[SCA-Dance] On siding and arming

White, John white at drexel.edu
Mon Sep 28 14:54:53 EDT 2009

> From: Jeffrey Hoskinson
> So this is something I've alway been curious about. Here in the
> Debatable Lands (Pittsburgh, PA), we side & arm left first, then
> right. Just for clarification, that means we side to meet left
> shoulders first. At _every_ dance event I've been to outside of our
> local area, siding and arming have been done right first, then left.
> So I have two questions here:
> 1. Are we really the _only_ group in the Known World that sides & arms
> this way? Or have I just not run into any of the others?
Can't answer that one - haven't been everywhere.  I'm pretty sure, though,
that there are others somewhere the do it your way.

> 2. I know Playford was pretty ambiguous on this (typically saying
> "Sides all. That again" and the like). Is there any reason that one us
> more likely than the other?

Take a look at A La Mode de France (which is not synonymous with Nonesuch).
You will see that in the second verse portion, the text actually ways something
like "side right and left".  This dance is the only one in the 1st edition
that actually gives these directions, however many of us who side to line up right
shoulders (which some of us confusingly call "side left" because you are walking
left to line up right shoulders) might well take this instruction to mean to walk
to the right, and so line up left shoulders.

However, take a further peek at the third verse instructions - something like "arm
*BY* the right and left" (emphasis on the "by" is mine).  Again, those of us who
arm left by taking right arms and walking left are quite happy with this instruction,
and so we can in reasonable faith take it that "side right and left" means "side to
line up right shoulders and then left" ... even if only because we're trying to
justify our way of doing things.

Does that help?

(And yes, the other verbiage in A La Mode de France is very confusing, but if you
parse it right it comes out fine in the end.)

> Thanks to all who respond.
> -- Cai o'r Llyn
> Dancemaster, Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands

   \\Dafydd Cyhoeddwr, Dance Teacher, Barony Bhakail, East

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