[SCA-Dance] How were dances taught?

Kirsten Garner kngarner at sbcglobal.net
Wed Jul 15 14:28:42 EDT 2009


I'd also suggest that there was probably a fair amount of informal teaching. There are many mentions in period literature, letters, journals and the like about noble ladies gathering with their family and friends and dancing in their chambers until the wee hours of the morning on a semi-regular basis. Like modern dancers today, I find it difficult to believe that a group of folks who like to dance and with access to a music source (musician then, mp3 player now ;) wouldn't show each other the newest dances or variants on dances they'd learnt. :) 

Gleann Abhann

--- On Tue, 7/14/09, Mary Railing <mrailing2 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> From: Mary Railing <mrailing2 at yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [SCA-Dance] How were dances taught?
> To: sca-dance at sca-dance.org
> Date: Tuesday, July 14, 2009, 10:18 PM

> This is a topic for a longer response
> than I can give right now, but the short answer is that it
> depended on who you were.  A noble household might
> employ a dancing master to give lessons, as well as to
> oversee entertainments..  Gulielmo Ebreo and Fabritio
> Caroso were examples of this sort of dance master.  Or
> a courtier who was not a professional dance master might
> offer to tutor his patron's children in dance, as Cornazzano
> did.  Those who couldn't afford a household dance
> master could learn at a school.  These schools also
> taught other skills useful for those who wished to look
> well-bred, such as music, singing, fencing and
> horsemanship.  Giuseppi Ebreo and Cesare Negri were
> examples of dance masters who taught at a school, as well as
> giving private lessons to the nobility and choreographing
> dances for special occasions, such as weddings.  There
> are references to hiring a dance master temporarily just to
> teach one's daughter (and her fiance?) special
>  dances for her wedding.
> Dancing was taught, at least informally, at the inns of
> court in London, as well as at various universities on the
> continent.
> In England a dance master was likely to be itinerant,
> spreading court fashions through the hinterland. 
> [Skiles Howard in _The Politics of Courtly Dancing in Early
> Modern England_ speculates that this my be why they didn't
> write detailed treatises the way the Italians did.]
> Mom and Pop were no more likely to give their children
> dancing lessons themselves, than they would be now, unless
> Pop was a dance master.  Dance, like other trades,
> tended to run in families.  Guglielmo Ebreo was the
> son, brother and father of dancers.  Negri's daughter
> Margharita performed in entertainments that he
> choreographed.
> Look up biographical info on known dancemasters, like
> Guglielmo, for more on how they and their contemporaries
> taught dance.
> --Urraca

More information about the Sca-dance mailing list