AD - A Caroso-Style Ball
dssweet at okstate.edu
dssweet at okstate.edu
Fri Sep 17 06:34:01 PDT 1999
> Call me stupid, but what is a Caroso-Style Ball?
No, I won't. It's not a stupid question & probably several others on this
list haven't endured my gushing about one. I'm rather enamored by the whole
idea. It's the authentisist coming out in me.
Below find the text that is on the handouts for the event. Most of it was
taken straight from Countess Mara's description of her first Caroso-style
ball (which can be found on the SCA Dance web page). I made a few changes
for the Mooneschadowe specific ball.
If anyone has further questions, I'll be glad to attempt to answer them.
This session is an attempt to recreate the sort of ball implied by the
descriptions in the etiquette sections of Caroso's Nobilta' di Dame, which
is a dance manual published in Italy in 1600. A few adaptations have been
made but the object is to provide as real an experience as possible of
attending an aristocratic dance party in the late 16th century.
It seems they did not expect to have everyone up on the floor dancing at
once. A few dance types (pavanes, allemands, bransles, and some forms of
English Country) were for everyone who wanted to join in. All the others
were for one couple or one set at a time, and people took turns choosing
dances. Most people spent most of the ball sitting around the edge of the
dance floor (ladies on one side, gentlemen on the other), forming a
knowledgeable (and sometimes critical) audience. A good analogy is to
consider this a Bardic Circle for dancers.
HOW IT WORKS
You will notice that the chairs/benches are arranged in two concentric
lines around the dance floor, lords on one side, ladies on the other. By
sitting in the inner seats, you declare your interest in being asked to
dance. If you want to watch only, please sit in the outer seats. Feel free
to move back and forth between locations. (This is an adaptation. Caroso
says that ladies who want to watch, only, should keep their mantles on, and
implies that of course all gentlemen are always willing to dance, though
the eager ones crowd forward to the edge of the dance floor.)
If you're interested in dancing, please study the playlist on the back page
- this is what our musicians are prepared to play. Have a couple of choices
in mind for when it's your turn to choose. You can choose something that's
been done already if you want to. Since this is our first attempt at this
style of ball, if you can't remember the name of a dance, please describe
it to me and I will attempt to identify it for you.
When it is your turn, first approach and invite a partner to dance with
you. Confirm that your chosen partner can perform the dance you wish to do,
then tell the maestra del ballo (that's me, Estrill) what piece you want. I
will tell the musicians, while you, if it is a set dance, will invite the
required number of people (of the same sex as you) to dance with you (they
are responsible for inviting their own partners). Your chosen partner is
the one who will get the next turn. (That's how they did it, so yes, ladies
in period did ask gentlemen to dance.) I will then announce the dance. If
you choose one of the 'as many as will' dances, you need only invite your
own partner, as I will ask the company at large to join in. If some people
have repeatedly been chosen as partners before everyone has had a chance at
choosing a dance, I will be asking them to please defer the dance choice to
someone who has not yet chosen.
Once someone has danced, he or she ought not to be asked again until
everyone of that gender has danced.
Please notice - there is NO TEACHING! And NO WALK-THRUS! As a concession
for the first time, I will provide a swift talk-thru, if the dancers
believe they need it. Otherwise, please be prepared to choose a different
Please try to get into the spirit of participating in a dance by being a
spectator - it's how you'll be spending most of the session!
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