pennsicdance: Musicians and Venues and GOOP, Oh My!
sbbush at earthlink.net
Thu Sep 1 16:04:14 PDT 2005
Greetings from Etienne.
Unfortunately I was not able to attend Pennsic this year, but I have
been following these discussions with great interest.
In thinking about the most divisive situation, Grossly Out Of Period
dances, I came up with (what I think is) a good compromise. Now
personally, I would be happy if there was no GOOP done at
Pennsic. Yes, I can almost hear the shock and surprise as you all
read this. ;-) However, I do not think that an outright ban would be
a good idea. It will just piss some people off. Not only will they
go away with a poor opinion of the dance community, but they will
share it with their friends.
My suggestion is that we institute a rule that no GOOP may be taught
(including quick run-throughs) in the Barn or Tent. This should
appease the people who insist on doing those dances, but we will not
be facilitating the spread of them to new people. It should also
help with the goal of eventually killing them off. Of course, if
people decide to go outside to teach GOOP to other people, we cannot
stop them. However, dancing should not be delayed while this happens.
Whoever is running dance in the Barn will have make sure that the
GOOP dances get spread out, so that no one has to sit out for too
long. But that should be the case for all dances in the Barn. It
would be just as bad to have several 16th C. Italian dances done in a
row (says the 16th C Italian dance fanatic.)
As for the venues, I think that we should keep both of them and there
are a number of reasons for this.
1) I like the specialized parties, but not everyone does. There
should be a venue for those people who don't. OTOH, I don't feel
that there should be a focused party every night, especially on
Wednesday and Thursday of War Week, when we cannot get into the Barn
until after (a usually long) court.
2) Two venues allows us to have one where very little teaching gets
done (except for quick run-throughs) and one where more teaching is
possible (except for the aforementioned GOOP.) However even in the
Barn, teaching should be kept to a minimum. Any dance that would
take more than 10 minutes? to teach should probably not be done. We
tend to lose a lot of people if they have to wait up to half an hour
for a dance to be taught. The possible exception to this could be
after say 2AM, sort of like the late night (early morning) classes
that Gwommy used to lead.
3) I don't think that there is enough room in the Tent for everyone
who wants to dance to do so, even on the non Pennsic Ball nights. Of
course we are somewhat limited on court nights, but I certainly don't
want to give up the comfort of the nice dance floor on every other night.
My last points are about musicians. I can see why someone who is
running a party may want to work with a group that has had a chance
to practice the music together ahead of time.
A) A number of dances done at the parties are not in the Pile. So
unless the outside musician is an excellent sight reader or the party
organizer personally distributes this music to the community at
large, there will be problems with the musicians playing well
together. I do not feel that this extra music, that may only be used
once, should be added to the Pile. Despite an effort to cull out
some of the rarely done pieces this year, the Pile is still enormous.
B) The party organizer may want a chance to go through the music with
the musicians ahead of time. I have run many dances, and even with
well rehearsed groups I have run into problems with repeat structures
and tempi. It is nice when you have a chance to work these things
out in advance.
C) A group may have a very specific mix of instruments and the
addition of other musicians could change the sound the ensemble.
Now this ties in with my discussion of venues. It is my recollection
(though perhaps my old brain has just become too addled) that there
are enough musicians that we could field an adequate number for both
the Tent and the Barn. If this is true, there is no reason why the
musicians who are not able to play in the Tent shouldn't go play in
the Barn. In fact (IMNSHO), if we do have enough musicians for two
venues, we should try to divide them up so that the people dancing in
the Barn do not have to rely so much on recorded music.
Now I am sure that there will be some people who disagree with
me. But I'm not worried, I am wearing my asbestos doublet and hose. ;-)
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