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RE: [OutlandsDance] Introductions

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  • Swashbuckler
    Hi there: I am Guillaume de Gonzac, co-dancemaster in Caerthe. My lady Arwen is my inspiration. I am a French cavalier of the early 17th century and I have a
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 29 3:52 PM
      Hi there:

      I am Guillaume de Gonzac, co-dancemaster in Caerthe. My lady Arwen is
      my inspiration. I am a French cavalier of the early 17th century and I have
      a great many interests including: archery, period dance, fancy dress,
      feasting, fencing, gaming, history, illumination (and calligraphy),
      lampwork, research, science, science fiction, and travel. My time is split
      very unevenly between these, but Thursdays are always reserved for dance
      practice and I'm always willing to do period dancing at events unless I'm
      just to worn out.

      I joined the SCA in A.S. XIII, shortly after the Earth cooled. There
      was dancing in Caerthe at that time, but it faded within months of my
      arrival for reasons I may never know. I was one of the founding members of
      Caer Galen, although I don't know that I made any lasting contributions. I
      began dancing about 21 years ago when I moved to Carolingia (Boston, MA - I
      was actually across the river in Cambridge). There has always been a
      thriving dance community there, and I got pulled in. Pretty girls can have
      that effect on a teenaged boy. I learned a number of grand ol' dances
      there, and can even remember most of them. I remember all of the girls.

      Since then I've bounced back and forth a bit. My lady and I attended
      the new dance practice after I returned to Caer Galen and I taught a couple
      of the dances that I felt most comfortable with. About 16 years ago I moved
      to what eventually became Stonemarche (New Hampshire) in the East Kingdom.
      I was one of the founders of Stonemarche and was awarded the Cornerstone and
      Millstone there (I was seneschal of one of the groups that joined to form
      Stonemarche, became the newsletter co-editor, and lead fencing practice). I
      don't remember doing a lot of dancing, but we did get some in now and again
      (and Carolingia wasn't far away). I returned to Caerthe about ten years ago
      and eagerly joined the efforts to restart a practice. Over time I've
      started teaching dance and I continue to add new dances to my repertoire.

      At last count I could stumble through about 60 dances. Most of these I
      can teach, at least if I have a few minutes to review notes. I have become
      enamoured of the Italian dances, but know less than a dozen so far. Every
      year I add a couple more, though. I know most of the dances from Arbeau and
      most of the Old Measures (eventually I'll get to them all). The rest of my
      repertoire is Playford (almost all 1st edition). Someday I hope to learn
      some of the Gresley dances. These are particularly difficult to decipher
      because of the nature of the manuscript. The two big holes in SCA period
      dance seem to be Spanish and German - anyone know of any period dance
      manuals from Spain or Germany?

      I try to balance the various flavors of dance and could be accused of
      being an authenticity maven. I don't threaten or yell at those who do out
      of period dances (that's the job of the Authenticity Police[tm]), but I do
      try to teach the period ones. Besides, they're more fun anyway. I do
      sometimes whine a little when Hole in the Head\\\\Wall starts, but that's
      because I know it'll be 20 minutes or more before anything else can happen
      (and there might not be any time left for the good dances).

      Keith McClune a.k.a.
      Guillaume de Gonzac
      Protector of the Queen's Heart (retired)
      Premier Blade of Caerthe (retired)
      Silver Tyne
      Venerable Guard
      Sable Lion of Caerthe
      Millstone of Stonemarche
      Cornerstone of Stonemarche
    • Keith McClune (Guillaume de Gonzac)
      Hi there: It has been a while since this list was set up, and there has been some turnover since then, so I think it might be time to re-introduce myself.
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 17, 2001
        Hi there:

        It has been a while since this list was set up, and there has been
        some turnover since then, so I think it might be time to re-introduce
        myself. Besides, the list has been too quiet.

        I am Lord Guillaume de Gonzac. I have been a rapier fighter in the
        SCA since I joined in Caerthe about 23 years ago. I was part of the
        group that formed Caer Galen and I played equally in both groups in
        those days. For a time, I was Caer Galen's Minister of Sciences and,
        later, Caerthe's Chirurgeon. My primary focus, however, was rapier.

        I started dancing in 1980 shortly after I moved to Carolingia
        (Boston, MA), where I also helped get the chirurgeon's office set up and
        joined the Carolingian Company of Bowmen. Sometime after my return to
        Caer Galen, Mistress Richenda started a dance practice with which I
        enthusiastically assisted (approx. 1983). Fencing and archery were
        still my big interests, though, and I was Caer Galen's Herald for a
        while. My lady, Arwen, was somehow drawn into dancing at this time
        (coming down to Caer Galen from Unser Hafen quite a lot - perhaps to see
        me?). Although we practiced many dances, I do not remember that there
        was much dancing at events - a problem that continues to this day.

        I moved back to the East Kingdom in December of 1984, where I
        continued my fencing, danced a little, became seneschal of the shire of
        Belle Rive (south central New Hampshire), and helped create the Barony
        of Stonemarche (New Hampshire). Arwen and I published the baronial
        newsletter for a couple of years and we received much praise and
        recognition for this work.

        We returned to the Outlands about eleven years ago, this time
        actually in Caerthe, where we have remained to this day. I continued my
        fencing, and Arwen cooked, and we continued our practice of visiting far
        flung groups. Soon thereafter, Mistress Kate and a handful of others
        tried to start a monthly dance practice. We helped with this project,
        but it became clear that monthly practices did not provide enough
        reinforcement - people forgot when the meetings were held, and we spent
        too much time refreshing our memories of last practice before we could
        try to learn anything new. The Honorable Lady Wyndylyn took up the
        challenge and started a new dance practice about five years ago, and
        once again Arwen and I were there to help out. With our greater SCA
        dance background, we ended up taking over Caerthen dance practice
        (especially after Wyndylyn's health failed and she had to drop out for a

        Arwen and I run Caerthen dance practice jointly. I have been doing
        the planning for a couple of years and am currently officially in
        charge. Arwen still does a lot of the calling. Caerthen Dance Practice
        is held Thursdays at various locations listed on our web page. We
        currently have a play list of 54 dances, which is also posted in the
        Caerthen Dance Practice web page at:

        We have attended two Known World Dance Symposia and several Pennsic
        Wars - we have posted some dance pictures from this year on the web
        page, too. My other interests and activities include scribal arts, lamp
        working, Renaissance philosophy (Castiglione's Book of the Courtier),
        and eating Arwen's picnics.

        On dance philosophy: Carolingia Status Mentus Est - Carolingia has
        a long history of redacting and spreading 15th century Italian and 16th
        century French dances, and during the time I spent there, I learned a
        lot about SCA dancing. Events in Carolingia and the east often seem to
        be centered on dancing, or at least dance is a featured part of a feast
        or fighting event. As an avid dancer, this seems like an enjoyable
        practice, especially when contrasted with the kinds of events I see more
        often, where we have to struggle to get a few dances done before
        everyone goes home. Oh well, maybe this list can help change

        Given the choice, I'd rather try to be more period (about
        whatever). I am trying to emphasize dances from these period sources:
        Domenico (c. 1450) and his students, Ebreo (c. 1470) and Cornazano (late
        15th c.), Toulouze & Brussels mss (early 16th c. - basse dances), Johnes
        Banys (early 16th c.), Inns of Court mss (1570-1600-1670), Caroso (1580
        and 1600), Arbeau (1588), and Negri (1600). I would like to become more
        familiar with Arena (early 16th c.), and I may utilize de Lauze (1621)
        someday. I teach some of the earliest, most nearly period Playford
        dances, but I also balance these with pre-17th century dances.
        Unfortunately, there are no known extant choreographies from before
        1450, but this list still covers over two centuries in Italy, Burgundy,
        England, and France. I am currently seeking information on German
        sources, but to date, scholars have found no indigenous choreographies
        from period (I have word of a period German description of Italian
        dances, however). Spanish sources are also conspicuously lacking, but
        there is hope that something may turn up from a disused church closet
        or the dark corner of an attic.

        I am not a stickler for perfect technique, but would like to work
        toward better technique as we become more proficient dancers.

        Since we have literally hundreds of period dance choreographies, I
        prefer not to spend time on out-of-period dances in the SCA. There are
        other forums for these, such as folk, contra dance, and Regency groups.
        I even participate in these occasionally. Therefore, in the SCA, I do
        not promote 20th century American dances like Korobuska, Troika, and
        Road to the Isles, or 19th century dances like Circle Waltz, or 18th
        century reels (Female Sailor, Trenchmore, Hole in the Head). I'm
        reserving judgment on the bunny hop :)

        BTW, when I speak of dancing in the SCA, I mean courtly dancing
        from Renaissance Europe. Yes, the Outlands has recently (taking the
        long view) developed a tradition of modern belly dancing, but that's not
        what I think of when I talk about SCA dancing. It just is not what
        Ladies and Gentlemen do (Castiglione would faint dead away). Watching
        lovely scantily-clad girls dance is indeed great fun, and I sometimes
        participate in drumming, but it cannot be documented in period. Yes,
        there was dancing, but there are no period descriptions.

        Whew! That's a lot to get through. Maybe I will follow up later
        with a list of resources and some questions.

        Keith / Guillaume S:}>
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