[SCA-Dance] Goddisses (via Lovelace)

David Learmonth david.a.learmonth at gmail.com
Wed Jul 6 20:53:29 EDT 2011

Neat!  Thanks Dafydd!  I've always found some confusion in that final hey,
this may be a better option.  :)


On Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 8:49 PM, White, John <white at drexel.edu> wrote:

> If anyone has ever wondered just how this popular dance could be for more
> than four or maybe five couples at the most,
> despite the "as many as will" description, it seems as though the Lovelace
> manuscript may provide the answer.
> There are two basic objections to a truly long line trying to do Goddesses
> (Goddisses is the Lovelace spelling) - trying to
> take one line all the way around the other while slipping sideways, and the
> heys.  In the Lovelace manuscript, both have
> a possible solution.
> First, the manuscript indicates that the men (and then the women) are led
> by the first man (or woman) around the other
> gender's line (the first time when they go "halfway", it doesn't actually
> say that, but that the first man shouldn't go farther
> than the last woman).  Playford isn't able to give any real instruction
> here - just indicating that the men go down behind
> the women, and this has become taking hands and slipping sideways, which
> may limit the comfortable speed the line can
> go.  Lovelace's "lead" allows doubling, walking normally, skipping, or
> dashing as required by the length of the line (and,
> of course, decorum), removing that 4 (or 5) couple limit.
> The solution is even better for the hey, though I must admit that it is not
> my own interpretation but a brainstorm of
> Maestra Sara de Bonneville when, at KWDS8, we had reached a bit of an
> impasse on this point.  Lovelace's version of
> the dance is for "at least 10" people, which means that 5 couples isn't a
> maximum but a minimum.  How, then, do you
> do a hey for five or more people in 16 counts?
> The clue is in the instruction:  "do the hey backwards and forwards".  Take
> this instruction, pair it with the pattern of
> the rest of the dance (going halfway around the other gender's line,
> circling first one way, and then the other), and
> the result is startlingly obvious:  rather than trying to complete any form
> of hey in 16 counts, you weave in one direction
> (for the first man, that's down the set, or backwards) for 8 counts, about
> face regardless of where you have ended up,
> and weave for 8 counts back to your place.  Simple, right?
> As a further aid to this maneuver (which isn't quite as simple to do as it
> is to say/describe), each exchange, be it in
> two counts or four counts, should be complete - in other words, you are all
> the way around the person you are
> exchanging with even if you have to scurry to do so - so that when
> reversing course, there is minimal confusion as
> to who you are changing with next and where the line really is.  This isn't
> in the instructions or even absolutely
> necessary if your dancers seem to be able to make do without it, but if you
> decide to try this and run into trouble,
> maybe this aid will help.
> Playford's rigid format and inflexible copyeditors and typesetters forced
> the hey in his version of Goddesses into
> a full single and double hey, which is impossible without some really
> expert maneuvering (like starting at both ends
> and maybe somewhere in the middle as well!) for a long line.  Lovelace
> should allow you to increase the size of
> your Goddesses sets even if you don't decide to use his figures rather than
> Playford's.
> I hope you try this out and like it.  Enjoy!
>        \\Dafydd Cyhoeddwr
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