[Anst-dancers] Resurrecting dance in Ansteorra

Alicia Whitecotton hemophelia at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 12 19:17:39 PDT 2003

I'm planning on driving down. . .


>From: "Scot and Michelle Henry" <cshenry at ev1.net>
>Reply-To: ansteorra-dancers at ansteorra.org
>To: <ansteorra-dancers at ansteorra.org>
>Subject: RE: [Anst-dancers] Resurrecting dance in Ansteorra
>Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 15:35:41 -0500
>So, just to stir the pot.
>HOw many dancers are planning on attending Midsummer's Masque in
>I now it's been highly disappointing in the past, but it would be a good
>place to continue making the effort to dance at events.
>I have chosen to go to Lilies so will be unable to attend, but I will
>encoureage my students to attend.  They are not at the point of running
>dance, nor is their repertoire very extensive since we have such a small
>group, but they are willing especially if someone is there to lead them.
>There were a lot of "old-time" Steppes dancers at the event Saturday, so
>maybe the Masque will get a large crowd.  I know many of these have
>over to middle eastern and attended our peasant dance class en masse.  So
>they are obviously interested in the social aspects of dance.  I know there
>are several dance "games" available which could fill the place of HITW":
>Jenny Pluck Partners, Del's HOrses' Bransle, Il Piantone/The Pinwheel,
>L'Caccia d'Amore, I'd even throw in Farandole to name but a few.  These
>require larger numbers of people than most of us get, but if a few solid
>people know them, it's not hard to get a whole crowd dancing them at an
>groups I've been in have also taken to "sharking: into Whirligig, Black
>Picking of Sticks, Anello, Rostiboli, Petit Vriens, and just about any
>dance we can think of.  That was a big part of what HITW fun to many
>We can encourage this and spark interest at the same time showing that not
>all dance has to be taken so seriously.  I think we also need to
>the concept that dancing itself was a time for socializing.  Every group
>I've danced with has spent lots of time on steps, but not on styling or on
>talking while dancing.  It's a skill that needs to be taught.  Yes this
>mean teaching the differenct between when dance is meant to be a
>and when it isn't, but I think people can grasp that pretty easily.
>I'm really excited at all the traffic I'm seeing on the list the past
>of days.  Keep sending your ideas and communicating.  I'll see what I can
>organize after I return from Lilies.
>In service,
>Melissent the Capricious
>(New Dance Proctor - EEK!! ;-) )
>-----Original Message-----
>From: ansteorra-dancers-admin at ansteorra.org
>[mailto:ansteorra-dancers-admin at ansteorra.org]On Behalf Of Nadine Latief
>Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2003 9:43 AM
>To: ansteorra-dancers at ansteorra.org
>Subject: Re: [Anst-dancers] Resurrecting dance in Ansteorra
>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:
> >
> >All,
> >
> >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
> >mixing.
> >
> >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
> >past.
> >
> >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
> >wrote:
> >
> >> 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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> >
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