[SCA-Dance] Dance at A&S Competitions

Mary Railing mrailing at kiva.net
Mon Apr 16 20:57:07 EDT 2007

   How a country dance fares at the A&s Fair really will depend on the
judges.  Some judges will reject the authenticiy of a country dance out of
hand.  Some will accept documentation of the name of the dance, or other
literary references in the absence of a choreography.
   When it comes down to it, you cannot hold Dance (or any other performing
art) to the same standard as artifact categories. The rules for A&S
competitions seem to be designed for entries that are objects rather than
performances.  I have had a costume Laurel tell me that the only primary
source is the artifact itself, that a description of something [such as a
dance treatise] can never be a primary source.  By that standard no
performance art entry could ever receive full points.
   A strict interpretation of the 1600 cut-off date can lead to
absurdities. Renaissance Dance as a style extends into the first quarter of
the seventeenth century.  Would anyone here actually argue that A&S
competitions should allow dances from Il Ballarino (1581), but not from
Nobilta di Dame(1600)?  Negri (1603) and Lupi (1607) are both technically
post-period, but no one who understands renaissance dance would think that
their books are not valid sources for sixteenth century dance.
  The question of whether country dance (as we know it) is a period style
is more controversial.  I won't rehash all the arguments here (unless
people really want to go around that block again...).  I, as a judge, would
give an entrant credit for acknowledging those arguments and explaining why
they think their entry is plausibly period (as I would for someone entering
an attempt at medieval dance).  I would also agree that someone trying to
game the system would probably score higher if they chose instead to enter
a late Italian balletto and ignore the rest of the SCA period.


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