[SCA-Dance] Retconning Nika Nika?

Tim McDaniel tmcd at panix.com
Mon Apr 30 12:24:49 EDT 2012

In a dance group I was in a couple of decades ago, and Nika Nika
Bransle was popular there.  I like it.  It's a fun bransle and pretty
simple, and I think the switching between sideways and forward makes
it much easier on the calves than the common Arbeau bransles.  It's
still popular in Shadowlands, which has lots of energetic college

But I don't know from bransles.  Is it at all reasonable as a
period-style bransle?

I just spent a few minutes Googling things.  For background, a message
from this list from August 23, 2003, says

     Re: [SCA-Dance] I am looking for the sheet music to several dances--
     > Nika Nika Bransle is, AFAIK, an SCA invention, although the
     > music may be period.
     > Quen Quer Que in period music, but the choreography is SCA.

     These are both my inventions, just to keep the record straight.

     Nika was created for a demo for Dr. Barbara Hanawalt's 14th
     century English history course "Knights Peasants and Bandits" in
     about 1979/1980. QQQ was created just because the tune was so damn

     The tune for the Nika Bransle is Nou Pourier Ana Plus Mau,
     allegedly a 15th century Provencal song, according to the record
     it was on. I have not been able to trace the tune or the song down

     --Sion Andreas

His article at http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/lod/vol3/brawling.html
suggests it's not really period style:

     Bransle Nou Pourier Ana Plus Mau (Also called the Nika-Nika
     Dl, Sr, Dl, Sr (that twice through) :
     D in, D out, S in, S out (that twice through.)

     [Mimed bransle: C (2xS) M (Fx2)
     I class this as a mimed bransle simply because it is nothing else.
     There are shades of Melusine Wood in this bransle, a normal
     "Single Bransle" which uses the same proportion for the
     pseudo-processional going into and out of the circle.  This
     in-and-out is unprecedented in Orchesographie.  The name means
     approximately, "Things can't get any worse".]

Though I note

     An interesting consideration is that two of these bransles were so
     "popular" that they broke with the pure form and used as their
     steps not the bransle repertoire steps, but rather the steps of
     two of the more popular light dances of the day, the coranto and
     the allemande.

Rostiboli Gioioso was danced from the 1400s in Italy and satirists
could make jokes about it as removed as England in 1600.  So clearly
Sion Andreas simply took the start sequence from Rawty / Roti Loli Joy
/ the Gresley version of Rostiboli Gioioso and reversed it.

     Trett, retrett togedder
     Then thre singlis with a stope, and thre retrettes with a stop
     both to gedder in the sam wis agayn

We have Rostiboli in 15th C Italian, Burgundian basse dance, and
Gresley -- why not a bransle?  Maybe someone can whip up an alman
version too.  Or Alina can do a cascarde descendent.

Danet (warning: unmarked humor) de Linccolne
Tim McDaniel, tmcd at panix.com

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