pennsicdance: Dance Suggestions

Jane & Mark Waks waks at
Wed Aug 24 16:08:20 PDT 2005

Gwommy Anpurpaidh wrote:
 > Besides, how many people started
> dancing in the SCA because of the GOOP dances?  I don't dance THAT
> many GOOP dances anymore though.

Hmm. Problem is, statistically speaking, people tend to fixate on the 
dances they learn first. It's not 100% consistent, but it *is* pretty 
dramatic. Folks who learn the GOOP first tend to stay with it, and are 
on average significantly less receptive to learning more-period dances, 
whereas folks not exposed to GOOP dances until after, say, their first 
year rarely pick up any taste for them at all.

To be fair, this is largely because of presentation. Folks are taught 
that GOOP are "the fun dances", and novices tend to internalize that 
quite readily. By implication, they wind up defining period dance as 
"not fun", and many of them wind up relatively resistant to it.

None of this is speaking in universals -- there are lots of exceptions. 
But it does seem to be a strikingly common trend: peoples' long-term 
tastes in dance are *strongly* affected by their early experiences.

> Next, I think that the 'dance parties' should be ditched.  Even though
> we try to get the word out that everyone is invited, it still seems
> like a private thing to many outsiders.

Interesting. It hadn't occurred to me, but I can see folks thinking that 
that term implies a sort of exclusivity. (To many people, you need an 
invitation to come to a "party".) That's a good point, and implies that 
we should think about our terminology.

> I think that they are also
> too concentrated on a certain kind of dance.  I know that's the point,
> but the average SCA dancer doesn't concentrate on one type of dance,
> they know bits and pieces of all different venues of dance.

Maybe. All of them tried to be inclusive; some succeeded better than 
others. Certainly we should think about the right balance point, and 
maybe adjust it a ways. Having somewhat more open dancing in the tent is 
probably a good idea.

> Now to my suggestion.  I think that we should have open
> beginner/intermediate dancing in the barn at night where the dances
> are taught and newer people can have a chance of learning them. 
> Meanwhile, in the dance tent, we should have open
> intermediate/advanced dances going on.

I don't care for this -- it just emphasizes the "us/them" split between 
the sites. We really need to be thinking about ways to encourage better 
cross-pollination, and I think this approach of dividing the venues by 
skill level is likely to be counter-productive...

				-- Justin

More information about the pennsicdance mailing list