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1.1: Motivation

Since the founding of the SCA, there have been a number of projects to produce ``dance manuals'' or ``cheat sheets.'' Unfortunately, many of these efforts have not been well-distributed, or have had accuracy problems, or have not included all the features which I consider essential to a good manual: primary sources and references to the literature. In addition, these efforts often did not have very much information on early (pre-1600) dances, which I really wanted to learn about.

So I set out to create another set of cheat sheets which would not have these problems. My ideal entry for a dance would include a facsimile and transcription of the primary source (where possible); a list of references of articles and books about the dance, both from the historical dance community and the SCA; a summary of the dance; and notes about SCA regional variations, alternate reconstructions, and so forth. While the current compilation is modest in both the number of dances that it includes and the fraction of entries which approach the ideal, I hope that these cheat sheets will grow over time.

I have also included a few dances which are commonly danced in the SCA, but originated long after 1600. I have included these dances mainly to give information about their origins.