[SCA-Dance] looking for a few good dances to start our group

Mary Railing mrailing at kiva.net
Fri May 9 18:19:14 EDT 2008

 For a well-rounded introduction to SCA dances (including Gathering
Peascods) with detailed instructions, get Creative Anachronist #101, which
can be ordered online from sca.org. (Unfortunately the companion CD cannot
be ordered from the SCA Marketplace.  You have to contact the authors
directly.) Otherwise, it will depend on what music you have available.
(Some of my favorite beginner dances are not on the Dragonscale or Musica
Subterranea CDs that I usually use.)

For country dances, I prefer to start with Upon a Summer's Day, Rufty
Tufty, Heartsease, and Jenny Pluck Pears.  Upon a Summer's Day is not one
of the more popular dances, but it is one of the easiest.  It can be used
to introduce basic concepts like the longways set, the usual sequence of
verses, a repeating chorus, top vs bottom of the set, etc. in a dance that
is slow enough for anyone to keep up with.

For 15th century dances, I prefer to start with Eglamour, Petit Riens, and
Amoroso without worrying too much about how to do the steps.  Then teach
Rostiboli, giving people a chance to practice step styling and looking sexy.

For processional dances, if you are in the Midrealm, start with Black
Alman, since it's the only alman danced much here.  Otherwise use whatever
alman is most common where you are.  I think it is easier than starting
with Carolingian Pavan, since the timing is actually rather hard to hear in
the music.  If there are any other figured pavans done in your region, try
teaching them.  Then, if you know it, teach Contrapasso.  Don't tell them
it's Italian.  Just treat it like another figured pavan, which is
essentially what it is.

The only bransles danced much in the Midrealm are Official and Horse
Bransle, but before you try those, teach a plain double bransle, just to
give people the basic idea of how bransles are done.  Then teach whatever
other bransles you want. Around here Maltese and Clog Bransle have become
dance games, but I don't know how widespread that is.

These are just my suggestions for what I find easier to teach, not a list
of top ten most favorite dances.  If people really want to learn some
particular dance, it doesn't matter whether it is easy or hard. (Witness
the popularity of various Russian or Scottish dances that are much harder
than many period dances.)  If someone asks for a dance you don't know, go
to the SCA dance search engine http://sca.uwaterloo.ca/Music/  to find out
where instructions or music are available and then figure it out together
at the next dance practice.


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