AD - everything at once (mostly PURPOSE)

Russell Kinder russmax at
Fri May 7 13:37:19 PDT 1999

This is very long, but I make several points that probably shouldn't
go unchallenged. It's cut into sections. Take a few days to read it
and weigh my arguments.

[Kaitlyn's original post is quoted in its entirety at the end]

Mistress Kaitlyn, and all on this list,

[start of reply, part 1]
    You seem to want us to undo even the things that were decided at
Crown. So, what are we supposed to do, then?

   I appreciate that you have other time commitments. I apologize if
we're moving too fast. For about a week there was no discussion;
however, being stalled is not the same as moving slowly. I certainly
respect your opinion, but to come in and tell us we're doing it all
wrong, without providing an alternate solution, is counter-productive.
Especially since you were at the Crown Tourney meeting where much of
this was discussed. Most of what I'm reporting as consensus came directly
from the minutes you took at Crown and reported here. Even if you don't
have time to comment online, you can at least read what's being
discussed, and bring your points to Steppes Warlord, when we meet in
person. I may not appreciate it if you de-rail us there, but if that's
what you have to do, then do it. 

   Thanks for the point of order about the Crown's signature, and our
ability to change the Charter afterwards. Perhaps much of what we're
talking about could be in bylaws that we could change at a later date,
if they don't work as well as we'd like them to.

   Sure, most of this could work as a household guild, but we want to do
this for Ansteorra, with the Crown's blessing. We want the name of
Ansteorra central to our Guild, and to be identified as a part of the
A&S structure of this Kingdom. As for your complaint about the Proctor
being too powerful and political, I'm stumped for a solution to that
one. Somebody's got to be responsible for seeing that stuff gets done.
If you have an alternative to having a Proctor, please tell us what you
have in mind.
[end of reply, part 1]

[start of reply, part 2, the meaty section]
   My biggest problem with your post is that you point out problems only
vaguely (by your own admission), and don't suggest alternative
I find it difficult to find those solutions myself, because I'm not sure
what you perceive the problems to be. Though your post is vague, I will
try to glean some solution out of it. I'll quote you:

> Most proposals start with a purpose (we have that mostly). Then they
> have specific goals to fulfil the purposes (we don't have that unless
> you count the bullet points).  These goals should each be 1.neccessary
> to the purpose, 2.measurable, and 3. achievable.  Then we do implemen-
> tation. Many of our "goals" do not qualify.

   In the original draft of the Charter, the "bullet points" were
actually named as goals, so we have to say that those points are the
goals of the Guild. Let's examine each point to see how it succeeds or
fails by your criteria: 1) necessary, 2) measurable, and 3) achievable.

   Here's the PURPOSE:
The primary purpose of the Guild is to promote the learning, teaching,
and performance of Medieval, Renaissance, and SCA (original and commonly
performed) dances. The purpose of the guild shall be achieved by: 

* facilitating communication between existing dance guilds;
   1) Is this necessary to the purpose? Yes, better communication
between local guilds would definitely promote dance in Ansteorra. United
we stand, etc. 2) Is this measurable? Yes. We can easily look at
Ansteorra before and after the Guild, and see if there is better
communication between local guilds. 3) Is this achievable? Yes. Already,
lines of communication between dancers in various parts of the Kingdom
have opened up, just because we are talking about forming a Guild. We
now have our own mail list, and we meet at events to discuss the Guild.
In the future, we will possibly add the people not online with a
newsletter. And after the Guild is formed, when we talk on this list, or
at meetings, it will be to plan dance activities, not discuss the Charter.

* assisting any local group in forming a dance guild;
   1) Is this necessary to the purpose? Of course. Local dance guilds
are essential in teaching Ansteorrans to dance and in forming
performance troupes. 2) Is this measurable? Yes. Each new local guild
can be counted. 3) Is this achievable? Yes. We seek out those who are
interested in dance in the local groups, and encourage them to start
meeting for practices. We let them see that there is a support network
they can call on if they need help. We help them through the
difficulties in forming a guild. We reward them for excelling at
teaching and performance.

* maintaining a roster of dance teachers throughout the Kingdom;
   1) Is this necessary to the purpose? Yes. When local groups need a
teacher to get them started or to teach them a new style of dance, we
have a list.  2) Is this measurable? Yes. 3) Is this achievable? Yes.
Whether we simply maintain a list of who teaches, and what they can
teach, or do a hierarchic level system, maintaining a list of dance
teachers is fairly simple.

* producing and updating a Kingdom dance manual;
   1) Is this necessary to the purpose? Yes. Local teachers will have a
resource to help them teach the dances done in our Kingdom. Otherwise,
they have to piece it together from various sources in print and on the
internet, and they still won't know Ansteorra's regional variations on
these dances. And they won't really know which dances are actually done
in this Kingdom. 2) Is this measurable? Yes. 3) Is this achievable? Yes.
I already have a good start on such a manual, as does Estril. Philip has
done some work along these lines, too. I'm sure Perronnelle and others
down south or on the coast have done similar work, as well. Through the
Guild, these efforts can be pooled together.

* providing and updating a discography; 
   1) Is this necessary to the purpose? Yes. Local teachers need
recordings to teach and research dance. 2) Is this measurable? Yes. 3)
Is this achievable? Yes. Many of us already have our own personal
discographies. If we pool them together, it should be quite comprehensive.

* producing dance tapes and/or compact discs;
   1) Is this necessary? Yes. New teachers have a large list of
recordings they need to buy. If Ansteorra's more common dances were
collected in one recording, it would help new teachers get started for
minimal expense. Also, it would promote relations between musicians and
dancers. 2) Is this measurable? Yes. 3) Is this achievable? Yes.
Difficult, but achievable. There are several groups of musicians around
the Kingdom. If each group recorded a few dances, the collection would
be of useful size. Also, it would start small, but in a few years, it
could be fairly comprehensive.

* encouraging research in Medieval, Renaissance and SCA dances;
   1) Necessary? Yes. To be taken seriously by the A&S community, we
have to know our art as well as the costumers, textilers, brewers,
armorers, musicians, and others know theirs. Our dancers deserve the
quality of dance that research brings. 2) Measurable? Yes. Research can
be quantified by entries in A&S competitions, by the showing of new
dances, or by simply asking dance masters what research they've done. 3)
Achievable? Yes.

* recognizing excellence in dance teaching
   1) Necessary? Yes. The purpose states we are to encourage teaching.
Those who teach well should be recognized and encouraged by their fellow
dancers and teachers. 
   2) Measurable? In my opinion, the answer is "not directly
measurable". Quality is too open to subjective judgement, so one
person's quality is another's dross. Any attempts to judge the quality
of a teacher's ability will cause strife and potentially discourage the
dance teacher. That would be counter to the Guild's purpose. We have to
assume that the teacher is doing the best they can. If someone has
suggestions or corrections for a teacher, they have to give those
corrections in such a way that the teacher's existing abilities and
achievements aren't discounted. 
     A counter argument is that quality is judged in A&S competitions
all the time. But such is the nature of that game. There, quality is the
ultimate goal, and encouraging participants takes a back seat to ranking
the entries. Conversely, our main goal is to encourage dancing.
Discourage one teacher, and dozens may never learn to dance. Sure, we
want quality, but foremost, we want more people to dance and teach. 
     I do think that quality of teaching can be measured indirectly. The
level system can be used to address the quality issue with quantifiable
standards. Number of dances taught, number of balls and practices run,
number of dance competitions and displays performed, number of dances
reconstructed or choreographed. At lower levels, the quality may be
less, but with experience and research, quality improves. It is perilous
to try to directly measure and judge quality of teaching, but we can
measure those things that we think contribute to quality.
  3) Achievable? Yes, if you believe that the level structure would
work. But even without levels, some other system could surely be found
that works. All you have to do is find a way of saying, "Well done, keep
it up."

* recognizing excellence in dance performance.
   1) Necessary? Yes. The Purpose states that we are promoting
excellence in dancing. Those who dance well should be recognized and
encouraged by their fellow dancers. It would promote dance in Ansteorra
for people to see how well the art can be done. 2) Measurable? Maybe. We
haven't delved into this yet. Excellence in performance is not as
amenable to quantifiable measures as teaching, it seems to me. To truly
do a dance well takes lots of practice and some talent. Perhaps those
who want Guild recognition for their performance abilities will have to
submit to being directly judged by others in a subjective way. That's
probably OK. Performance is all about being judged, whereas teaching is
not. 3) Achievable? Yes. It wouldn't have to be levels, but it could be.
Perhaps, we just give ribbons, certificates, or largess for individual
performances. Perhaps we have levels to more permanently recognize good
dancers. I don't know. We haven't talked about this much yet. We haven't
even decided if performers and dancers will be in a different level structure.

   I think I've shown that all of the stated goals support the purpose
statement by your own criteria.
[end of reply, part 2]

[beginning of reply, part 3]
   You criticize that we are going for quantity over quality, but I
disagree. We initially discussed limiting dances to pre-1601, then added
in Playford's 1st edition as OK. Then we realized that we would not be
promoting dance, but dance snobbishness, if we told people that their
favorite dances, like HitW and Korobushka, weren't good enough for us.
We decided that quality is satisfied if the teacher at least knows when
a dance isn't period, and where it actually comes from.

   Then we discussed having dance teachers be judged by a panel of Guild
members, rather than just mailing the Proctor a letter listing the
requirements they've met--endorsed by a higher-ranking Guild teacher.
This listing of the number of dances and stuff done, rather than being
judged by a panel of guild members may be what is bothering you. If so,
why didn't you say so? For that matter, that issue is still under
debate, and no consensus is being claimed. If you are criticizing me for
ram-rodding that issue, I don't consider that a valid complaint, since
we've tabled that discussion for now. That was the issue we stalled out
on, as I recall, so I thought we should leave it for now and come back
to it later. I don't expect to get to that for another week or so.

   I did argue a bit for the level system under the bullet point for
recognizing excellence in teaching, above, but that was just that: an
argument. You are free to disagree with me. The counter argument still
recognizes that teaching excellence is measurable, it just disagrees on
how to measure it.
[end of reply, part 3]

[beginning of reply, part 4]
   I'm sorry if you think I'm dictating what the Charter should be. Why
do you think I'm asking if anyone objects? I really mean it when I ask
that. Really I'm just trying to get a handle on what we have consensus
on, and what we do not. My style of organizing such a discussion is to
start with a proposed solution, and amend it as necessary to make
everyone happy. If we start with nothing, we go nowhere. We have to have
trial solutions, that we are then able to reject or amend as necessary.
Do bear in mind that if you reject the trial solution out of hand, that
an alternate solution is appreciated.

> I am glad that there is such enthusiam to support dance, but we need to make
> sure that we create what we mean to create for the long run..not just for
> ourselves today.

   I find nothing to disagree with in that statement; I'm just not sure
where you're going with it.
[end of reply, part 4]

Whew, I'm tired now,

Kaitlyn McKenna wrote:
> Greetings All,
> Well...just so I can get something in before the deadline of the weekend(of
> which I will be gone out of the country for all of and some of next week), I
> do have a lot of suggestions and objections to many of the proposed
> changes/creations.  I know this is vague, but several of us work on a
> different time scale than the rest of you apparently.  This is all moving
> way too fast.  Most proposals start with a purpose(we have that mostly).
> Then they have specific goals to fulfil the purposes(we don't have that
> unless you count the bullet points).  These goals should each be
> 1.neccessary to the purpose, 2.measurable, and 3. achievable.  Then we do
> implementation.  Many of our "goals" do not qualify.  We have gone straight
> to implementation...but what are we really implementing.  Which of the
> "goals" does the "level system" satify?  We seem to be creating a charter(
> the governing rules of our guild) with everything based on the proctor(talk
> about adding political overtones) and quantity over quality.  I am all for
> levels and the rest if it is merited to fulfil a specific goal.  A guild to
> provide warm fuzzies with a nod to quality just doesn't do it for me.  With
> time and organized deliberation, I think this guild could be a very strong
> force for dance.  As it is currently going, any household could implement
> the same thing.
> By the way, without the Crown signature, this is just a household guild.  To
> be a Kingdom guild, we need the signature of the crown, and as such only the
> Crown can change the Charter.  Whereas, bylaws done after the charter can be
> changed by membership.  With a little more time, things like this can be
> solved.
> Sorry I have been quiet for sooo long on all of this, but real life has been
> happening on a grand scale.  I have also been reticent to jump into what
> seems to be already decided and being dictated(if no one objects).  If I say
> change this and this and it is done (if no one objects) we will never get
> anything done.
> I am glad that there is such enthusiam to support dance, but we need to make
> sure that we create what we mean to create for the long run..not just for
> ourselves today.
> kaitlyn
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