pennsicdance: Dance Suggestions

Sean D. Sorrentino sdsorrentino at
Thu Aug 25 07:39:51 PDT 2005

>Overall - I actually like the idea of 
>the parties!  Having the option to dance 
>an entire night within a single theme is 
>pretty nifty.

As I pointed out, this is a bug, not a feature. We
should discourage the specialization during social
dance hours. 

>. Tent 
>dancers- send people to the barn if they 
>don't like the theme of the night.

This is rude and exclusive. It neither solves the
split nor does it do our honors any service. 

>3) Treat the barn like the average 
>baronial event post-feast dance revel, 
>and the tent something more specific 
>like a ball, Terpsichore, or KWDS. 
>There's a lot of dignity and fun in both 

Again with the assumption that “Tent” dancers are
experts and exclusive while the “Barn” is for lesser


>1)  Continuity.
>To keep people used to the idea of dance 
>being alive and well in the barn AND 
>TENT (and to avoid the 'puppy pile' of 
>teenagers, and the RPGamers from taking 
>over the space.) 

This is a false argument. We built the floor to dance
on, not to be used to ditch the new dancers. After 5
years it is ok to only have dance in the tent. And for
the record, who really cares if the teens are having
puppy piles in a well lighted, fairly well trafficked
area? Do you propose we send them back to the bath
house? Or out onto the battlefield? They need a place
to interact with people their own age in an informally
supervised way. They need a place to figure out their
sexuality without either of us telling them what it
should be. They also need to do it where, should
something go wrong, there are at least 50 people who
will put a stop to it. As for the RP Gamers, I advise
the same sort of selective blindness that allows us to
visit the Classic swimming hole without staring at the
fascinating specimens of humanity found there. If you
ignore them, they will grow up and become heavy
fighters. Crack down on them and they will insist that
mom and dad leave them home. This would be a loss to
us in the future.

>2)  A lesser reason - is that it 
>attracts NEW dancers like you wouldn't 

It attracts people who want to watch. This means that
the occasional pretty girl who wanders in gets asked
to dance and everyone else sits and watches. Dance
classes are held in the tent. That attracts new
dancers. Parties with food attract new dancers. If you
think back, you showed up at the barn because that was
where dancing was going on. You were there to dance,
not the other way around. Same goes for the tent.

>3)  Dance in the barn is visible in a 
>way dancing in the tent is not. Being 
>right next to the Cooper's Store, we get 
>a lot of foot traffic. People hear a 
>dance they recognize and they join in 
>and stick around. In 3 words:    It's 
>good advertisement.

For Mari’s Wedding? Who goes to the Cooper’s Store at
10PM? Again you are confusing location with intent.
You pretend that these people have nothing to do,
wander through the Barn, and suddenly transform into
dance fanatics like that episode of Monty Python where
everyone becomes Scottish. They come to the barn with
dancing in mind. They can come to the Tent just as

>5) Last and not least - in the past, 
>the first few nights after the floor is 
>together, - I've observed- it’s often 
>the dance masters and mistresses, 
>apprentices, and Laurels of the society 
>who have taken over and are calling the 
>dances.  And I think this is a good 
>thing (in moderation)!

I don’t understand this point. Are you saying that we
need a place to dance where the Laurels cannot go? Is
this some sort of reverse snobbery?

>One can only dance "Official Bransle," 
>"Black Nag" or "Petit Vriens" so many 
>times before you want burn the bloody 
>music! And what's fun for the dance 
>specialists is generally not the same 
>25-30 common dances (period or not) 
>everyone knows, and if a common dance is 
>requested- it's often not being taught.         
>I know I like being able to dance 
>without having to stop and teach (every. 
>single. dance.) It's also fun for me 
>being able to watch the more complicated 
>dances one CAN'T teach in a quick amount 
>of time (or dance with my bad knees); 
>like the Galliards, the 16th C. Italian, 
>or the Greesley (sp?) Manuscript dances.

So sit down for the dance. 16th C Italians were taught
by professional dance instructors to idle rich. They
cannot and should not be taught at balls. The
overweening ego of people that expect the world to
stop while they catch up is insane. 

>Midnight Rule:

>I say abolish it. It made sense when 
>there was only one venue. 

>Seriously, the people who want to dance 
>them want to dance them earlier in the 
>night and don't want to wait around.  
>And they attract people to the barn who 
>otherwise might not show up and stick 
>around.  If we can just dance them, 
>don't make a fuss about dancing them, 
>and get them out of the way- the more 
>likely dancers off the street will stay 
>for the period dances done right 
>afterwards. :)

Why continue to perpetuate a dying class of dance?
Some people are holding on to this with their
fingernails when it is a dead end art. It isn’t
period, it isn’t close, and it isn’t long for this
world. Let it die. Stop wasting the brain cells and
muscle memory of new dancers on dying dances.


>            There are a lot of baronies 
>who will not be reached by this dance 
>community about stopping teaching them, 
>so people will always learn them and 
>bring that knowledge out to large inter-
>kingdom events.  There will always be 
>polyester loner garb, nylon tents, and 
>propane grills

This is a false comparison. If someone showed up to
Pennsic with an orange road maintenance vest on, we
would politely tell them that we were not particularly
interested in how things were done in the Barony of
Three Rox. To compare the practice of using nylon
tents at Pennsic to teaching people out of period
dances makes no sense. It costs no money at all to
take off the orange vest, nor to stop dancing SCA Hole
in the Road to Korobushka’s Wedding. Insisting that
everyone spend $1000 in period tentage is a bit much.
To attempt to conflate the two and say one out of
period thing deserves another is an attempt to argue
yourself out of having any standards whatsoever. I
have a friend who teaches a lot of out of (our) period
dances. You cannot tell me you have no place to do
these dances. We do pre 17th century. 

>My Proposed GOOP keepers: Korobushka; 
>SCA Road to the Isles; Mari's Wedding; 
>Gae Gordens; Postie's Jig; John Tallow's 
>Cannon; Earl of Salisbury Pavanne; 
>Female Sailor, Landler

>SOOP keepers:
>Playford 2 & 3 Dances, including Hole in 
>the Wall, Mr. Isaac's Maggot, and 

>SCA Chor. / Reconstruction Keepers 
>(which I don't feel I should have to 
>count, but that for a different 
>day):Quen Quer Que; Gracca Amorosa; 
>Heralds in Love; Manschaft Pavanne; 
>Carolingian Pavanne; Salterello La 
>Regina, Riunione,

This is as concise a listing of everything that is
wrong with SCA dance as I have ever seen. This is not
the compromise that you appear to believe it is. It
appears that you are proposing that you virtuously
stop doing all the dances you weren’t doing in the
first place while requiring us to swallow all of the
dances that we were trying to get rid of.

>And believe me, if I thought we could 
>get rid of Maltese Bransle as it's 
>danced, I would in a heartbeat. - So I 
>guess that actually makes 20. For the 
>record:  I HATE Maltese the way some of 
>you hate Road to the Isles or 

And if it takes the loss of Gracca and Salisbury to
get rid of everything else on your list, I’d do it in
a heartbeat.


Sean Sorrentino
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