AD - Re: Please help us decide what to teach at KDMW

Russell Kinder russmax at
Mon Apr 9 00:27:48 PDT 2001

on 4/9/2001 12:25 AM, Charlene Charette at charlene at wrote:

> You've apparently misread what I posted.  I agree that local styling
> would influence a dance.  Whether or not this particular dance (Il
> Canario) is Spanish does not matter.  My question was about Spanish
> "traditional" styling.  Is there any evidence that this goes to the 16th
> century?  Most "traditional" dances, costumes, songs, etc. go back to
> the Victorian-era when the world discovered tourism and local people
> wanted something to show the nice, money-laden visitors.
> --Perronnelle

   That's a good point. I keep meaning to research period stylings further,
but that's going to be a big project, demanding better resources than are
available to me in Stillwater.

   Arbeau, Caroso, and Negri, have a lot of advice on the topic, but Caroso
and Negri certainly assume the reader already has some knowledge of dance.
In other words, they tell you some stuff, but assume that you know more.

   Il Canario has vexed me though. Negri says it's Spanish. What makes it
Spanish? Stamping? Or is it something more? I think that stylistically, the
dancer should be doing something that says "This is Spanish, and different
from the regular cascardi and balleti that we usually do."

   My feeling on the matter, is that making the dance look prettier, without
changing the accuracy of the reconstruction, cannot be a harmful thing. Each
person carries into a dance their own personal style. That style is based on
that individual's previous experience and influences. Modern stylings have
certainly found their way into SCA dance. Even if GOOP dances are removed,
we still do some awfully modern stuff in our dances. "California turns" come
to mind. There are other things, many of which we aren't even aware of, I'll
bet, because we're modern, too. When I see the academics perform their dance
reconstructions, their extensive training in ballet and other modern dance
forms is easily apparent. They look pretty and graceful, but it makes me
wonder the same thing: "Is ballet styling appropriate to a Renaissance dance
form." Then I think that since modern ballet is rooted in 16th c. Italian
steps, then ballet styling is probably as good as any other. Just stay off
the toe points. Caroso and Negri are fairly specific about that, and dancing
on the points is a late baroque thing. I digress.

   Thus, I think that since we can't avoid putting our modern sense of style
into our dance performances, then we should try to make our modern style be
rooted in the correct cultural traditions.

Or something like that.


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