance , then yeah its time to pick another name. (btw i have been to the fur friendly and it still seems to be the same type of music, just easier for the 'suiters to dance.

I think with next years theme of Midsummers night dream , a Themed dance could be done. Think the Annual Jareds Ball in CA based off of  Labyrinth or the many Steampunk/fantasy Neo Victorian Galas/Balls about. Im sure theres a  few Steampunk Djs would might be interested in coming to AC to help out with this if needed.( there already is a bit of overlap with furs and the steampunkers fandoms anyway)

I could see using  Lorenna Mckennitt , David Bowie, Abney park, Max Raabe amoung others being played at a dance ball with the furs in psuedo fantasy fairae formal finest for next year. Could even do a seminar with on how to do medieval and/ or Victorian dance earlier in day to use at the ball. Even getting folks to do such one as the Spiral dance would be a blast. 

 

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Contra Dance or maybe not?
I just do not know if the fandom is ready for such thing, so many young people do not like other styles of dance it seems.

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-- The silly little ratel

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Contra dance would be awesome!!! Or maybe.... a Square Dance!! I know a local square dance caller who'd be lots of fun.... 'course, contra dance is a bit easier for beginners to pick up...

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It would be a hard sell to furries i think (and we might have to do less actual contra and more of the dreaded family dance), but it would rock.

If there are enough of us interested and the BPM in the main hall is in the 112-132 range (comfortable to brisk walking pace), we could probably just start a techno contra over to one side and dance something familiar that doesn't need much calling, like hay in the barn or chorus jig.

Or, since you're both not too far away, maybe i'll just have to lure y'all to phila. for marathon medley in the spring.

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There was water present in the ballroom during dances far right as you enter the ball room. 

 

LOVED the fact that glow stuff being handed out was free! Music was good. I did dances on thurs and sat. I would have liked to hear a few more 80s/90s mixes thrown in throughout all dances. I loved some of the video game music thrown into the music. The DJ that took over around 11pm sat night played alot of stuff I found hard to dance too. The laser sky with clounds was my fav for thur. night lighting. But other wise very clear sound, very impressed Smiling

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Rally Corgi

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Being the sound engineer for the weekend, I appreciate the "clear sound" comment. Thanks!

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Yes this year's music appealed to me. Laughing out loud I only regret having missed some dances. I didn't know (or more likely forgot) there was a dance going on Thursday. o.o;

And, I didn't go to any fursuit friendly dances, but only because I don't hava fursuit.

I'd like to know please also, if the DJs have posted their music sets anywhere yet? Smiling Getting to hear them again and save them brings back and saves for me so many wild and fun memories from con. <3

Additionally, I'd like to ask something that may or may not be feasible, but is with respect to all DJs and peoples working hard at con. Uh, and this isn't critical at all o.o;; so it's okay if it can't be done.... i wonder if DJs may be able to choose like, clean versions of the songs they mix? I'm one person who likes better, clean versions of musics, and there's others like me too I'm sure... and well I go dance for the beat and the fun, not like i can hear what's being sung exactly either, but... later on when I listen to replays I just like to hear clean versions.

 

All the DJS (much much <3 for BBF and cheetah.de whom I met and could tell they visibly played their hearts out for us!) work so hard and bring such energy and life to con, they really carry much of the con's spirit and I'm glad for them! Thank yooouuu! c8

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Re: your request for clean versions, we are a late night event and I'm very wary of placing restrictions on what DJs can or cannot play. To a lot of people, edited versions sound wrong or are jarring, so I tend to not require that people keep their music G-rated, but there's also an understanding that things need to be within reason - i.e., if it's completely obscene/unnecessary/way too much language, it's probably not appropriate for the con.

Was there anything in particular that put you off?

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I've got something based on the set I played (11pm, Saturday, Main Ballroom) online @ http://soundcloud.com/oddy/summer-mix-2011/ :)

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