pennsicdance: Pennsic Dance Summary

Patches023 at Patches023 at
Mon Aug 30 18:56:30 PDT 2004

In a message dated 8/30/2004 1:27:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
catherinedean at writes:
Dear All,

Now that I have finally shaken the "Pennsic Plague," I wanted to post a few 
notes about dance this year.

First, a big thank-you to everyone who made Pennsic Dancing so 
pleasant--Domenico and everyone who helped with the floor, all of the instructors who shared 
their knowledge, and all of the generous folks who hosted a dance party or 
ran evening dance.  And above all an enormous thank you to Lyev who, I think, 
did a marvelous job of running dance this year and hopefully (twist twist) will 
agree to a repeat performance.

Second, overall I thought the dancing I experienced this year (I missed the 
first week) was, quite frankly, some of the best ever, especially evening 
dance.  We had a great variety of organized balls, request parties, Wolgamut jams, 
and pick-up dance.  The parties, in particular, seemed to be a big success and 
an enormous improvement over standard Caroso balls in terms of people 
actually having a good time (blasphemous, perhaps, but I'm on the record as not 
liking sitting idly by watching when I'd rather dance).

I was going to wait until the spring to post this, but here it goes.  I agree 
with Katherine that the balls seemed to be a huge success, but the area I saw 
lacking was coordination of day time and night time dancing.  Using Judith's 
15th century Italian ball as an example, she had 4 hours that she personally 
taught 15th Italian on the day of her ball.  IMHO, this worked very well.  This 
might have been the most attended party and the party with the most dancers 
(besides the blue feather party-which is a different animal).  Contrast it with 
the English Revels, which was very well attended last year but seemed to be 
struggling this year.  I don't think there was any ECD taught during the day of 
the ER (not even at ball prep, which I attended).

My point is, can we try to coordinate the day and night activities somewhat?  
Say having 2 or 3 classes, that teach the dances that will be done that same 
evening.  I'm not saying have a full day of nothing but ECD and then a full 
day of 15th CI, but to have several classes where you can bone up on the dances 
for the evening and learn what regional variation will be done at the ball 
that night.

Finally, on the last Thursday of war, a group of us hid from the rain and 
compiled some statistics about dance at war this year that we thought were 
interesting enough to share.  

First, I was very surprised by the seeming lack of ECD classes, but a lot of 
that is accounted for by the fact that Branles, basic ECD, and easier 15th c. 
Italian dances were frequently mixed together in beginner-level classes and 
counted under the Mixed genre heading.  Still, I think we may be a little 
Italian heavy (I can't believe I just wrote that...) and would do well to try to 
have some more specialized ECD classes in the intermediate heading next year.

I would be happy to teach 1 or 2 intermediate ECD classes next war.  I taught 
some ECD a couple of years ago, but at that time there were too many ECD 
classes and no one came to my class.  So I thought I'd let others teach.  I am 
concerned that I don't have the "latest" reconstruction information and I would 
like to disseminate the most recent reconstructions when possible.  If someone 
could point me to a website with the latest and greatest information, I would 
feel more confident in my teaching.

Finally, thank you to everyone who taught what we called "Method" classes.  I 
think it's wonderful to expand dance beyond simply performing choreography.  
I hope we continue to see many of these classes at future Pennsics.

In Service,
Katherine Mercer
Thank you to all the teachers and to the ball hosts/esses.

Sonya AKA Patches
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