Getting the Hips Moving
Dancing is a very primal activity, and most of it starts with the hips, the most primal part of the body. The simplest way to get a character dancing is to keep the feet planted and simply get the hips moving. The easiest way is to create two poses, as shown in Figure 1: one with the hip neutral and the other with the hip out to the right. Animating between these two poses creates the foundation of the basic dance.
Figure 1 These two simple poses place the character's hips at two positions. Animating between these poses can create the foundation of a simple dance.
To give it a bit more life, you can mirror the extreme pose to create a pose with the character's hip out to the left, as shown in Figure 2. This gives you the opportunity to animate among the three poses and also create patterns. You could simply go from right to left, or you could get more complex, such as right-right, left-left. The possibilities with these simple poses are endless.
Figure 2 Adding a third pose opens up the possibilities. The character can go from right to left, right to right, and so on.
One thing about dancing is that it needs to be fluid, not mechanical. Simply moving between two poses will not be very fluid and will give you something that looks more like calisthenics than dancing. As was mentioned before, no dancer can hit the exact same pose twice. These poses are simply a foundationbe sure to mix it up by varying the poses and overlapping the motions of the legs and hips.