pennsicdance: more fringy ponderings

Judith judithsca at
Sat Aug 27 14:52:17 PDT 2005

On Sat, Aug 27, 2005 at 11:17:55AM -0400, rahne at wrote:

> And it surprising that more folk-type dancing is done
> in the barn, when the emphasis of the tent seems to be positively
> erudite?>>

At this point, I should interject that there are period "folk dances" that
are dirt simple and fun, ones that I have been working into the SCA culture
for the past couple of years.  In fact, at my "elite, erudite, hoity-toity
15th c. dance party", we danced Petits Vriens *twice* (very much a folk
dance as it is danced in the SCA); Chirintana once (an Italian folk dance
very similar to Trenchmore); the piva and the saltarello at least twice each
(noted in the literature of the time as being "folk" dances), if not more
often; plus the brigomania, also twice, a line dance done with nothing more
than piva (far simpler than Korobushka, I assure you).  In fact, these folk
dances probably made up a good fifth to fourth of the dancing done in the
tent that evening, and would have constituted more if I had thought that the
stamina of the dancers had been suited to it (perhaps I have merely
underestimated how long often people can dance a saltarello or piva?).
     The same goes for Katherine's Arbeau evening.  She taught everything,
or almost, and most of her dances were definitely "folk" dances, that
meaning simple dances enjoyed by the more common people of a specific region
of France at the time.
     Contrary to popular belief, not all Period dances for which we have
information are complicated "court" dances, and perhaps this is the
information we need to provide to the new dancers who go to the barn and get
the idea that "modern folk dances are fun".
     I think it is a matter of perception about the two venues, and how they
are presented and how that presentation is perceived.  Perhaps the tent is
perceived as more exclusive because in general, parties that have happened
in the AS tents in the past have been exclusive: kingdom or group only
     On the subject of presentation, I have an observation I would like to
make: I heard way more snarking in the Barn about "tentites" than I heard in
the tent about people dancing in the barn.  In fact, never once did I hear a
single derogatory word about the *general* population of people who dance in
the barn.  After all, we have all danced OOP dances in the barn at some
point; some of us have simply moved beyond that.  Whereas one person in the
barn got specifically in my face in a very rude, discourteous, and asinine
manner when I *very* gently suggested that we should wait until after
midnight to dance Korobushka.
     Honestly, there are two reasons that I prefer the dance tent to the
barn, and for me, it really and truly has nothing to do with a repertoire

1.) The atmosphere in the tent is simply so much more conducive to a
pleasurable evening--- pleasant, warm lighting, a beautifully decorated
floor, good acoustics, more intimate...

2.)The floor itself--- I walk away from barn dances at Pennsic with shin
splints because I am a very energetic dancer.  I walk away from the tent
floor usually merely hungry from my energetic exertion.


More information about the pennsicdance mailing list