[Anst-dancers] Resurrecting dance in Ansteorra

Keith McClune swashbuckler at caerthe.org
Thu Jun 12 17:44:03 PDT 2003

Hi there:

Guillaume de Gonzac, here (the Outlandish Guillaume).

THL Isabeau wrote:

> Part of our plan, I know, is to get to know our local group.  We are
> going to start going to fighter practices and other things, so we
> ourselves will no longer just be part of the dance community...
>   If we are unable to attract people who are *important*,
> then we shall do our best to become important to the local community
> ourselves.

I like this plan.  I've been trying it myself (with limited success).  One
generic problem I see is the notion that "dance is what 'they' do (while I do
whatever else it is that I do)".  When dancers segregate themselves, it makes it
easy for everyone else to forget it's there.
> I believe there is a magical number of dancers at balls.  If you can
> get 20, 20 more will show up, and then you have 40.  When 40 people are
> dancing, it seems like the thing to do, and even more people will join
> in.

Agreed.  The trick, of course, if getting the first 20.  (With money, the first
$billion is the hardest, after that it gets a lot easier.)
>   No dancing means part of the picture is
> missing.  We have performed dance during feast at a few events I can
> remember, including Namron Protectorate and Candlemas.

Dance is a critical part of good recreation, and its lots of fun (better than
standing around with nothing to do, and hopefully better than going out to a bar
after court).

A question:  did you perform your dances (for an audience), or take part in
dancing (perhaps with few others)?  One group in the Outlands has a Court Dance
group that performs on occasion, but this has always bothered me because it
implies that the performers are separate from the audience.  I want as many as
will to join in.
> Why does everyone hate court dancing?

Not everyone does, but many have been trained to think of it as 1) something
that only the guild members do (just as only a few scribes make most scrolls,
etc.), B) something that is not fun because its not ME or modern ("Court" dances
such as Korabushka and Circle Waltz are OK), or third: something that is too
hard or, lastly, something too unimportant to pay attention to (except to
occasionally patiently and semi-attentively watch a performance at an A & S

I like court dancing.

Personally, I think that the myth that ECD is easier than older dances doesn't
help.  Following this myth, when somebody finds ECD too hard, tiring, boring, or
not fun, they never go beyond it because the other dances are supposed to be
harder and less fun.

Remember:  Court dances are easy and fun!  (OK, 16 c. Italian is less easy, but
that still leaves a lot of others.)
[lost the attribution:]
> >  Nothing happens at an SCA without someone making
> > it happen.

Very true.

One of my thoughts is to just dance.  Don't wait for court, the tournament, the
schedule, or whatever.  When there is a dull stretch, start dancing!  Don't try
to gather anyone and everyone, just start with one couple or set.  If others
come over, then they can join in or start with the next dance.  This still
requires planning (you have to bring music and scope out where you can set it
up), but it has the advantage of putting dance out in front of people without
scary formalities.  After each dance, if there is time to do another, then
invite anyone who has wandered over to join in.  At this point you may need to
teach, but that's OK, right?

If you are blessed with real musicians (as we often are in Caerthe), try to get
them in on the plan.  A pipe and tabor will work fine to get started and doesn't
take long to set up.  You will need to practice your musicians in advance for at
least some of your dances so they don't need to search for sheet music.

>  .. we [got] pushed
> back when the tourney ran late, then feast ran late, then court ran
> late..... Dancing would then start at 11pm.

At least you could start that late.  I've often been thrown out of the hall
immediately after feast & court - even as early as 9 pm (partly because the
autocrats "know" that everyone will leave by then anyway).  That's when I
decided that I should just dance (the hard part is doing it consistently - I
have lots of other distractions).

Keith / Guillaume  S:}>

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