Size of dancing sets.. was: RE: pennsicdance: Gathering Peascods

Judith judithsca at
Wed Sep 7 17:52:18 PDT 2005

<<Heck, on MOST of the "as many as will" dances out there, I would suggest
break into smaller circles- rather then large ovals or lines of people.
It may not be as period, but it's sure a quite a bit safer!>>

Actually "as many as will" was probably a different number historically than
it has come to be known in probably the last three hundred years.  I would
contend that the large numbers that we accumulate, dancing these sorts of
dances at once, probably did not exist in SCA period given space
restrictions, population distribution, and a different attitude towards
dancing.  If you come to Europe, you will quickly realize that castles and
manor houses of the SCA's period generally lack such spaces as we have in,
say, the barn at Pennsic, or even the average rentable social hall.  In many
cases, I suspect that getting 6-9 couples to dance at any one time would
have been the normal (if not upper) number in any case, the exception being
large public festivals that were held in an outdoor venue such as a village
square.  Also, it seems that where dancing occurred, a number of other
activities occurred at the same time, such as socializing, gaming,
politicking, etc.  At SCA events, as I have observed, it seems that a lot of
people (which would include me, because I am a
be-active-rather-than-sit-freak) try their darndest to dance every dance,
rather than blending their activities.  Probably has something to do with
the fact that many of us only get good (i.e.energetic crowd, good live
music, etc.) Renaissance dancing a couple of times a year, and so we gorge
ourselves upon it when we are given the chance.
     Okay, I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.  This has
been a test of the emergency distribution center for unfounded, pedantic
knowledge...I repeat, this has only been a test...


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