AD - What to count as dance?

Russell russmax at
Thu Apr 8 23:29:39 PDT 1999

Pug Bainter wrote:

Pug Bainter wrote:
> What about English Country Dances?

   English Country Dances are most definitely court dances. They were
danced in the royal courts of England, the Inns of Court (law schools)
of London, and by the gentry of England all over. This was in the 17th
century, and maybe at the end of the 16th century.

> Personally I think European dance is a better term than court.
> At least this is the term "we" use.

   I don't have a strong preference on this. We happen to use the term
"court" to distinguish what we do from belly-dancing. If the term
identifies what we do without ambiguity, then it's fine. European or
court dancing are synonymous to me.

Craig Shupee' wrote:
> Yes, I want to exclude Playford if we want at least 1/2 of the 20
> dances to be "period."  We have a good number of sources and 10 is
> not that many.  I can accept those playford dances one would want to
> claim to be pre-1600 such as Heart's Ease or Stains Morris.  Though I
> have not seen anybody give reliable support for these.

   Now we're getting to the sticky of it. Well over half of my group's
repertoire is English Country Dance, and we actively look for pre-1601
dances. Some groups do almost 100% ECD and OOP dances. I think we're
going to get a lot of resentment if we don't count Playford's 1st
edition as good as period. And SCA creations in a period style should
also be counted as good as period, in my opinion. That's the whole point
of "Creative Anachronism".

   So, the only dances we would end up limiting are Playford after 1st
edition, Scottish Country, and other ethnic dances like Korobushka. In
that case, I'd say that no more than 5 of a teacher's qualifying dance
list should be made of OOP dances, with OOP being defined as post 1651,
or not created in the SCA. Keeping the number steady at five means that
the higher your level, the large the percentage of "in period" dances
you know.

   I think it's a can of worms, too. If 50 years OOP is OK, then why is
100 years OOP so bad? Why is Scottish Country Dancing so bad? Even if it
is modern, some of it feels similar to ECD. I'm having a difficult time
finding a suitable position of compromise. Perhaps declaring Playford's
1st edition to be period "just because", is as good as we can do. Else
we have to shrug our shoulders and treat it all equally, so long as the
teacher *knows* which dances are period.

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