As always, I will claim that there is nothing original in this dance book. It is the result of combining and collating the work of other folks, who I'm going to list later in some detail.


What is this book for?

This book is basically a how-to guide for a typical SCA dance class, or other renaissance dance class interested in learning the basic repertoire of the period. It is not an exhaustive inventory of all dance forms from 1450 – 1650, which I could very well have written if I had desired to spend the rest of my life contributing to the continued destruction of the world's forests. Rather than that, I have picked and chosen a sample from the repertoire of what I consider to be useful, interesting, and entertaining dances.

Neither do I attempt to document in strict academic terms every statement I make. There is a lot of guesswork involved in recreating dance of this period, and I make some of the claims that I have made in this book based on “best guesswork” analysis. Some of my best guesswork is of course different to the best guesswork of other people, and so you should feel free to disagree with most of what I say in this book.

Also, because in many cases I'm aiming at beginner to intermediate dancers, I take a few short cuts. Anyone who is a dance academic will fairly quickly spot these. They are deliberate and I don't make any apologies for them.



More advanced dancers will of course want to continue to reconstruct dances from the period and work from other sources, which brings me to what I have described in the past as the only reason for this book: the bibliography. The maintenance of the rendance bibliography has been a fairly significant task over the last few years and those that have applied themselves to it are to be greatly admired.

This book, and the bibliography contained in it, are hopefully a useful starting point. Good luck.



Introduction to the Sixth Edition


It's been a few years since the last edition. I've been promising this one for a while. This involves a fairly major reorganisation of the book, with separate sections on teaching dance as well as two break-out books: Del's Dance Teaching Book, which is specifically designed to help people who are running dance classes, especially those who might be new to it. I also have a separate book of student handouts, as well as separate individual handouts for many of the dances which can be printed off.



As in all previous editions I've had a great deal of help and inspiration from a bunch of people, so I'll name those that I can here. I'm sure I'll forget at least someone!

Starting at the top, both Adina Hamilton and Rachael Zavodnyik have provided a number of reconstructions that I've included in the book, especially those in the 16th Century Italian dances. Norman Gray has also been inspirational with the work that he's been doing on the Gresley dances, and I've included a few of his here. Uracca has also provided some useful articles, in particular the Italian grammar and dictionary of common dance terms, and I've also borrowed a few of her reconstructions. Roz Howie has also been steadily pushing stuff my way for some time and some of it's appeared in here at last.

The Barn at Pennsic is full of people who've also given me help, comments, inspiration and assistance. Those that have been particularly helpful in answering questions either there or on line have included Alina, Sion, Rosina, Gregory, William Redcape, Flip, Giulietta, and Phillip White even if for nothing other than a sense of humour.

There are also of course those who contributed here without even meaning to: The various dance groups that I've had the pleasure to work with over the years. In particular the Rowany group and those people who taught and danced there: Aeron, Maeve, Annabel, Ciara, Magnus, Bess, Lorelein and many others. Also the group in Christchurch: Phil, Nicola, Simeon, Stephen, Duncan, Theuns, Seth, Sharon, Heather, Vanessa, Diana, Charlotte, Aliena, Becs, Lesley, and the many others that drifted through over the years (even from Finland). Also the Wellington Medieval Guild who allowed me to gatecrash their party on occasion, especially Adam & Ava, Lesley, Peter & Brenda, and Janet who gave me a good argument when I needed one (even if I still say her passi are completely wrong). If I now know something really doesn't work, it's because I tried it out on you guys first.

As usual, the folks on the rendance and sca-dance mailing lists have also been extremely useful, even if only to read their musings from time to time.

On the musical front I couldn't have gotten by without Katrina, Rhiannon, or Crispin, but also David Yardley, Llewen and his drum, the Sigurds, Kathryn, and the other Rowany and Polit musos. Special thanks to go to all of the musicians I've thrown tunes at, often only a few minutes before one of the Caroso balls at festival.

Special thanks for creative talent also goes to Rodney Nunn, who penned many of the cartoons that I use to illustrate various steps throughout the book.



Of course the previous “copyright” rules apply -- you may freely copy printed editions of this book for historical recreation purposes, and you may also copy the CD-ROM or any part of it if you wish.


On line editions

This edition's on-line and CD-ROM editions contain even more stuff than before. More pictures, more stuff, PDF files of the book and all of the handouts, and even some short videos of things that were worth taking videos of. Plus the usual assortment of NWC files, MIDI files, printable sheet music, etc, etc. The music pile has expanded to a 5 CD set that I'll talk about later.



Caveat About Reconstructions

Source Materials