[SCA-Dance] Regional Variation Question

Alex Clark alexbclark at pennswoods.net
Tue Feb 27 10:53:59 EST 2007

At 11:59 AM 2/26/2007 -0800, Jeff Suzuki wrote:
>I recently attended a dance class where the teacher
>had the couples going in what (to me) seems to be a
>non-standard direction.  I'm wondering if it's a
>regional variation.
>The two dances were:
>1)  Gathering Peascods:  Initial steps circle to the
>right; women go in first and circle left.  (Playford
>doesn't specify direction, so it's certainly a
>plausible reconstruction, but I've never danced it
>this way).

Playford's instructions are so bad about specifying direction, they often 
say "that again" without any hint as to whether that means circle the same 
way around again, or the other way. I assume that the more specific 
instructions indicating that the second time goes the other way are simply 
a different description for the same figure--I don't expect a consistent 
writing style in Playford.

Although the first edition of Playford doesn't say which direction a circle 
should go round at the beginning of the dance, I assume that clockwise (to 
the left hand) is more likely, because that seems to be conventional for 
apparently related traditions for which the direction is specified (as in 
Arbeau). The one thing you described here that is in outright disagreement 
with Playford is that the women go in first. Playford's Gathering Peascods 
is always specific on that point, and the women do not go first until the 
second time through the "chorus", after the men have already had a turn to 
go first.

>2)  Pease Bransle:  Again, initial steps are to the
>right; also, men jump towards their partner.  (This
>seems a little hard to fit with Arbeau's choreography,
>which mentions the doubles to the left)

Also, Arbeau does not indicate that people do these jumps either towards or 
away from their partners. It's the step before the little jumps that goes 
across the floor, to the left. (To the left, to the left. Everything you 
own . . . )


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