[SCA-Dance] Quadran Pavan

Meredith Courtney meredith at livingpaper.org
Thu Feb 14 21:13:15 EST 2008

Hi: My current understanding of the pavan is that it is fundamentally a 
processional, and that one ornaments it by doing fancier steps, not by 
floor pattern.

Regardless of whether you believe the steps for the Quadran pavan result 
in an I-beam shape or a square shape, it does appear to be a processional 
dance that doesn't process anywhere.  Years ago, I had a ***speculation*** 
that this might have derived from theatrical space constraints, i.e. 
presenting a procession during a masque, and there wasn't room to go 
anywhere after the procession had formed up.  I no longer think that, 
partly because it appears that performing a masque on a stage was a pretty 
late development.  But I do think that the point of pavan is to put 
yourself and your partner on display, not to do a dance that is 
interesting for its own sake - and I admit that this can be a hard sell to 
a group of social dancers who spend most of their time in the 21st 
century, some of whom would freak at the idea that anyone was actually 
Looking At them.  While rehearsing our masque last year, I had the 
Goddesses dancing the pavan as a stage presence exercise, and I *think* 
that worked pretty well.  ("You're Goddesses!  Dance like you own the 
continent!  OK, <X> owns at least the surrounding 5 states ...")

I don't currently believe this, but there have been times that I thought 
it possible that pavan was only sort-of a dance, it was "just" the way you 
were supposed to move in certain formal circumstances.  (Mostly this 
happened at times I was focusing on Arbeau. :)  To take a not-very-close 
modern analogy, is the movement of fashion models on a runway a dance? 
It isn't normal walking (not to my eyes anyway).


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