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RE: Top dances for the Outlands

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  • Swashbuckler
    Hi there: About three weeks ago, I asked what 12 dances do you think every dancer in the Outlands should know and why? The question was posted on the
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 21, 2000
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      Hi there:

      About three weeks ago, I asked "what 12 dances do you think every
      dancer in the Outlands should know and why?" The question was posted on the
      sca-dance list last year and I was curious what the results would be here in
      the Outlands.

      Also, while preparing for Caerthen Twelfth Night, The Honorable Lady
      Caelainn (leader of our fine musicians) asked me to list the top 20 dances
      in the Outlands. She wanted to prepare sheet music to take with her to
      every event so she would always have our most requested pieces. Not quite
      the same question, but similar. As it happens, Caelainn ended up with more
      than 20 and is willing to add more if needed.

      So what dances should everyone know? No definitive answer is possible.

      This is an exercise to evaluate and share where we are, where we want to
      go, and how we view dance in the SCA. I know my list has changed just in
      the last year, and I expect it will in the future.

      I counted eleven people who responded on the sca-dance list. Between
      them, they named 65 dances. One did responded with only eight: galliard,
      the sink-a-pace, the gagliarda, the cinque-pas, the tourdion, the gagliard,
      tordglione, and tordion with the comment "If you can do these, you can fake
      your way through anything :-)". Yes, these are all essentially the same and
      I counted them as one dance. Most, however, responded with a variety of
      dances. They reasoned that everyone "should" know a basic dance in each of
      the styles appropriate to the SCA's period. Then it would be easier to
      learn any new dances that are encountered. It was noted that "should" does
      not mean "does". This is more like an ideal to be sought even if never
      fully achieved.

      17 of the dances named were Italian, 16 English Country from Playford,
      13 French from Arbeau (although two were suites of four, which totals 18
      French [one duplicate] - not counting the pavan or basse dance), 6 were
      Basse Dances, 5 Old Measures, and 3 Pavans (plus 5 others, if you're
      counting, including a wish for a Gresley dance). 29 dances were mentioned
      more than once. I tallied the "votes", allowing one vote for each dance in
      each list, but counting only half a vote for each dance that shared a spot
      (i.e. "Grimstock (or Black Nag)" each got 1/2). So, from the sca-dance
      list, "what 12 dances should every SCA gentle know?":

      Petit Vriens (8 votes)
      Rostibolli Gioioso (6.5)
      Galliards & La Volta, Tourdion (6.5)
      Gathering Peascods (5 plus two 1/2's)
      Ballo del Fiore (6)
      Black Alman (6)
      Branles Official (5.5)
      Black Nag (3 plus two 1/2's)
      Rufty Tufty (4)
      Horses Bransle (4)
      Gelosia (3.5)
      Sellingers Round (3.5)

      That's three 15th c. Italians, Galliards (everyone did them), four
      English Country dances, one 16th c. Italian, one Old Measure, and two
      Bransles. Except for Basse Dances and/or Pavans (no single favorite tops
      the list), a pretty decent sampling of period dance styles. Note that the
      top seven dances were all mentioned by at least half of the respondents.

      I've done eleven of these and we've taught ten of them at Caerthen
      practice. Not bad. I've also done nine (and we've taught eighth) of the
      next twelve (plus Charlotte from "A bransle suite (cassandra, pinagay,
      charlotte, and aridan...)"). Of course these are well known, and I've been
      around some, so I "should" have seen them before. In fact, as I go down the
      list, I've never even heard of some of the less mentioned dances. That's
      regional variation for you.

      Few out of period dances were mentioned. "Hole in the Head...er..umm..
      Wall" got one vote plus a "just seeing if you're paying attention" that was
      changed to Earl of Salisbury Pavan (a modern ornamentation of Quadran
      Pavan). That doesn't mean that nobody in the Known World does out of period
      dances, just that the respondents to this question wish everyone also knew
      these period dances.

      We are, of course, under no obligation to follow anyone's lists, but I
      think its good to see what people in other kingdoms consider important. We
      can keep this in mind when practicing dances for inter kingdom events like
      Estrella, Gulf Wars, or Pennsic.

      Moving on to the Outlands-dance list, we only had four responses to my
      question (including my own). Proportionally, I think that's better than the
      SCA-dance list. But we came up with 30 dances plus two non-beginners
      favorites (Whirligig and Verceppe - I agree that they are great dances, once
      you know them). Our top dances:

      Black Nag (4 votes)
      "Belle Qui" (Carolingian) pavan (4)
      Gathering Peascods (3)
      Horses Bransle (2.5)
      Petit Riens (2)
      Gelosia (2)
      Galliards/Cinq Pas (2)
      Black Alman (2)
      Heart's Ease (2)
      Maltese Bransle (2)
      Hole in the Wall (2)
      Sellinger's Round (2)

      plus:
      Casulle la Nouelle (1.5)
      Pease Bransle (1.5)

      With only four data points, I am not comfortable giving much authority
      to this list. Only Caerthe and Dragonsspine are represented, and I know
      there are important dance leaders (not to mention active dancers) in Caer
      Galen and Unser Hafen. Al-Barran also has a fledgling but enthusiastic
      dance group. Unfortunately, I am not sure if these groups are represented
      on the outlands-dance list.

      Hopefully, this will give everyone something to think about. Maybe we
      can try the exercise again sometime.

      Keith / Guillaume
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