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

Jane & Mark Waks waks at comcast.net
Sat May 10 20:24:49 EDT 2008

Mary Railing wrote:
> 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.

I concur with the list, although it's worth noting that Heart's Ease and 
Rufty Tufty can be a smidgeon tricky if *everyone* is starting out cold. 
They work better if at least one person in the set knows what they are 
doing, and can help give directions.

> 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.

Hmm -- I don't know Eglamour. Clearly one I need to look up...

> For processional dances, if you are in the Midrealm, start with Black
> Alman, since it's the only alman danced much here.

True, but I'd actually recommend learning either Queen's or Lorayne for 
starting with, then follow up with Black. Black *sounds* complicated to 
many people (even though most pick it up quickly), so I prefer to start 
with an easier alman to ease them into Black. (But then I mostly teach 
Black, because it's the one folks enjoy most.)

> I think it is easier than starting
> with Carolingian Pavan, since the timing is actually rather hard to hear in
> the music.

Besides that, people tend to enjoy it more. (We actually don't even do 
Carolingian Pavan all that much here in Carolingia -- it's a good Ball 
dance, but rarely done at Dance Practice.)

> 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.

Another possible starting point is Bransle Cassandra -- nearly as 
simple, but with *something* in it to make it a tad more interesting.

				-- Justin

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