AD - Levels

C Scot Henry henrycs at
Sat May 1 12:22:24 PDT 1999

Okay, I finally have time to put forth my opinions.

First, I'm not against levels if they are used for the purpose of knowing
who does what and how well (which yes can be done by a database) AND if they
are used to motivate people into further spreading dance (either through
performance or teaching) which I hope is our true MAIN goal (which I don't
think a database would do).  In order to do this, I agree with Guillaume and
Elin - the highest levels will have to be responsible for or involved with
groups other than their local group.  This should be written as a level
responsibility (not part of requirements).  I really think having such a
thing will prevent us from having "peers" who no longer teach and share
their information, which as a relative newcomer, I feel is a problem in the
SCA, at least in this area.   I guess what I'm saying is that we should
promote more than just achieving a level as an end in itself - it should be
a beginning of an even bigger "job" and responsibility.

Second, in the debate of local control Vs. whole group control, I'm always
for local control and particularly in this.  Local control means you get
more personal attention and does leave less room for politics.  Also, like
Helen, I would've remained a wallflower if Namron had already had a dance
group and really have no desire to do dance on competitive levels yet, which
is why I haven't entered contests and disagree with the idea of dancing
before judges (because it does become a competition even if no else is
dancing/teaching that day).  If the requirements for each level are
straight-forward then there should be no need for a majority rule judgment.
And this does not just hinge on honesty, even in school, students take a
class and if the teacher says they pass then every other teacher is going to
assume that that student has at least an average level of knowledge in that
class's subject material.  Yes, teachers are often subjective, but if the
requirements are met even minimally, they are met and everyone can agree on
that without having to see the student do it.  Also, having to be judged
opens up problems with regional differences and personal styles.
As an example, my lord and I who both dance and teach dance looked at the
directions given for Hearts Ease to the squires.  I thought that new people
would find the directions clear and easy to understand (although the part
about second doubles forward starting on alternating feet was inapplicable
to this dance so a little confusing), but my lord thought they would confuse
completely new people to the point of not being able to the dance without
seeing it.  We pretty much have the same style and no regional variations
between us and even we couldn't agree on just this one dance.

On the concept of putting a potential new level candidates name out to the
group is a possibility I can agree with this IF a short time span was given
for responding - say maybe only a month or two weeks.  No sense in dragging
these things out forever.  Again, the idea would be for others to bring up
possible problem areas (which would provide CONSTRUCTIVE feedback to both
the "student" and the student's mentor) for discussion, not to keep that
person from the level.  (Although we all know what happened when Martin
Luther put up questions for debate and how intolerable "circles" can be even
for those not involved).  Again, I do not think this is necessary, but it
would allow local control with input from the whole group - an acceptable

Okay, on another note - what is this whole business about a dance
competition on a single dance for the squires?  I realize we want them to be
well-rounded, but learning a single dance (which it seems they can just
learn that day and promptly forget or at least never dance at a ball), just
doesn't seem acceptable to me and seems to perpetuate the problem of our
fighters not dancing and thus keeping the status of dance at a minimum.  If
I'm wrong on this, someone please tell me here in the relative safety of our
small group or e-mail me personally before I ask the wrong person and get
squished. ;-)

Yours in service,
Lady Capricia d'Aulnay
Hospitaler and Dance Teacher, Barony of Namron, Ansteorra

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