pennsicdance: Gathering Peascods and "GOOP"

Alex Clark alexbclark at
Thu Sep 8 05:41:56 PDT 2005

At 09:57 AM 9/7/2005 -0400, Jane & Mark Waks wrote:
>Alex Clark wrote:
>>At 09:35 AM 9/6/2005 -0700, Greg Lindahl wrote:
>>>On Sat, Sep 03, 2005 at 12:10:11PM -0400, Alex Clark wrote:
>>> > The "GOOP" version of Gathering Peascods that I described
>>>... is not a GOOP. Please, Henry, try to use the term like other
>>>people use it. . . .
>>My usage is compatible enough with that of others to be correct.
>Sorry, Henry, but I really don't agree. The word "grossly" implies a 
>strong pejorative -- that this dance is not just a bit inappropriate, but 
>that it is wildly inappropriate for our setting. Overuse in a case like 
>this renders the term essentially meaningless.
>I mean, for heaven's sake, look at what you're talking about. We're not 
>talking about a whole dance that's wrong in many particulars -- we're 
>talking about one choreographic element. And it's not even an invented 
>choreographic element, it's an *omitted* one.
>Is the omitted clap Playford's intent? I would say that it's likely that 
>you're correct that it wasn't, but I think it's genuinely ambiguous, . . .

You have misremembered what I was talking about. The omitted clap by itself 
does *not* amount to the version of Gathering Peascods that I have been 
calling GOOP; it is not even the most definitive feature thereof. The only 
reason why I have been writing more about it is that it is not as obviously 
contrary to the intent of the Playford instructions, and therefore it takes 
more explaining. The main thing that I object to in the version in question 
is the use of a so large a circle that the dancers probably cannot, and in 
any case will not, do the circle round the middle and come to their places.

My main objection to this is that the choreographers of this period seem to 
have been of the opinion that each dancer in a country dance has his or her 
own place, and dancers typically come back to their places unless they 
break the entire formation to fall abreast to the presence. So a modern 
version that randomly shuffles dancers around to other places seems to me 
like a pretty big departure from the choreographic style of that period. 
(BTW, one reason why I find most progressive dances from early Playford to 
be far less OOP is that they do not downplay the relevance of the dancers' 
starting places as the later progressive dances seem to do.)

But even that would not be enough for me to consider it GOOP, except that 
the dance is already (according to our official cutoff date) SOOP (slightly 
OOP) in the most authentic version(s). So the version that I was objecting 
to has a post-period primary source, an odd and improbable rule for 
clapping, and a fundamental change to the way that the formation is 
considered and used. At some point an accumulation of OOP features is 
enough to make the dance GOOP, and in my own opinion this version has gone 
just barely across that threshold.

Alex Clark/Henry of Maldon 

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