westdance: Thoughts on 15c Italian for KWDS?

Carey Cates isabel at aands.org
Tue May 15 20:56:13 PDT 2007

Hi there,
	Well, I'm back from vacation now, where I was visiting my
sister and couldn't get stuff to work out on her computer for me to be
able to check my email.  So, having spent a fair bit of time looking
at Smith of recent, I have a number of observations to throw out...

On Wed, May 09, 2007 at 10:22:52AM -0700, Katrina Hennessy wrote:
> What a cool discussion you set going! :)
	Oddly, it went to tangets before anyone suggested anything for
class topics.  So, you'll get what I came up with independently...

> Do you have any idea yet what you'd like to teach?
	Yes, people will soon be inflicted with bits and pices of
Mercanzia and/or Sobria while I work out some bugs.  No, I've never
danced those, so I'm having to reconstruct them again.  I do have a
couple other people's articles on them too, as well as the concordance
from Smith.  There are still the questions of does the geometry really
work like I think it will, and questions of which of two
interpretations of left/right direction seems most plausible, etc.  So, you're all forewarned now!

Now for a few observations, in no particular order:

- I had not really looked through Smith's concordance in detail
recently and was surprised by how many bassedanse there are there.
Maybe 20 or so, much more than just Lauro!

= There are lots and lots of 15c Italian dances written up.  Most of
them are written up in more than one source.  (There's two for Sobria,
and eight for Mercanzia, for example.)  I do not know, but I suspect
that we have more sources offering multiple glimpses of the same dance
than we do for 16c Italian dances.  If that's really true, it will
inherently give us a different view on those dances.

- With multiple manuscripts covering the same dance, with variations
in the steps, amount of music / time needed, and with old and new
dances (labelled vecchio and nuovo) that change the number of dancers
as well as the steps/figures they make, I have come to the realization
that there probably wasn't one true way of doing the steps either.
Looking for the one, correct interpretation of the steps might not be
a useful endeavor.  (I'm still thinking about that - it might be
interesting to look for correlations with how a manuscript describes
the steps and how it describes the choreographies before contrasting
those correlations between manuscripts.  That might be interesting,
but it'd be a fair bit of work.)

- There are lots of 15c Italian dances.  We do very few of them.  The
thing we lack is music - there aren't so many dances that have both a
description and music.  I now think the music is the bottleneck in
introducing more of these dances to the SCA.

- Rosina mentioned, in something or other I was reading, maybe her LoD
article? that the saltarelli sections apparently often don't list a
starting foot.  She hypothesized that if people were improvising
during these sections, that they might be changing feet or that they
might end up on an indeterminant foot anyway, so that it might not
have really mattered which foot they started on.  I think that is an
interesting hypothesis.

I have other thoughts after reading the recent threads, but that's
enough for now, for it's getting on toward midnight in my personal
time zone.  I'll see what I remember to pack tonight to take with me
to LA tomorrow and if I do get out of LA early enough to make it to
dance practice in San Jose, and if I'm really awake then, but I'll try
to inflict some questions I have from Mercanzia on you all to see what
happens.  Depending on the students that show up at Collegium this
weekend, I might inflict some more such questions on the weekend too.


More information about the westdance mailing list