[SCA-Dance] ly bens/parson's

Tim McDaniel tmcd at panix.com
Mon May 19 12:08:37 EDT 2008

On Sun, 18 May 2008, Kelley Rambo <Kelley_Rambo at antiochne.edu> wrote:
> I have a question about Ly Bens Dystonys.  When we were trying to
> learn it, one of our group said that she had done it in a line of
> couples.  We tried this and ended up getting quite tangled, but as
> an after thought, I am thinking that if we had just turned slightly,
> we would have gone in and out from the sides (instead of front of
> the line to back, if that makes sense), so I think we can figure
> that part out.  I am wondering if it is done as a progressive dance
> (I think I have the right term) where partners change, or not.  Do
> others do it in a line or just as couples?

Um, it may be just me, but I'm totally lost.  Line versus couples?
I learned it as a dance for couples, but lining up is space-efficient
and helps prevent collisions -- how else can you do it?  In and out?
-- in what sense?

Here's the way I learned Lebens Distonyns, which is substantially
different from at least one class I was in.  So prefix everything here
with "We do it like this:"; I don't know the period source to know
whether it's utter dog's bollocks.  I'm going to try to give every
piddling detail in too much detail just to try to avoid confusion.

Everyone get into couples and line up proper.  We go forward the
distance of two doubles per rep; since we don't have Wesminster Abbey
to dance in, we wrap the line into a circle, with couples like the
spokes of a wheel, men on the outside because they tend to have longer
legs, so we start facing and dancing clockwise.  In a fixed-width

        movement --\
          M          \
          |           \
          W            \
    M           M        |
     \         /         |
      W       W          |

M-W             W-M

      W       W
     /         \
    M           M


So "forward" and "backwards" implies that we have to curve as a
compromise with the space.

Take inside hands as a couple (each man takes his woman's hand,  her
     left hand resting on his right hand),
Double forward,
Double forward,
Split and rejoin:
     Man 3 singles forward (step, feet together, step, feet together,
         step, feet together -- so the rhythm is step, pause, step,
         pause, step, pause)
     -- simultaneous with
     Woman 3 singles back  (step, together, step, together,
         step, together)
     On the last beat, the man turns single right, halfway around, so
         he's facing down the set, and we do a very brief
         acknowledgement (a nod) to the partner
     Double back to rejoin one's own partner as a couple
     Arm left with partner halfway around (so the man is now facing up
         the set on the inside of the circle and the woman facing down
         on the outside)
     On the last beat, the woman twirls (so both are now facing up the
         set, but improper)
The same "split and rejoin" starting from the current position,
     which means that the man and woman roles are swapped
     and at the end they're back proper again
Take inside hands,
Single forward, single back, drop hands, turn single outwards
     (man turns left, woman turns right)

Repeat until the CD is done.

We did have problems with collisions during the backing-up part.  We
found that it was best to do the split and rejoin angling a little
away from the circle, so the inside people curve a little towards the
center and the outside people swing out a little.

Does this help at all?  So how do you do it?

Dannet de Lincoln
Tim McDaniel, tmcd at panix.com

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