[SCA-Dance] New group looking for teachers and resources

Alex Clark alexbclark at pennswoods.net
Sun Sep 9 17:54:00 EDT 2007

At 11:47 AM 9/7/2007 -0400, Arthur Bogard wrote:
>Hello there.  I am Arthur of Gleann Iaruinn, a canton of the Middle Marches
>in the Midrealm.  Although Gleann Iaruinn has been around for a long time, a
>new incipient group has been started here at Shawnee State University.
>We're working extremely closely with GI, but I'm also stretching out to
>other groups for resources so that the group has some legs to stand on in
>the coming years when I depart for Atlantia.  That brings me to the point of
>this message:  I am looking for resources to use to teach myself and others
>on the campus dance.  I know of several people interested in the arts side
>of the SCA, but our resources are low in that area.  I am reaching out to
>you all to see if anyone has any good resources (books, online, video
>(preferable)) for us to teach ourselves medieval dance.  We are interested
>in a variety of styles, and I would appreciate it if you all would help us.

I assume that by "medieval" you mean period. That's a frequent mistake in 
the SCA--the dances we know are renaissance (or later) dances, but people 
say "medieval" because that's the main part of the SCA period.

Let me start by recommending the following sites:

These are facsimiles of two sources for many dances that are widely known 
in the SCA. They aren't so easy to read (and one is in French), but their 
information is more accurate than much of what you are likely to learn from 
modern teachers. If you try to use the "Turn to page" feature at the second 
site, be warned that only one side of each page is numbered, so simply 
entering numbers will miss the reverse side of each page.

When you are learning from modern teachers and writers, be warned that 
there is a lot of guesswork in our "knowledge", and some of those guesses 
are far-fetched or misinformed. This applies to translations, glosses and 
annotations, quotations (easily misrepresented when context is missing), 
etc. as well as to modern reconstructions of the period dances. There are 
even some very modern dances (e. g. Korobushka, Ma Na'avu) mixed in with 
our early dances. So I would recommend that when learning any dance you 
treat it as "one version of" that dance and wait to see what you learn from 
another teacher. OTOH, when you find out that the first version you learned 
is "incorrect", remember that the teacher of that version might have 
something to say in its defense.

For written instructions, I recommend my cheat-sheets from Pennsic this 
year. To the best of my knowledge and ability they contain correct versions 
of each dance, over 40 total, including a dozen or more that are widely 
known and frequently done. OTOH they include about half a dozen dances for 
which there might not be any recordings that properly fit the dance. I can 
send it by e-mail if you like; it's formatted for WordPerfect.

>On a side note: we're hosting a Schola on the 3rd of November in Portsmouth,
>Oh (our first event), and if anyone is interested in attending or teaching,
>we would love to hear from you.  I am the autocrat of the event, so please
>direct all questinos to me.  I appreciate your time, and I hope to hear back
>from some of you regarding resources or attendance.

I wish I could, but the AEthelmearc Academy is on the same day, much closer 
to home, and I've offered to teach there. But I might make it to the Snow 
Ball in Dernehealde.

Henry of Maldon/Alex Clark 

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