[SCA-Dance] Greetings and question

Alex Clark alexbclark at pennswoods.net
Thu Feb 7 17:59:41 EST 2008

At 05:42 AM 2/7/2008 +0000, Catriona wrote:
>I'm Catriona Moriarity and I am assisting a friend with event
>stewarding his first Masked Ball. The theme is nautical, as the event
>is sponsored by the local nautical guild, and he asked if there were
>any dances known to be done in the coastal or port cities, or on ships.
>I believe any dances done in the city or on the country estates were
>probably likewise done on board, however, sailors may have done a
>different jig than the land lubbers, so I thought I'd toss this to the
>list in general. I hope someone can offer assistance on this question.

Row Well Ye Mariners would be a shoo-in, based on its title. It's not hard 
to reconstruct if you work from the facsimile (there's a layout problem in 
the transcription) and understand that after the first man and woman do 
sides with the next on the other side, then they do the slips, etc. It 
seems that the progression should continue from there all around the set in 
an oval, men going clockwise and women counterclockwise.

Newcastle Upon Tyne (as in Newcastle) and Caernarfon (as in the Lord of 
Carnarvons Jeg) are both on (or close enough to) the coast; Newcastle is in 
the North and Caernarfon in north Wales. That doesn't make the dances in 
any way nautical, but at least their names have something to do with the 
sea. And if you want to go way out of period, there's Female Sailor, though 
its original name seems to have meant "hornpipe".

For a far-fetched nautical connection, the changes of direction in the 
courante are supposed to have been somehow reminiscent of a ship tacking 
into the wind. And the triory of Brittany is supposed to come from a 
country that is mostly surrounded by the seas.

As for information on exactly where the dances were done, or how sailors 
danced in period, good luck.

Henry of Maldon/Alex Clark 

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