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Re: [CalontirDance] Re: "Baddies"

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  • Catherine Dean
    OOps, sorry, didn t mean to hit send so quickly. Here is the full response: A voice from Calontir past rears her ugly (cute?) head. (For those of you who
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 22 12:01 PM
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      OOps, sorry, didn't mean to hit "send" so quickly.

      Here is the full response:

      A voice from Calontir past rears her ugly (cute?) head.

      (For those of you who don't know me, I got my start dancing in Calontir
      about 10 years ago, and have since moved on to Atlantia. I am closely
      connected with the Cynnabar group in the Midrealm, who put on Terpsichore at
      the Tower, the event mentioned earlier. I've also edited the Letter of
      Dance for the past 6 years, although I'm about to pass the torch on to a new
      editor. I'm mostly inactive in the SCA now, but am closely involved with
      the historical dance field in general and can still be found teaching at
      Terps and at Pennsic on a more-or-less yearly basis.)

      Quoth Merry: "Okay, so these are on the list. Why? I ask because, for my
      example of
      Hole in the Wall, I didn't realize that it was mainly the dance that was
      out of period and that the music (Playford, The Dancing Master 1651-1728
      yr 1695/1697) was less the issue, though still an issue none the less.
      I thought it was the music that was the big issue but only learned now
      years later at supper after Bellewode that it was the choreography that
      was the main offender. I'd like to be able to discuss legitimate
      reasons when someone asks me why we do or don't do a particular dance
      any more. "

      Actually, it's really both. Feel free to contact me off list and I'd be
      happy to go into more detail on Hole in the Wall or any other dance you're
      curious about.

      Since you asked, Postie's Jig is a modern Irish Country-type
      dance choreographed by Roy Clowes around 1970. In general, even the
      historical Irish Country Dances (Moneymusk, etc.) are really too late to be
      considered pre-1700 in style. The form in general seems to have taken shape
      in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and is stylistically very very
      similar to English Regency-era country dances.

      Troika is a a Russian folk dance, but with no real stylistic ties pre-19th
      century. I believe the version done in the SCA was adopted from the
      International Folk Dance circuit in the 1970s, and may have been modified
      since then by us.

      In general, the dances which generally cause the most controvercy are those
      that are either a) historical, but not to the SCA period (defined here as
      pre-1600), like Troika or b) modern with little to no resemblence to period
      dances, like Postie's. Rarely have I heard it argued that we should do
      dances like Road to the Isles, Postie's Jig, Hole in the Wall, Troika,
      Korobushka, etc. because they are a reasonable attempt at pre-17th century
      dance. Anyone who uses that type of argument could be quickly dispelled by
      cold hard facts (they do not, in fact, bear much resemblance at all to known
      types of pre-17th century dance).

      Rather, the arguments are more emotional, based on what is fun and what is
      tradition and, at the heart of it all, what the SCA is all about.
      Ultimately the two sides of this debate are arguing right straight past each
      other ("but it's fun, and we're here to have fun" or "we're an organization
      with our own history, and this is traditional for us" vs. "but it's not
      period, and we're here to reconstruct a specific period in the past"). In
      that kind of situation *not* to have miscommunication and hurt feelings
      would be amazing.

      To get to Tsire's question about how to answer questions about the decision
      to not teach post-period dances or modern choreographies in an SCA-setting,
      it's definitely a challenge. Atlantia is, in many ways, similar to
      Calontir. We have our "all period dance, all the time" contingent and then
      another group of folks who believe that all dancing has its place in the
      SCA. We've had nasty politics, hurt feelings, pointless discussions
      aplenty!

      I have solved that situation for myself by carefully controlling when and
      how I teach dance. I have actively purged my folders of cds of dances that
      I don't care to teach (and I should say that my no-teach list is highly
      personal and non-necessarily limited to out of period things); when I teach
      a class, I always set the agenda and choose which dances to teach myself; I
      never run pickup dance (rather, if I'm asked to run dance, I specifically
      schedule the dances to be taught); when I run a ball I very carefully craft
      it to be fun, well balanced, and filled with crowd pleasing dances that I
      feel comfortable teaching; if there is time at the end for requests, I take
      them all, but I'm not necessarily egalitarian in choosing which ones to
      present to the musicians (what is the point of recreating the Renaissance,
      if we don't get to behave a bit autocratic sometimes). In general I try to
      focus on what I *will* teach rather than what I *won't*, keeping the
      discussion positive and focused. No teacher teaches every dance--we all
      have our own subset that we know and are comfortable enough with to teach,
      or like enough to include in a ball list or class set.

      When I'm in a situation where a dance is being danced that I don't care to
      participate in, I generally try to sit it out quietly. That is the choice
      of the organizer of that event, and I would expect him/her to respect me if
      I were in his/her place, too. I've often found that leading by example
      works wonders. Eventually if the charismatic, talented dancers are seen to
      always sit out a particular dance, it has an effect.

      Ultimately, if pressed (and this has happened--ironically from musicians
      rather than dancers) about why I'm not including certain dances in an
      evening event, I say that it was my choice to determine what was to be
      danced (having been asked by the organizers of the event to do so) and that
      that was just how it was going to be that day. I'm always happy to discuss
      the reasons behind my choices, but prefer to do that privately rather than
      in public, on the dance floor.

      Katherine
      On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 2:24 PM, Catherine Dean <catherinedean@...>
      wrote:

      > A voice from Calontir past rears her ugly (cute?) head.
      >
      > (For those of you who don't know me, I got my start dancing in Calontir
      > about 10 years ago, and have since moved on to Atlantia and am closely
      > connected with the Cynnabar group in the Midrealm, who put on Terpsichore at
      > the Tower, the event mentioned earlier. I've also edited the Letter of
      > Dance for the past 6 years, although I'm about to pass the torch on to a new
      > editor. I'm mostly inactive in the SCA now, but am closely involved with
      > the historical dance field in general and can still be found teaching at
      > Terps and at Pennsic on a more-or-less yearly basis.)
      >
      > Quoth Merry: "Okay, so these are on the list. Why? I ask because, for my
      > example of
      > Hole in the Wall, I didn't realize that it was mainly the dance that was
      > out of period and that the music (Playford, The Dancing Master 1651-1728
      > yr 1695/1697) was less the issue, though still an issue none the less.
      > I thought it was the music that was the big issue but only learned now
      > years later at supper after Bellewode that it was the choreography that
      > was the main offender. I'd like to be able to discuss legitimate
      > reasons when someone asks me why we do or don't do a particular dance
      > any more. "
      >
      > Actually, it's really both. Feel free to contact me off list and I'd be
      > happy to go into more detail.
      >
      > In general, though, the dances which generally cause the most controvercy
      > are those that are either a) historical, but not to the SCA period (defined
      > here as pre-1600) or b) modern with little to no resemblence to period
      > dances. Rarely have I heard it argued that we should do dances like Road to
      > the Isles, Postie's Jig, Hole in the Wall, Troika, Korobushka, etc. because
      > they are a reasonable attempt at pre-17th century dance. Anyone who uses
      > that type of argument could be quickly dispelled by cold hard facts (the do
      > not, in fact, bear much resemblance at all to known types of pre-17th
      > century dance).
      >
      > Rather, the arguments are more emotional, based on what is fun and what is
      > tradition and, at the heart of it all, what the SCA is all about.
      > Ultimately the two sides of this debate are arguing right straight past each
      > other ("but it's fun, and we're here to have fun" or "we're an organization
      > with our own history, and this is traditional for us" vs. "but it's not
      > period, and we're here to reconstruct a specific period in the past")
      >
      >
      > --
      > Catherine E. Dean
      > Historically Inspired Designs
      > Handmade Jewelry and Accessories for History Lovers
      > http://www.historicallyinspired.com
      >



      --
      Catherine E. Dean
      Historically Inspired Designs
      Handmade Jewelry and Accessories for History Lovers
      http://www.historicallyinspired.com


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