academie: Fw: [SCA-Dance] Dance Guilds

Amy Smyth-Wilson rowenrhys at
Thu Mar 1 16:40:21 PST 2001

Admittedly, I am one that ocassionally needs external motivation...I don't
feel that it is fair to be faulted for a psychiatric disability...Some folks
need such things to help them achieve their own become happy and
successful in life...As a teacher, I see the need for external motivation
daily and know that eventually those individuals will see the benefit of
doing something just for the sake of doing it.

And besides my two cents expressed above:

I was always under the impression that Dancemaster and Dancemistress were
only allowable for use by Dance Laurels?  Is this true? I have never seen it
in print but felt that traditionally it is such...

Rowen ferch Rhys

----- Original Message -----
From: Miriam Robinson Gould <madame_sosostris at>
To: <academie at>
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2001 7:22 PM
Subject: RE: academie: Fw: [SCA-Dance] Dance Guilds

> >I thought it was a good idea, too.  I asked the poster of the message
> >forwarded to send me more information about the actual ranking system
> >they're
> >planning to use.  I've included below the relevant portion of what she
> >me.
> >It seems pretty good.  It has a rather nice balance of performance and
> >teaching,
> >and to move along in it you need to have a wide repertoire that spans
> >numerous
> >styles (e.g., you can't reach the upper levels being solely an expert at
> >ECD's).
> >For those interested in charting self-improvement, it seems a pretty good
> >system
> >that progressively forces you to both broaden and deepen your knowledge,
> >both as
> >a dancer and as a teacher.
> >
> >I would like to recommend that we seriously consider implementing
> >like
> >this, on a purely voluntary basis of course, but as something that is
> >recognized
> >within the Academie.  As Greg quite correctly pointed out, not everyone
> >going
> >to want to participate, and no expectation should be placed on those who
> >don't
> >wish to.  But I also know a lot of people who would really benefit from
> >something like this, and it might even force some people who'd like the
> >recognition to broaden their perspectives some.
> >
> >Thoughts?
> >
> I'm with Gregory in that I don't like ranking systems.  I'll admit this is
> not a purely rational objection, but, to me, ranking systems enforce a
> certain Insider-Outsider clique-ness.  Some people have to start out as
> judges... well, how do you pick those?  Then, it's the judges who decide
> what will be looked for in a dance.  Would it merely be an ability to
> perform the required step sequences of the dance?  Or would people also be
> judged on the slightly more subjective qualities of grace, musicality, and
> the ability to dance to a period rather than a modern aesthetic.  And then
> there are some practical issues, what do you do if someone wants to take
> test, but doesn't have a partner? How do you give someone who is a true
> master of one style, graciously teaches the style, and writes articles
> it, but just isn't interested in a different style, the recognition that
> their mastery deserves?
> Plus, you can say it's voluntary, but it's either ineffective or it
> compulsorary.  If the recognition is going to mean enough to be worth
> having, then that means those who don't have the levels will be seen as
> lesser, regardless of whether they don't have the levels because they
> not to try for it or because they cannot attain it.  The alternative is
> the rankings will have no meaning and people will judge based on
> merit (my perferred method *grin*), in which case what's the point to
> the rankings?
> And it also seems to me like putting energy in the wrong place.  Rather
> creating our own insider system to give people recognition, shouldn't we
> trying to use the systems Atlantia already has in place by recommending
> skilled dancers for Pearls and Laurels?
> I guess for me, too, there's an element of not liking the idea that people
> would try to learn dances for some dangling carrot.  Shouldn't you learn
> dance because you love it and want to do it well?  Shouldn't you want to
> learn multiple repertoires so you can be a good teacher and teach your
> students the variety of available dances that are you there?
> And there's the other problem that ranking systems in the SCA never have a
> period feel to them.  There are period models for recognizing good dancers
> (Ebreo's exercises for example) but there aren't exactly rankings.  It
> closer to what we already have:  a semi-informal system where some people
> who dedicate themselves to the study of dance become known as
> Dancemaster/mistresses and attain recognition by the nobility for it.
> In service,
> Sayidda Tahira bint Ibrahim al-Ishbiliyya
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