[SCA-Dance] "Boring" dances, was: Quadran Pavan

Bruce Padget bapadget at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 13 00:21:59 EST 2008

On Feb 12, 2008 10:36 AM, <rwalla at comcast.net> wrote:

> Niccolo, thanks your advice. Can people who are entertaining and
> magnanimous like yourself be plain as well?

Careful, flattery can get you everywhere :)

There are some authentic dances that are strike one as just plain boring.
On the assumption that folks 508 years ago didn't like being bored any
better than we, I've come to look at them thus:

1.  Are we leaving something out?  For example, I often see bransles taught
in a plain vanilla way, leaving out ornamentation that even Arbeau approved
of.  And when was the last time you saw a divided double in a pavane?  When
a beginner in the SCA is ready to "kick it up a notch," I find we often lead
them toward more complex dances, and skip over perfectly period
possibilities for adding ornamentation and athleticism to simpler dances.

2.  Should we be seeing something we're not?  Beauty can be found in perfect
execution of simple movements, as Urraca reminded us with bassedance at KWDS
.  Yerz ago, I described the Old Measures to a friend who's a figure skating
fan, and she said, "Oh, they're just like compulsories!"  She may be right.

3. Are we understanding the purpose of the dance?  Dance would have
presented a rare opportunity for courtship.  I find it easier to chat up a
lady during Tinternell than during a cascarda.  A cascarda is more
impressive in other ways, and a suitor needs the whole arsenal.  A dance can
also be a community ritual, as with the mass dancing in the streets I have
been told you can still see in Barcelona on any Sunday.  The tour de force
to impress an audience of courtiers is completely different from the
rollicking dance to share a spring day with all the folks in one's

bapadget at yahoo.com

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