pennsicdance: Dance Suggestions

Alex Clark alexbclark at
Sat Aug 27 01:30:06 PDT 2005

At 02:20 PM 8/24/2005 -0700, Gwommy Anpurpaidh wrote:
>First, I'd like to say that I like the idea removing the no GOOP
>before midnight rule at the barn.  As long as there's a venue for
>period dancing, then I don't see where there's a problem.  I'd
>consider it an attempt at period dancing and at least it's not hip hop
>dancing or something like that.  Besides, how many people started
>dancing in the SCA because of the GOOP dances?  I don't dance THAT
>many GOOP dances anymore though.

Having taken some time to consider this, I agree completely. Better to try 
to bury the GOOP dances under an avalanche of more period dances than to 
sweep them under the rug.

Besides, it seems to me that if we're going to go that far to get rid of 
GOOP dances then there are some more that ought to be targeted. When 
there's a rule that says that *these* dances are GOOP and not to be done 
before midnight, and *those* dances are allowed, then there's someone who 
made the list of banned dances, and I get very uneasy at the thought of 
anyone but me trying to figure out which dances really belong on which 
list. So I don't want anyone to ban GOOP dances until I get to be the one 
to make the list. :-/

>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.  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.

A choice between dances parties on specific century/nationality themes and 
no dance parties would be a spurious choice. There are many possible 
formats for dance parties, including "dancer's challenge", "top dance 
hits", etc. And while it might be best that they didn't become the main 
dance activities, the century/nationality theme parties can be worth having 
now and then.

BTW, just now I'm considering the possibility of a composite theme: two 
different themes in succession on one evening.

>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.  We should be able to dance
>dances with little to no walkthrough and for the 3 hours we have in
>the tent, the dances should be able to flow one after another. . . .

If "intermediate/advanced" refers in any way to the difficulty level of the 
dances, then this plan would not serve intermediate and advanced dancers. 
It would be strictly and exclusively for intermediate dancers who are still 
trying to prove how much they know. Advanced dancers don't need to spend 
all their time on the harder dances. The most advanced dancers are the ones 
who are happiest to include beginner dances, not only because they have 
less to prove, but because they know enough to appreciate the beginner dances.

I am also very alarmed at the thought that we might systematically and 
regularly exclude beginners from the venue that tends to have the stronger 
preference for period dances. On the contrary, we should probably try 
harder to make the dance tent beginner-friendly, in the hope that as a 
result more beginners will start out with higher expectations of what SCA 
dancing could be. If we get many of the more advanced dancers, and the more 
particularly period dancers, into a separate venue, and then we practically 
exclude beginners from that venue, we will have ourselves to blame if the 
beginners get used to doing modern dances on an equal basis with period dances.


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