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Stepping Out

After you have some basic hip motion in action, it is very easy to see where dance steps can come in. One good way of looking at dance steps is as a stylized walk: When the hips move, the character takes a step. A conga line is one example of this type of dancing. Many times, dance steps happen to the beat, but the patterns vary widely. A common variation might be a sequence in which the hips bounce twice for every step, shown in Figures 4 and 5.

Figure 4 In this simple dance move containing a single step, the character starts on both feet, executes a quick kick, and then returns to the original position.

Figure 5 This dance is based on a walk. The character adds extra twist to the hips on each step and also steps to the beat of the music.

Another type of foot motion used widely in dance is the pivot, as shown in Figure 6. Instead of doing a full step, a dancer may just pivot on the toes. This is the basis of The Twist, but it can be applied in many other contexts.

Figure 6 This simple dance is accomplished by pivoting on the toes. The character first pivots on both toes to the left and then pivots back to the right.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of dancing styles, from ballet to hip hop, to square dancing, and everything in between. In addition to the styles, there are as many ways to dance as there are people. Everyone dances uniquely—a character's personality really shows through when she's dancing. As an exercise, try animating a number of characters, each dancing to the same bit of music. Each character will dance very differently, depending upon personality. And, remember—dancing is supposed to be fun, so you, too, should have some fun with the exercise.

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