academie: 12th Night dance list

Edvard Gayer scavard at
Thu Dec 7 08:12:23 PST 2000

Scriptsit Arcturus:

>This is a tentative dance list. I am putting it out so that people can
>suggest dances that aren't here or express concerns about some of these 
>dances. [snip]

>This is a pretty long list. One of my concerns is that the ball will
>contain enough unusual dances that the casual dancer will not know any of 
>the songs. One possibility that I am entertaining is to eliminate a few of 
>the less common dances and repeat some of the better known ones twice (once 
>in each ball). I am trying to balance the desires of the dancing community 
>with the knowledge of the average SCAdian. I don't want the dance 
>enthusiast to become bored or disenchanted. However, I also don't want a 
>large number of potential dancers on the sidelines because they don't know 
>the dance. I would appreciate some feedback on this.

By my count, you've got a dozen bransles (although they will probably be 
combined into suites), five almains, two pavannes, nine Italians, and 
sixteen ECDs, for a total of 32 dances (ignoring the GOOPs).  For comparison 
purposes, the ball held at the Known World Dance Symposium in 1999 was four 
hours long (with 5-10 minutes breaks at the top of each hour), and we danced 
close to 20 per hour.  Your intent is to have two 2-hour balls.  I would 
recommend adding another 8-12 dances to your list, and plan for a lot of 
repetition between the first and second balls.

Here are a few dances you may want to consider adding:
- Bransles: Single, Double, Gay, Burgundian (these as a suite), Aridan
- Italian Rennaisance: Belfiore, Il Piantone (the Pinwheel)
- English Country: Fine Companion, Step Stately, St. Martin's, Epping 
Forest, Maid Peeped out the Window, Chestnut, Earl of Essex Measure

I am certain the Academie can come up with another dozen or two in a 
heartbeat.  :)

Of course, I question the inclusion of GOOP dances.  If you're going to 
schedule Hole in the Wall, why not also include some Swing, or a nice Waltz, 
or the Charleston?  Though the masses might like dances like "Hole", they 
are documentably outside of our period.

I COMPLETELY understand the desire to get people off their butts and onto 
the dance floor, believe me.  But how can we encourage people to learn about 
all of the really fun stuff that we know was danced in period if we continue 
to fall back on old habits?  By dancing GOOPs, we're just reinforcing the 
notion that out of period is somehow "okay".  Well, it isn't.

To be honest, I didn't use to think this way.  We danced "Hole" and 
"Korobushka" and all of those other GOOPs at my dance practices.  I 
rationalized it by convincing myself that these dances were being used to 
"lure" people so that I could expose them to honest-to-gosh period dancing, 
thus hopefully turning them away from the "dark side".  But the more I 
learned about period dance, the more I realized how out of place GOOPs 
really are.  Having just tried my hand at researching Eastern European 
dance, I understand now more than ever the disparity between period and 
non-period dance.

I know it can be difficult, especially when you become convinced that the 
ONLY dances the Peers know are GOOPs.  If your Peers are sincerely 
interested in being leaders, they should be able to understand this argument 
and should be willing to set the appropriate example by learning other 
dances.  If they lead, others will follow.  That's the way it's always been.

Also, never forget that the Crown can be called upon to set the example for 
the Peers to follow.  At Coronation for Amalric and Caia, Their Majesties 
insisted that the ball be period and a highlight of the evening's 
activities.  They did this by working with us to ensure the dance list was 
free of OOP material, and lead the dancing by performing the first dance -- 
Candlestick Bransle -- themselves.  It worked, and was a huge success.

In your case, the Crown has asked for a ball at Twelfth Night.  It would not 
seem unreasonable to me for you to approach Their Majesties to ask Them to 
lend Their leadership to your efforts.  See if They will agree to exclude 
GOOPs from the dance list.  Ask if They might be willing to set the example 
for the Kingdom to follow by agreeing to dance the first dance.  You might 
be pleasantly suprized by Their response.

Remember, if we do not draw the line, we will never be able to get beyond 
this hurdle.  I would encourage you in the STRONGEST POSSIBLE WAY to not 
plan any GOOPs for Twelfth Night.

// Vard //

Lord Edvard Gayer, Secretary
L'Academie Atlantienne de la Danse
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