[SCA-Dance] Sca-dance Digest, Vol 37, Issue 3

Jane & Mark Waks waks at comcast.net
Tue Nov 25 11:39:46 EST 2008

Barbara Webb wrote:
> We tend to do quite a few different Burgundians, with the musicians 
> practising improvising over the tenor and the dancers using the fast 
> mnenomic system of grande/moyen/petit and perfect/imperfect sections to do 
> the dance straight off without walking through it.

Interesting -- I wonder if having musicians who are seriously into it 
makes a difference here. We've been doing this from time to time for 
many years (AFAIK, the Accademia della Danza may have gotten the ball 
rolling on this when we did the reconstructions for the LoD, and Daniel 
and Roselyne we *very* deeply into it), but it's never been all that 
popular with the crowd. It's possible that relying mainly on recorded 
music just isn't as interesting as having serious improvisation going 
on, so it's harder to keep the dancers' interest.

Related question: how much is your regular dance group "specialist" vs. 
"social"? I've observed that the serious dancers find it at least 
interesting to understand the pattern and play with it, but Dance 
Practice per se (which is more drawn from the mass of the Barony, and 
are largely more casual dancers) not as much.

> Can you tell me what the actual music source is for any common Burgundian 
> basse danses that get done in 2+2+2, and for the music in your version of 
> Lauro?

Can't speak to the period sources (music isn't my specialty), but it's 
not unusual for recordings to beat La Spagna in a more or less regular 
2+2+2. (This may depend on the arrangement -- I haven't examined it 
carefully.) Combine that with the Brainard tradition, and Lauro in 
particular is generally done with even steps.

That said, that simple interpretation has been losing out over time to 
listening to the music more and paying attention to it. 1/3/4 is 
standard in many of the dances we do nowadays, especially in those that 
came into repertoire after Ingrid died (and which, therefore, don't have 
decades of habit in the old tradition).

> Using even beats, how is each double distinguished from the next (i.e. 
> what stops 5 doubles becoming simply 15 steps) -  by raising or lowering, 
> foot closing, or something else?

The raising and lowering is absolutely standard here, taught pretty much 
from the beginning. (Although we've tweaked that from Ingrid's tradition 
-- when the Accademia went through the Burgundian and 15th c. Italian 
sources, we decided that we just couldn't find enough support for the 
down-up-flat style, and switched to essentially down-flat-up instead.)

> Is Danse de Cleves usually done the same way? I think it is at least 
> partly because this tune (and similarly the tune written out for La 
> franchoise nouvelle) seemed (to us) so obviously to have a 3+3 structure 
> that we went with that by default for all other Burgundian dances. I can't 
> recall ever seeing anyone teach or dance Danse de Cleves with equal length 
> steps in the double.

Well, Danse de Cleves is such an outlier in so many ways that it's 
always dangerous to generalize from it.

That said -- at least nowadays, we do it 1/3/4. I honestly don't 
remember whether that's always been the case or not, but it's the way I 
consistently teach it today. (Of course, we also do Danse de Cleves 
about twice as fast as anybody else, so we're still kind of weird there. 
I find most recordings of the tune painfully slow...)

				-- Justin

More information about the Sca-dance mailing list