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Gloving is a kind of creative dance that gained popularity after glover Hermes submitted a video to YouTube in 2006 in which he wore fingered gloves with LEDs in the fingertips. Initially not known outside of the rave scene in California, Gloving quickly spread around the country and the world, with the dance being performed in places such as Germany, India, and Brazil.
In 2011, Gloving was banned from many events. While this was initially seen as a negative, it forced Gloving to move out of the rave scene and into a more mainstream setting. This had the effect of increasing its appeal and popularity. As of 2014, there are numerous competitions, teams, and campus organizations dedicated to the art of Gloving.
Gloving includes numerous techniques of finger, wrist, and arm movements to create its unique effects. Many techniques used by glovers are adapted from or similar to other forms of dances popular at raves, such as Liquid and Digits.
This is arguably the most basic of Gloving techniques. Simply, this technique involves the sequential opening and/or closing of the glover's fingers. This can be done with both palms up, down, or opposite, and many different effects can be created with this simple movement by varying positions and timing. Many more advanced techniques have rolls as their foundation.
This is a movement which combines a finger roll with a wrist rotation. The most basic whips attempt to create the illusion of an arc or circle. A whip can be started with the palm down (leading with the pinky) or up (leading with the index finger). Following one whip with another, or combining whips with other movements such as flails, can be used to draw circles, tunnels, to create depth, or to add dimension to another technique.
This is another basic technique that is not unique to gloving. The goal with tutting is to use isolated wrist and arm movements to create sharp angles (usually right angles) or to create negative space in the light show. Tutting can be combined with finger rolls ("wave tutting"), tracing, and stacking.
This technique is also not unique to gloving, but is an important technique for a glover to learn. By keeping the fingertips loosely connected, the glover uses a combination of finger and wrist movements to make the hands appear like waves in liquid.
Like whips, flails attempt to create circular traces. Flails are done at the wrist or the elbow, resulting in larger diameters than whips. They can be combined with whips to create a circle within another, or to create a strong sense of depth by weaving a whip into and out of the arc of the flail.
This is the act of using a digit on one hand to follow (trace) lines on the other hand. For example, the index finger may be used to trace the line from the opposite thumb tip to the opposite index tip, or across the palm at the edge of each finger. This can also be combined with finger rolls for more complex effects.
This is any technique that involves the various digits rotating around each other or stacking on top of one another. These techniques arguably require the most dexterity.
The centerpiece of a Glover's toolkit is a glove of stretchable fabric, most frequently white, with LED lights in every finger tip. Black gloves can also be found, and creates a different effect—white gloves reflect more of the light, making the hands easier to follow and creating a stronger visual. Some gloves may even use reflective material.
The lights themselves consist of a programmable chip, one or more LED bulbs, and a battery. Two design classes are common: wired and independent. Wired glove sets have lights in each finger tip connected to a single power source at the wrist via wires which run along the back of the hand. Independent glove sets contain five self-contained units which run on watch batteries. Some lights are capable of producing multiple colors, utilizing strobe effects, morphing through the color spectrum, or oscillating between colors at a high rate such that the viewer will only see the colors when the glove is moving.
A pair of gloves and complete set of lights is called a "glove set." A glove set can be purchased whole or piecemeal, with prices ranging roughly from 10 USD to 60 USD.
Costuming is also a part of gloving, with precedent being set by the so-called "Rabbit Show," a light show done by a glover while wearing a rabbit mask available on YouTube. Glovers may use masks, t-shirt designs, or other light-up equipment to create a persona along with the effects of their actual performance.
Some of the effects used by glovers include solids, strobes, ribbons, tracers, dops, and others.
A Gloving performance is typically called a "light show." Often, these are done with the performer kneeling immediately in front of his/her audience, who usually sits directly on the ground. A light show often lasts for a couple of minutes, often the length of whichever song is being played. Traditionally, light shows are done to Electronic Dance Music, though there is no rule about this. The end of the performance is typically signaled by a movement towards the viewer's face and past their peripheral vision.
A light show can also be done with both performer and viewer standing. Multiple performers are also possible, forming the basis for some competitions or teams.
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