westdance: More dancing

Matthew Larsen matt1.larsen at gmail.com
Fri Jan 9 12:27:58 PST 2009

>> When you say you don't like Geloxia and Contrapasso, is that because
>> of complexity?  Or is it just that you don't care for them?  Or both?
>> :-)  Either is a fine answer, I just want to better understand how
>> people feel about the dances.
> Some of both.  If we're lucky, we get to dance about once or twice a year
> here, and not always that often.

That makes sense to me.  I wish we could get out there more often to
teach, but... :-(

As for Geloxia, I think one of the problems it has is that it's kind
of dull for the ladies, but there's a lot for the men to remember.
That's not a great combination.

> (And half of the time I'm the one teaching
> it, which should give a clue about the state of dance in the hinterlands. :)
> )

:-) Well, I started teaching for more or less the same reason -- when
there's no one else and you want dance, it's all you can do.  Anyway,
thanks for carrying the torch!

> Actually, I'll dance the simpler English Country part of the time (hays
> still tie my feet in knots, so I don't tend to dance dances with them. :)  )
> Since EC is documentable only post period I'd prefer to not do them when we
> are trying to show people they can have fun with simple things from within
> period.  (I hope that makes sense.)

Yes it does, and it's part of my feeling about ECD too.  I'd like to
see it gradually become less done.  But that is going to take a looong
time.  I think some dances, like Rufty Tufty, will always be in
demand.  But maybe it's time to start reducing the number of more
complex ones.

Could you list some of the ECD that you do like, or at least that you
feel you could get through if someone was calling?  One observation
from the Duchesses' Ball was that Grimstock was too complex for a lot
of people, which surprised me.  It would help to get a better idea of
what we should be considering.

>> Is that true, and if so, do you think that there are a
>> reasonable number of others who share that feeling?  My preference
>> would be to go away from them as well, but there's always been an
>> assumption that a lot of people really like them even if they are out
>> of period, and won't want to dance _unless_ they're on the list.
> There may be some people who feel that way.  I haven't done a pole, so I
> can't say what percentage is on either side.  When I started we did mostly
> bransles and Hole in the Wall.  So, people liked bransles and Hole in the
> Wall.  I still like Hole in the Wall, but since it's definitely post period
> I don't even try to dance it at SCA events.  Now, there is a lot of EC
> that's been taught, so people who started with it like EC and most probably
> don't realize it was first printed in Playford, post period any more than
> people realized that Hole in the Wall and Carabouska (sp?) weren't period
> 15-20 years ago.

I understand completely.  I used to get a lot more calls for HitW,
Korabushka, Road to the Isles, etc. a decade ago, often from people
who had learned them when they first started a long time ago.  My
response was always that there were lots of equally fun and easy
period dances, but that if we kept doing the same old ones, the new
generation would learn them and be requesting them decades from now.
One of my favorite moments was a few years ago when someone requested
HitW, we explained why we don't do it and then someone who had been
dancing for several years asked "What's Hole in the Wall?". :-)
Clearly we're having an effect.

> That would work for me, but you'd want to ask around more before you take my
> opinion as representing a majority on this one.  :)

Well, I'll continue to consider it and to look for opinions.  If you
get more thoughts from others, don't hesitate to pass them on.

>> Thanks for your thoughts, and also thanks for having dance at your
>> Investiture!
> You're most welcome.  :)
> We are also planning for dance at Our Coronet.  My Lady and I really do
> enjoy dancing and don't believe there is nearly enough of it anymore.

Amen, brother! :-)


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