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350Re: [CalontirDance] dance reconstruction criteria

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  • Amy and Bill Morris
    Jul 21, 2003
      Three thoughts on simplistic court dances...

      1) It can be argued persuasively that one reason our records of many court
      dances are simplistic are that they are a base form upon which improvisation
      may be done. Glancing at Arbeau quickly I got improvisation recommended for
      pavane, galliard, lavolta, alman, double branle. And that is without a
      close reading. Doubtless the same is true for some other dances if not for

      N.B. Yes, this does mean that too close following of the written sources can
      result in a less authentic dance, for certain dances.

      The dance reconstructer thus should also be able to include allowable
      variations, at what points in the music which variations can be done, and in
      couple dances how one partner would signal the other partner that a
      particular variation. For example Arbeau's description of how to lead in
      Lavolta begs for clarification.

      2) Yes some dances are more complex then others, and therefore have
      potentially higher scores in the complexity category then others. (As
      Conrad notes this is not a problem limited to dance, some competitions have
      even removed complexity from the criteria, or kept it but not added it in to
      the overall score) Remember that you can include complementary material
      when it is relevant, not just where and when was the dance done, but indoors
      or outdoors?, which seasons? by which classes? by which age groups?
      wearing what? On a wood floor?, tile? grass? what musical instruments were
      available and how skilled were the dance musicians? All of these questions
      can affect the style of the dance. The hornpipe is was popular with sailors
      partly because it could be done without a partner in a crowded space (such
      as a quarter-deck). The intricate styling in 19th century Serbian women's
      dances is closely connected with the rather restrictive women's skirts.
      Oriental cultures that used to bind women's feet strongly reflect that in
      their dances. Dances done by the populace sometimes include opportunities
      to flirt, dances done for an audience by the dance professionals (whether
      Byzantine, Japanese, or late period French) may include mimed courtship but
      tend to lack real opportunities for the participants to flirt.

      I am currently learning Buffens (the sword dance) from Arbeau. The height
      of the ceiling can interfere with some of the styling. Even without further
      proof, this would suggest that it was unlikely to be done in lower class
      dwellings, which tend to have low roofs.

      3) In many cases the more simple dances were rarely done alone. The double
      bransle would be done as the start of a bransle suite, The pavane would be
      followed by a galliard. Don't stop after doing part, do the whole thing
      like it would be done in period.

      Breichiol map Lludd o Fannauc
      (known among the saesneg as Mableth)

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Sauer, Michael F." <sauerm@...>
      To: <CalontirDance@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, July 21, 2003 1:02 PM
      Subject: RE: [CalontirDance] dance reconstruction criteria

      > >My one question about the complexity issue: If the group that is doing
      the recreation tries to do any Court dances, many of >those are very
      simplistic in dance steps and allow little to no variation from the
      > OK this is a question that has been brought up in some of the private
      feedback I have gotten.
      > The generic criteria for complexit is "- Rank the ambition of the entry,
      NOT the workmanship"
      > Can/should this be judged according the the generic complex dance of that
      type or
      > is there an "absolute" scale over all dance in period?
      > Should a reconstruction of the most complex bransle be equal to the most
      complex English Country Dance?
      > If yes will that allow people to score well using potentially easier
      > If no would that hurt people who mostly study one era/local because the
      like it, gasp, its their persona's?
      > Something has been done in this regard with costuming where theres an
      early, middle and late period category.
      > Therefore a properly made norese dress can compete with a tudor dress.
      > So please discus this point :)
      > >Are they any ways to judge against the authenticity to determine if the
      complexity factor should be taken into account?
      > I'm not sure how this would effect/be effected by Authenticity. In
      reconstruction you don't want to "make up"
      > anything unless you have to. Some sources for all eras/places have
      omissions or seemingly contradictory
      > instructions - working around those successfully can lead to increased
      complexity, but you should never loose
      > points (or fail to gain them) if you don't need to alter anything.
      > Conrad
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