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Re: dance in period or not

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  • skmcclune <smcclune@earthlink.net>
    ... definition? We ... accept ...
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 24, 2003
      --- In outlands@yahoogroups.com, "Morris Schaefer" <mtnsounds@h...>
      > What is period? Are you early or late within the SCA time
      definition? We
      > seem to accept the Cavalier types with their light weapons, why not
      > dances of the same time frame?

      Actually (speaking for myself and what is done at Caerthe's dance
      practice), we do. Our dance repertoire includes Playford's English
      Country Dances from 1651 -- and one or two dances from the third
      edition of the same book, such as Black Nag.

      Though I do feel obliged to point out that light weapons were widely
      in use at least a century prior to the Cavalier period ... <grin>

      As far a s Hole in the Wall; don't the good gentles get up and
      dance when
      > that dance is used?

      I have a theory about that:

      I've observed that people are happier and have more fun when they're
      in their "comfort zone" -- doing familiar things in familiar
      settings. Hole In The Wall is in many peoples' "comfort zone",
      because it's one of the first dances they learned in the SCA, and
      because everybody else knows it, and they've seen other people doing

      It's the first dance they learn because the people who are teaching
      it are also in their "comfort zone" when they teach it -- they know
      it really well, they've taught it before, etc.

      Which, in turn, is because they learned it from people who were in
      their "comfort zone". And so on. I don't know for sure, but my
      theory is that the first people to teach HITW in the SCA did so
      because they were familiar with the dance from some other folk or
      contra dance group, so it was in their "comfort zone".

      Now, there's no inherent reason why HITW is the only dance for which
      this can work. It is, in fact, not really that easy to teach. It
      only seems that way because when it is taught in the SCA, the group
      usually includes a large number of people who have done it before,
      and they all help pull the new people through. I have, however, seen
      a very experienced teacher of historical dance struggle desperately
      in trying to teach HITW to a room full of people where only a handful
      of the dancers had ever done it before. Let's just say it *wasn't*
      pretty. <grin>

      I would submit that if the first dance people had ever learned in the
      SCA was ... oh, I dunno, let's say Petit Riens (a 15th century
      Italian dance) ... they'd enjoy that just as much, and would in fact
      think that a dance where you pretty much stand around in a line was
      awfully boring. :)

      Be that as it may ... I understand that for most folks out there,
      expanding their "comfort zone" is not something they do readily.
      There are people out there who will never want to do any dance except
      HITW. That's fine; I certainly can't force anybody to do any dance
      they don't want to do, and even if I could, I wouldn't. They
      wouldn't have any fun, and neither would I.

      On the other hand, I can and do try to create a new "comfort zone"
      for people by teaching fun dances that just happen to be period. I
      also happen to derive a great deal of enjoyment from doing so. And
      after all, the SCA is supposed to be about having fun, isn't it? If
      I'm having fun, and the people I'm dancing with are having fun, then
      we've all achieved our goal!

      What it comes down to, I guess, is a matter of choices. With the
      wonder of the Internet, downloading music and instructions for dances
      is as easy as a few clicks of a mouse. So it takes no more effort to
      get everything you need to learn and/or teach a period dance than it
      does for a non-period dance. The choice is yours.

      I've chosen to focus on dances that are period or at least "near"
      period; I think they're great fun, and I think other folks can and do
      enjoy them too. Other people are free to make other choices; I only
      ask in return that I not be taken to task for making the choices I
      have made. Fair enough?

      > Its just like
      > the bardic circle with more modern sounding "folk songs" that least
      get the
      > performers started. They do learn period songs and poems as time
      goes by.
      > Maybe its like going off to war the first time in a nylon tent and
      > sleeping bag. Eventually you get a periond looking or truly period
      > pavillion, a nice bed(feather of course), rugs, cook over a fire(is
      > really safe in period?) and make every effort to be "period".

      Yep, I've been there and done that, too. And there's nothing wrong
      with that; learning as we go along is part of the fun of the SCA.
      The joy of discovery is one that can't be duplicated.

      I just want to help make information available so that when people
      are ready to take that next step, they don't have to completely re-
      invent the wheel. That's also one of the joys of the SCA -- people
      helping other people, sharing what they've learned, and learning

      > Please don't stomp on the newly interested gentles because they
      don't have
      > all the details worked out, or those of us that try to encourage
      the newbies
      > to learn and get involved.

      If I have "stomped" on anyone, I apologize. My comments about period
      vs. non-period dances were made simply because someone asked which
      dances were period and which ones weren't. Since I happened to have
      that information available, I provided it. That's all I meant to do,
      really! :)

      > Now you have my opinion, see you on the dance floor o around a
      > somewhere and enjoying every bit.

      I look forward to it!

      Arwen Southernwood
      Barony of Caerthe, Outlands
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