pennsicdance: Tradition

Judith judithsca at
Sat Aug 27 15:34:29 PDT 2005

Hello, fellow dancers!
     Since a big part of the argument seems to revolve around tradition
versus progress, I thought I would interject my thoughts on this topic.
    Anyone who knows me also knows that I bristle whenever I hear the word
"tradition".  Why?  Because historically, crying "It's tradition!" has
always, in every case, been an excuse to reject change, or to continue doing
something that is otherwise bad.  Some examples for your consideration...
    It was "tradition" for women not to have a right to vote, to not have a
direct voice in the government.  It had "always" been that way.  So said the
detractors of the time.
    It was "tradition" that blacks were segregated from whites in public
    It was tradition that people not racially intermarry.
    It *is* tradition that female adulterers in certain countries be stoned
to death while the man gets away with much less.
    It is tradition in most of those same countries that women be brutally
circumcised into neuterdom.  It has always been so.  Why change now?

And my personal favorite, to which I am constantly exposed, living not only
in Europe, but in Germany....It was "tradition" to persecute the Jews, to
periodically confiscate their goods and to practice genocide when it suited
the community in question.

So, you will say, " The question of out of period versus period dance exists
on a whole different level from the above-mentioned issues."  And I agree.
The traditions that I have mentioned are much more serious in nature than
the ultimately trivial question that we are beating to death here.
     But the motivation is the same.  And so is my point.  To perpetuate a
thing simply because it is tradition and simply because "everyone does it"*
or because "it's fun" is spurious and weak-minded.  Don't be sheep.  

Some food for thought...


* (which, by the bye, is not true about GOOP dances.  We don't do them here
in Europe, and I know there are many groups in the mainland SCA who also no
longer do them) 

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