[Anst-dancers] Resurrecting dance in Ansteorra

Nadine Latief nl33 at cornell.edu
Thu Jun 12 07:42:55 PDT 2003

Good stuff, Guillaume.

My own thoughts:
The Bryn Gwlad Guild has been doing -relatively- okay. We vary between
around 8 dancers or so, which makes it convenient for a 4 couple ECD dance.
Ever since I took over this year, I don't remember ever having less then 4
people. But partly it's because I have very faithful regulars who love

There's been a resurgence of dance interest at Bryn Gwlad events. In our
next Fall Baronial event, the stewards want a dance of 6 young girls at
court, and since the theme has Henry's 6 queens, the queen's are supposed
to do some dancing. There's dancing at Myfanwy's Yule Revel, and a dance
track planned for Charles's Candlemas as well as a Ball. 2 of those 3
events have dancemasters stewarding them, and the other one has people
interested in promoting dance in the barony. This past week alone I've 2
people come up to me saperately about teaching dance before Fighter
Practice. This is quite irregular. :) Thank you KWD!

The dancers in Bryn Gwlad are very much integrated into the rest of the
Barony. My problem is mainly a lack of capable dancers willing to be dance
teachers because they're so busy doing other things (one of my most
talented members is in Morocco for the summer). I think I'm goign to start
poking them to teach more :)

Regional dance practices is good, because I get to do more dances that I
like and they can be inspiring. Look at what KWD has done for our own
Kingdom dance interests. As for the problem of dancers being a sub
mainstream, I can point you to Pennsic, where people feel the same way.
It's society-wide. I'm not sure what the solution is, besides making sure
the people in control are dancers, socializing and politizing more? Or come
to events where they are dance and support it. So we have more then 3
people teaching at King's College, more then 6 people showing up at events
with dance.

Just my 2 continenzas,

At 01:30 AM 6/12/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>I like dance events, so don't misread my meaning. I wouldn't mind
>seeing some sort of regional or "interkingdom" dance event from time to
>time. Perhaps, though, having a kingdom dance event once a year is
>sufficient for this purpose. We just invite folks from other kingdoms.
>My feeling is that dance should be more integrated in the SCA culture.
>I'm not sure I want more "special" dance events. Instead, I want to see
>dance happen at almost all events in Ansteorra. Presently, I feel like
>court dance is a small sub-culture of the SCA of almost no relevance to
>those who are not members of that culture.
>Not everything about being a sub-culture is bad. Who else is going to
>research and dance these Negri and Caroso pieces?
>I think, however, that we must strive to integrate dance back into
>mainstream SCA culture. Yes, we have probably given a killing blow to
>Hole in the Wall, Korobushka, and the like, and period dance is better
>for it. At the same time, we have gravely wounded social dance among
>the SCA populace. A lot of the people I used to count on as regulars no
>longer dance, now that we don't do HitW. Likewise, Korobushka was many
>Ansteorrans' favorite.
>Now, with our new interest in all things Italian, and our obsession
>with "period" dances, I suspect that the few dancers who are left are
>afraid we're about to get rid of English Country Dance too, since it's
>from 1651. Some dance masters in other kingdoms have, in fact, done
>exactly that. It is not my intent to restore HitW and grossly
>non-period dances to their former status. Nor do I want to remove ECD
>from the repertoire (as if we could). I think ECD belongs in the SCA.
>For the past few years, except in the Stargate area, dance in Ansteorra
>is almost dead. There are a few practices, sparsely attended. Most
>places, you don't have enough dancers to do a 4-couple dance at a given
>practice. Dance is almost never scheduled at regular SCA events anymore
>(remember, I said the Stargate area was the exception).
>We have the opportunity to resurrect dance from the ashes. We need to
>hold regular practices that are attractive to those who don't currently
>dance. We need to teach dances that have many of the elements that make
>HitW and Korobushka so much fun. This means rowdy dances with lots of
>spinning. Graceful dances (but not too hard) with lots of flirting and
>Is it possible that Ballo del Fiore could be all that HitW is? It's not
>hard (not really). It has a short, often repeated pattern, so even if
>you're a little shaky at first, you have it down by the end of the
>dance. It's a great mixer. It's graceful, with lots of flirting and
>interaction. On the downside, it's a little disorganized, and doesn't
>make a pretty pattern. Perhaps that could be fixed.
>As for rowdy dances with lots of spinning, there are plenty of ECDs and
>15th c. Italian. That's not even hard. I have a better time doing Petit
>Vriens or Epping Forest than Korobushka. One of my best dance memories
>is doing Epping Forest out on the grass at 20th year.
>I think I have a way to structure dance practices so that they are more
>appealing to regular SCA folk, while still offering dance mavens the
>opportunity to work on the harder stuff. Simply, schedule the 1st hour
>of practice for working on advanced performance pieces and new
>reconstructions, say from 7pm to 8pm.
>Tell everyone else that practice starts at 8pm. Teach the easier stuff
>from 8 to 9pm. Don't be afraid to spend plenty of time on each dance.
>It's good to repeat dances from week to week, too. Spend a month
>learning a few dances. People don't really have fun doing a dance until
>they are confident that they know it well.
>Then, from 9 to 10pm is social dancing. Repeat the dances just taught,
>or from previous practices, take requests, let people visit a little.
>Have fun.
>Some are already using this structure. I've used it successfully in the
>past. There are no guarantees, though. It has also failed me in the
>I'd like others to add their thoughts to this discussion. There is
>certainly a lot more that can be said on the topic. Master Ihon had
>some good ideas about how to make dance more prominent in the kingdom.
>There is also the whole topic of how to get dance to happen at events.
>Is dance at events a key to having a well-attended weekly practice, or
>does the well-attended practice come first? Chicken-and-egg.
>In service,
>Guillaume de Troyes
>On Wednesday, June 11, 2003, at 02:28  PM, Scot and Michelle Henry
>> Everyone feel free to post any requests or ideas for what you would
>> like to
>> see happen throughout the kingdom in regards to dance on this site.
>> I hope to talk more with other dancers at Lilies who had suggested
>> having
>> more regional dance practices between those groups who are not
>> fortunate
>> enough to be Cynnabar or Carolingia.  ;-)
>> In service,
>> Melissent d'Aulnay (Capricia), who thought it would be wise to got ot
>> Mesquite during the AGED meeting.
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>Ansteorra-dancers at ansteorra.org

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