academie: Thoughts on Dance Symposium

Appin1 at Appin1 at
Wed Feb 21 13:39:03 PST 2001

To the members of the Academie:

Having attended the Nothing But Dance session in Isenfir, and being a long-time (25+ years) dance teacher & performer, I offer these thoughts and suggestions:

For instructors: It would be helpful if you provide the following information when you teach dances:

-Name/title of dance
-Type of dance (ballo, basse danse, bransle, etc.)and the context in which it would be performed (e.g., is it a "show-off" dance done as part of a masque; is it one that everyone would do at a ball)
-Dance manual in which the dance is found
-Author of dance manual
-Date of dance
-Country of dance
-Who reconstructed the dance
-What music you are using for the dance/where it comes from.

This information will put the dance in context (so if you want to run a theme ball, you have an idea what dances would be appropriate) and enable people to look up the dance if they want to and maybe experiment with their own reconstructions.

Also, instructors should dress in such a way that their feet can be easily seen by participants. I frequently teach in pants or in ankle-length skirts so my feet can be seen. It is difficult to pick up tricky Italian or Burgundian steps when you can't see the instructor's feet.

I find it helpful to teach separate steps first so that students feel comfortable with them, then put the steps together into a dance. Having worked with science fiction fans (notorious for being super klutz dancers) for many years, I find that this has been the best way for people unfamiliar with the dances to learn them. Just a preference on my part, but it's been a successful method.

Thanks to all who gave of their time and efforts for the dance symposium. It certainly was a successful event.

Alyson of Islay

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