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  • 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 1 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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