AD - Magisters a plenty?

Russell Kinder russmax at
Mon Apr 5 16:47:55 PDT 1999

Pug Bainter wrote:
> Maybe we are assuming too much in the guild charter. It is all too easy
> to follow the letter of the charter instead of the spirit. I would
> prefer a charter that is written to accurately reflect the spirit as
> well.
> Clearly state that the manual has to include regional variations.
> Clearly state that local journeymen/masters communicate up the line
> their local variations.
> Clearly state what is wanted and never assume.

   I don't think the charter assumes too much. People will try to follow
the letter of the charter, instead of the spirit, and no amount of
over-writing can change that. In fact, over-specifying all of this stuff
encourages that sort of behavior. Keeping it minimalist emphasizes that
people should adhere to the spirit of the charter. Even someone who
"uses" the guild this way is going to know a little bit about dance, if
they're not lieing. 

   Further, over-specifying the charter limits its usefulness. Future
dance masters and proctors may want something different from the guild.
I think the charter should be flexible enough to adjust to different
needs. Maybe the next proctor and future guild members will want the
kingdom to standardize on one version of each dance, and ignore regional
variations. I don't think we should tie their hands.

   The charter directs the guild to assist local groups in forming dance
guilds, having dance at events, keeping a roster of dance teachers, and
publishing a kingdom-wide dance manual and tapes. It leaves us free to
figure out how to do those things. It tells us to rank our dance
teachers, so that we may know how much they know, and encourage them to
learn and teach more. It tells them that they need to know not just the
steps, but the background of each dance. It tells them that they need to
look good and behave appropriately while dancing.

   We have agreed on changes that further specify that the two highest
tiers of dance teachers should also be in charge of dance at events
and/or practices, not just teach individual dances. They also need to
participate in and eventually direct performances. The very highest tier
must also do research and reconstructions from original sources.

   I think the requirements for teachers are well-defined and sufficient
to insure good teachers.
> Clearly state that balls/practices have to be at Kingdom calendar
> events. This means that they are spreading their knowledge to a
> wider group of people and not just the few people who show up at the
> local dance guild.

   Ahh, but the charter specifies that they don't have to be at Kingdom
calendar events. Please bear in mind that many local groups don't
currently have a dance teacher. We want fledgling dance teachers to get
dancing started in the local groups. If they get a teacher, that person
should be rewarded for holding local dance practices. The importance of
the local guild practices shouldn't be under-estimated.

   I think I have found the flaw in the charter that may be the root of
Pug's misgivings. The charter lists the group's purpose and goals, but
it doesn't assign anyone to make sure the purpose is pursued and the
goals are met.

I'll requote the purpose of the guild here:
Purpose:    The purpose of the Guild shall be to promote the learning 
and teaching of Medieval, Renaissance, and SCA dances throughout
the Kingdom of Ansteorra.

Goals: The goals for the Guild at the time of chartering shall be 
1.      To facilitate communication between existing local dance guilds, 
        and to assist any local group in founding a dance guild for
2.      To assist any local group which wants to have dance classes, 
        either at meetings or events.
3.      To maintain a roster of dance teachers throughout the Kingdom.
4.      To produce and keep current a Kingdom-wide dance manual and 
        dance tape.
5.      To encourage widespread teaching and research of Medieval, 
        Renaissance, and SCA dances.

   All levels of membership should have this line added as one of the requirements:
* Pursue the purpose of the Guild and help the Proctor to meet its goals.

   I was going to recommend adding a line to the Proctor's duties, but
it's all in there already, specifying that it is the Proctor's duty to
make sure the Guild meets its purpose and goals.

   Pug's comments have made me go back and look at the charter from
another perspective. "Do its rules help it to meet its stated purpose
and goals?" I believe they do.

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