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Thread: Logging Dance Moves

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    Commercial Operator Gus's Avatar
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    Logging Dance Moves

    Got a challenge that must face most instructors. Over the years accumulated a fair number of scripted moves. No problem in notating them, one advantage of Ceroc teacher training . However, I currently have them either in hardcopy form or as separate WORD documents.

    What I would like is some kind of database so I that I could both store the moves in a better way and be able to pull together a routine based on a number of criteria (e.g., LH/RH, spinning move, easy/med/diff etc. etc.) Anyone know any decent software packages / applications or simple but effective ways of collating these files together?

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    Commercial Operator
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    You write them down - wish I did that
    I struggle to remember the routine when i am teaching it - never write it down and good new moves just gets lost forever.
    I blame it on age.

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    Commercial Operator Gus's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Lounge Lizard
    You write them down - wish I did that
    I struggle to remember the routine when i am teaching it - never write it down and good new moves just gets lost forever.
    I blame it on age.
    Never said I did it for all my moves ..... was looking back over my teach list for the last two months ... at least 25% I made up in the preceeding 24 hours and I have NO idea what the moves were now.

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    Meglio del Cioccolato Demo
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    Re: Logging Dance Moves

    Originally posted by Gus
    Anyone know any decent software packages / applications or simple but effective ways of collating these files together?
    Gus, by the look of it you are looking for a database package. If you are using a PC I would suggest Access and if you use a Mac FileMaker. I suppose you could also use Excel with a bit of tweaking (it is available for both platforms). The advantage with databases is that you can save the queries once you have done them for the first time.

    In any case, good luck in typing everything!!

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    Registered User spindr's Avatar
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    <geek mode>

    Gus, if you're looking at categorising your moves (steps) then you probably need to look at how much and what type of "meta-data" you need to describe the move -- so that you can answer your questions easily. I haven't seen the "Ceroc" notation so I can't comment on that --- although if you'd like to share?

    For example: one simple mechanism I use is to denote handholds with l = left, r = right, with uppercase for the leader and lowercase for the follower.
    Hence: Lr -> leader holding follower's right hand in his left hand. For double handed positions the first set of hands is on-top: LlRr -> leader holds follower's left hand in his left hand and holds follower's right hand in his right hand *under* the left hands.
    Then it gets complicated -- when you start getting twisted handholds, e.g. when you start LrRl and do a travelling return -- when the lady is in a hammerlock, etc., etc.

    For my markup notation I use an XML DTD which means I can check that I remember to specify whether a turn is anti/clockwise and under which hand, etc., etc. I can then fairly easily turn that back into readable (?) english --- see the moves on www.afterfive.co.uk. The XML filles and DTDs are there and can be downloaded -- though you need a good editor to view them.

    Once you have a good markup system, then you can fairly easily pull everything into a database. I transform the move data into a comma separated value list and just load into MySQL. I haven't quite pulled my system together yet, but I'm hoping to develop a sort of "what can I lead from here" map.

    </geek mode>

    SpinDr

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    Commercial Operator
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    Originally posted by spindr
    <geek mode>

    snip

    </geek mode>

    SpinDr
    After reading that I'm claiming 'just a beginner' status too

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    Registered User ChrisA's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Andy McGregor
    After reading that I'm claiming 'just a beginner' status too
    If I had that much time on my hands I'd go dancing more

    Chris

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    Angel with attitude! xSalsa_Angelx's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Logging Dance Moves

    Originally posted by azande
    Gus, by the look of it you are looking for a database package. If you are using a PC I would suggest Access and if you use a Mac FileMaker. I suppose you could also use Excel with a bit of tweaking (it is available for both platforms). The advantage with databases is that you can save the queries once you have done them for the first time.

    In any case, good luck in typing everything!!
    That's what I was going to suggest aswell, from my experience of setting up databases, access is probably one of the best ones, as it allows you to set up reports that you could use to select your weekly moves


    XsaX

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    Papa Smurf
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    I was hoping spindr would reply before i had to say anything as the amount of data on his site is just ridiculous . I think his solution is a bit more complicated than what Gus is looking for though.

    The database is irrelevant with the type and size of data you're talking about so you just want to pick one that you already have or one thats free.

    Structure is the next thing then. How you are going to store the data? ie. If you want to compare moves that start left hand only then that would be a column in a table that you could query based on. You then just need a front end that will build the queries for you, so you can build whole routines - if you end lh and rh then the next moves suggestions will only be lh rh moves etc... To differentiate between leader and follower I would have another table for the follower that has the same moves but with the followers instructions instead - a relantionship would exist between these 2 tables.

    Simple really. I'd be willing to help if you like.

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    Registered User spindr's Avatar
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    Originally posted by ChrisA
    If I had that much time on my hands I'd go dancing more

    Chris
    In my defence, I used to get sent to Geneva a lot --- I wasn't confident in my French enough to try and join in with the local classes (Continental Rock'n'Roll). So trying to remember the classes I had been to was a poor second...

    SpinDr

    Hmmm, what is French for "catch"?
    Hang on, I can't find "aaaggggggggggghh" in the dictionary...

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    Registered User spindr's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Dreadful Scathe
    I was hoping spindr would reply before i had to say anything as the amount of data on his site is just ridiculous .
    I got carried away...

    I think his solution is a bit more complicated than what Gus is looking for though.
    Absolutely -- but it's worth thinking about the questions you want to ask first, otherwise you can end up with data that's not useful.

    Structure is the next thing then. How you are going to store the data? ie. If you want to compare moves that start left hand only then that would be a column in a table that you could query based on. You then just need a front end that will build the queries for you, so you can build whole routines - if you end lh and rh then the next moves suggestions will only be lh rh moves etc... To differentiate between leader and follower I would have another table for the follower that has the same moves but with the followers instructions instead - a relantionship would exist between these 2 tables.
    Coupla' comments: unless you're doing choregraphed routines, then you might not need two tables -- you just need a list of the leads (ok, sometimes the "lady's" leading in sabotages -- but that's just an extra column -- to capture who's leading at that point).

    From a dance perspective; are there really "left-handed" and "right-handed" moves? Surely you can usually find a way to do a sneaky hand change? Similarly with single and double handed moves -- just drop a hand, or grab one?
    Why limit your possibilities? Just a thought, but has anyone ever been to a "how to dance freestyle" class (complete with how to fudge handholds, when things go differently [not wrong], etc., etc.).

    SpinDr.

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    The Oracle
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    Re: Re: Logging Dance Moves

    Originally posted by azande
    I suppose you could also use Excel with a bit of tweaking (it is available for both platforms).
    I'd normally sugest Excel to anyone with accountancy training. But for long descriptions of moves, a spreadsheet is not really practical - you can't put enough text into each cell.

    I'd recommend a database package - Access for a PC, and whatever Azande/Franck say for a Mac.

    PS If you don't have a copy of Access, (or MS Office), and you have your own company that does IT or consultancy work, then DON'T buy a single copy. You can get the Microsoft Action Pack for £199 +VAT that gives you 10 licences for Windows & Office, plus a Server licence.

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    Originally posted by Dreadful Scathe
    Structure is the next thing then.
    I agree in principle that just listing moves is a bit pants and searches can only then be on common phrases used in the description.
    The fields are the most important thing IMHO: the main question is "what do you want to search for?" - this will give you a starting point for fields and data that could be stored;

    Do you classify moves ? Rr, Rl, RrLl, RlLr, spin direction, movement direction ...

    Do you want to rate the moves with a scoring system? Complexity, Spins, Footwork, Seductive, Danger...

    Do you want to log where and when the moves were learned, taught, by whom, at what venue?

    If you want the front end to do fancy stuff like linking moves and storing routines then there are a few other variables that you would need; Start/end hand hold and direction of travel, ref no's of moves taught/learned before/after, ... You could also complicate the database and only have a few 'basic' parts of moves that you could use as building blocks to create new ones; if done right, this could be used to 'insert' moves(or bits of them) into other moves to create new routines and complex moves.

    I have a basic list of basic moves and a "map" that I am using as a blue-print for somthing similar my self; all I have is a few tables and some ideas {Hey, it's only been in development 3 years...}

    {edit- sorry: just noticed spindr's post saying the same thing}
    Last edited by Gadget; 9th-January-2004 at 04:51 PM.

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    Originally posted by spindr
    From a dance perspective; are there really "left-handed" and "right-handed" moves? Surely you can usually find a way to do a sneaky hand change?
    But the moves themselves are right/left handed - how you get into them is another matter completley.

    BTW an old (but valid) thread on bare minimum moves I found quite enlightening.

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    Have you considered a digital video camera?

    There probably is a way to describe,catalogue and retrive them in a useful way that suits your needs??

    Cheers,

    dotse

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    Commercial Operator Gus's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Dotse
    Have you considered a digital video camera?

    There probably is a way to describe,catalogue and retrive them in a useful way that suits your needs??

    Cheers,

    dotse
    Yup ... considered it ... but will still have the same issue re cataloguing. I'm interested in the suggestions in breaking down each move into its steps ... but I donít think that may be the best way to go. My original idea is based on rating each move (with it constituent steps) as an object but cataloguing its name with other descriptive fields .... so that, say a Double Flamenco could be additionally have a fields to say RH start, another to describe level of difficulty, another for the number of beats and a freeform field for the notes such as "contains a catapult, close move"

    One the header record was set-up I'd like to be able to click on that, if I selected it, to bring up the word doc of the move and (one day) a vid.

    When I putting a routine together, I tend to start with the idea of inclkuding a certain range of moves, say pretzels and look at the combimations to see which FEEL good ... un;less a system has AI think that will still be a trial and error process. Also, I try to incorporate a teaching point ... say moves that require close walking, went to keep close, women to use their spare hand.

    Any more suggestions

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    Originally posted by Dotse
    Have you considered a digital video camera?

    There probably is a way to describe,catalogue and retrive them in a useful way that suits your needs??

    Cheers,

    dotse
    Well down here in Fleet, we have been videoing each week's classes and publishing them on the CEROC Plus website for some time now. It has proven popular and useful not only to our punters, but also for me each week in deciding what moves to teach that haven't been taught for a while.

    Rob

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    Originally posted by Gus
    When I putting a routine together, I tend to start with the idea of inclkuding a certain range of moves, say pretzels and look at the combimations to see which FEEL good ... un;less a system has AI think that will still be a trial and error process. Also, I try to incorporate a teaching point ... say moves that require close walking, went to keep close, women to use their spare hand.
    So what constitutes a "FEEL good" move combination?

    I think that the direction of travel that one move finishes with should match the direction of travel the next one starts with. (not just clockwise/anti-clockwise on the horizontal plane, but vertical movement; high -&gt low -&gt low to high as well)

    Are there any other factors that make two moves gel?
    Like spins to slides to 'flat' moves?

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    B.T.C.
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    Used to write down all the moves every week but realised I wrote down the wrong hand/ direction etc so almost strangled someone when I tried to go the wrong way

    Also have them in chronologicall order ratehr than collated together in any meaningful way eg all First move variaitons together, basket variations etc...... and with my computer ability it would take ages to re-order them. Not that I actually ever read them anymore

    Couldn't Spock or Kirk do it for me I wonder

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    Originally posted by RobC
    Well down here in Fleet, we have been videoing each week's classes and publishing them on the CEROC Plus website for some time now. It has proven popular and useful not only to our punters, but also for me each week in deciding what moves to teach that haven't been taught for a while.

    Rob
    Blimey, that is REALLY useful. For the past few months I've been trying to write down moves after the class on my palm pilot thingy but when I look at it a few days later I can't make much sense of 'take girls left hand, turn her round, turn her back again but not as much, move forward, move back' etc etc. What I needed was an easily accessible collection of video clips, categorised into beginner, improvers and intermediate....

    Pete

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