This weekend, the Barony of Cynnabar (Ann Arbor, Mich.) hosted its 15th annual "Terpsichore at the Tower" dance event. Canontir sent two dancers from Coeur dEnnui (Lady Daria, who taught one of the classes, and her husband) and musicians from Shadowdale and Three Rivers.
The event is held in a church, with European dance classes down in the sectioned-off basement and Middle Eastern dancing upstairs in a collection of small classrooms.
The European Dance classes taught:
"A Stroll": Carolingian Pavane and Contrapasso in Due
Bransles: Poitou, Scottish, Trihory, Arbeau's Maltese
Almains: Black and Queen's and Monsieur's
Beginning English Country: Sellenger's Round, Black Nag, Gathering Peascods
15th C. Italian: Petit Vriens, Amoroso
"Around London": Maiden Lane, St. Martin's, Hockley-in-the-Hole
"Joy and Jealousy": Rostiboli Gioioso, Gioioso in Tre, Gelosia
"3-couple dances": Shepherd's Holiday, The Night Piece, Woodycock
"Longways Proto-contras": Health to Betty, Paul's Steeple, Staines Morris
"16th C. Favorites": Gracca Amorosa, Bizzaria d'Amore
Parson's Farewell, Picking of Sticks, Cucolds all in a Row
The people of the barony offered lunch/dinner on site, but they ran out of meat at the end of lunch, so a lot of folks ran off-site for dinner. The ball started at 7:00 and ran till 11:00.
Ballo de Fiore (a nice way to begin, I thought.) The mood of the night was set when His Excellency Midair instructed "all men who would like to begin this dance, need to see my wife over there for your flowers." And someone else yelled out "Midair wants you to go over and de-flower his wife!" All righty, then.
Bransle Suite (This was pretty tightly plotted by the musicians. Lady Jadzia would play the first phrase solo, and then we would all join in on a bransle. When Lord Aaron, the head musician, yelled "switch," we would finish the phrase of the current bransle, and Jadzia would immediately start playing the next one.) The order went: Double Bransle, Single, Bransle Gay, Maltese, Poitou, Scottish, Triory, back to Poitou, back to Single, back to Double, back to Scottish.
There was a 10-minute break for the dessert revel.
Gathering Peascods (I'm not bothered by people calling this "Gathering Codpieces", but does everybody have so sound so smug hen they say it, as if nobody'd ever thought of that before??)
Prendente in Gyro
Rights of Man
Duchess Rondallyn's Pavane
Hockley in the Hole (which also uses the tunes from Half Hannikin and Hyde Park)
The Dance Challenge: Bizzaria d'Amore
There was another 10-minute break
Carolingian Pavane, and a galliard danced to Dowland's "Can She Excuse My Wrongs"
Rostiboli (Monica Cellio arrangement of the music)
Furioso (using the Musica Subterranea arrangement)
Salterello: La Regina
There was time for three requests:
-- an ECD I'd not heard before
-- My Lady Cullen (with the drum section banging out this cool tribal back-beat)
The band consisted of:
Lord Aaron Drummond: director, mandolin, recorders, percussion
Lady Jadzia: keyboard, recorders
Lady Magda: experienced dancer taking a shot at learning recorder
Alex: recorder player with a wacky sense of humor
Lady Shoshona: flute
Stephanie: flute, and an enormous exotic instrument she called a mandora
Baroness Anne: `cello and doumbek
Jeff and Jeff: the violins
Victor: Great Bass Recorder and a Serpent. I learned that, when somebody's playing a serpent, there's really no use in anybody else playing anything.
Me: `cello, percussion, guitar, recorders.
Aaron ran a pretty well-rehearsed ship. Six weeks beforehand, he'd sent out pdf's of all the arrangements, with road-map notes attached. A couple of weeks ahead of time, he sent out an Excel spreadsheet that spelled out things like:
1st time through: violins and mandora on harmonies, flutes and recorders on melody
2nd time through: keyboards drop out, all recorders stick to melody
3rd time through: keyboard / `cello duet
4th time through: big. Everybody in, on any line.
...for every piece.
The locals rehearsed every two weeks. We had a final run-through Friday night on site, and there were spot rehearsals throughout the day on Saturday.
What this meant is (a) there was a lot of support and encouragement for new or weak players, and (b) during the day, we could concentrate on some of the important changes, like tempos for the various parts of Spero, or the repeat structure of Furioso, because we were well-rehearsed enough to be able to afford the time to address those kinds of details.