pennsicdance: re: a word from the fringe

White, John john.white at
Thu Aug 25 13:05:16 PDT 2005

> From:  Kristin Cool
> "So I'm one who has largely abandoned the tent in favor of 
> the Barn.  I am certainly in a minority on this list, but I 
> want to put in a voice for the "others."  
> Amen!  {...}
> I remember wanting, desperately, to do Road and being told 
> "no, it's not period". Well, I didn't care, and I still don't 
> care. I liked to dance and that was the dance I wanted to do. 
> I joined the SCA to have fun, not to become the period 
> police. I realize that to maintain a certain environment, you 
> don't want people walking around in jeans, but come on. 

So, you agree that there's a line to be drawn, but that line
for you is on the other side of one particular form of fun
known as out-of-period dances.  Fine.  But why is your decision
to draw that line there better than my decision to draw that
line on the last page of Playford's 1st edition?  Or that guy
over there who is SO much more comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt?
Or those couple of folks over there who really get jazzed on
roller hockey, and that padding sort of looks like SCA armor,
and they're using sticks, so why isn't that close enough to
SCA fighting to get to do it out on the battlefield, where
there's lots of room to zoom around?  Or maybe that cook who
thinks that Lucky Charms are the best food around and that's
good enough for her, so she's going to serve that at head table
at 12th Night?

The SCA has a very generic mission statement.  Different people
interpret it in different ways.  For most, the term "medieval"
and/or "renaissance" is part of that interpretation.  It applies
to our sports - we don't try to re-create tanks on the battlefield
(even though DaVinchi invented them) because that's not how they
did things in "period".  We don't normally let people get away with
two towels pinned at the shoulders and belted at the waist as garb
for 15 years.  We try to serve food at feasts that has at least some
resemblance to period dishes (and royalty that continually declare
Coke and chocolate are period aren't helping).  If lots of people
still wear polyester garb, or camp in nylon tents, or fight in
pickle-barrel armor, we can recognize that money is sometimes a factor
in how period a person is able to be (even aside from the desire).

There are lots of fun activities that we don't do at an SCA event.
There are lots of fun dances that have no place at an SCA event.
The two things are absolutely identical.  There are people who will
to the Texas Two-step for hours and hours on end, and just enjoy
the heck out of it.  But they don't (I hope) try to teach/dance it
at an SCA event.  There are venues for those other fun activies,
just like there are venues for those other fun dances.  There is no
requirement for the SCA to be the container of everything that every
member/attendee finds fun.  Sometimes we enjoy the company and/or
atmosphere of the SCA that we really, really want to be able to do
everything we adore doing within its confines - I know that at one
time, I did.  I was told that Moonshine and Korobushka were not the
kinds of dances that were done at the dance practice I moved to,
and that teacher was correct.  Not only that, but in Philadelphia, there
was (and is) a THRIVING folk dance community, where I could go and
do Road (well, not really, since it's not a real dance) and Korobushka
and the like without being frowned at.  There's even an even bigger
modern ECD community where I could go and do Female Sailor and Hole in
the Head (if I remotely liked the dance) and Juice of Barley and not
get frowned at (except for starting on the left foot when they start
on the right ...).  And if there aren't such things in your neck of 
the woods, then maybe you could organize them yourself.  Because the
SCA isn't about roller hockey, or frisbee golf, or Lucky Charms at
feast, or jeans-and-a-t-shirt as garb, or out-of-period dancing, and
there really isn't any reason to try to make it such just because you
(and lots of other people) really enjoy that activity.

> Agnes Barbarosa
> (mka Kristin Cool)

        \\Dafydd Cyhoeddwr

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