[SCA-Dance] Dancing at non-dance events

David Learmonth david.a.learmonth at gmail.com
Tue Jan 21 08:20:11 EST 2014

Hi Patches!

It definitely happens in a lot of places.  Ealdormere used to have dance at
events, when I joined the SCA in 1996.  I started trying to keep it alive
when I had enough knowledge / confidence by around 1999 / 2000, but it
slowly declined regardless.

We do have dance at events, sometimes, though it is often the core ringers,
plus a few extra people.  12th nights have the best potential.

It often helps to have something booked in the afternoon, as you've seen
the issues that happen after feasts.

We're trying to reinvigorate it by bringing in a standard set of dances
again that everyone should know, hoping that will help participation.

I think that there are Many potential reasons why we've seen this happening
in general.  I don't know which are most critical, but here are a few I've
- longer, more impressive feasts
- an older SCA crowd:
  - more children to get home earlier
  - fewer people looking for dates perhaps?  :)
- less alcohol at events?
- fewer post-revs, so more people rushing home instead of staying near by
- event sites closing earlier
- a general view in some areas that "fighters don't dance", or something
like this.  (I have heard this expressed in some places, even though it
completely is NOT the truth of what would have been in Period!)
- we did move away from doing the GOOP dances, which it is funny, but they
did have a certain cache it seems.  (but this isn't all of it, as I've
tried using them in my selection as well, but it doesn't seem sufficient).

I'm trying to remember which other factors I've considered.  I've given it
a decent amount of thought over the years.  It is also possible that Dance,
has become like any other A&S activity, where some people dabble, but
mostly you get a small percentage of the SCA who really focus on it, and
that is it?

Actually, so regarding the prevalence of Dance-themed events, many of these
have been around for quite a few years now.  (Terp XX this year).  So I'm
not certain if they are a response to a lack of dancing at general events.
 I'd say that they are more filling a Need for all us dance geeks, who
desire to learn more and take things to the next level.  Certainly I find
it awesome that people travel from such great distances for a good dance
event.  Great way to share knowledge, and wonderful source of enjoyment.  :)

When we had KWDS up here, I was pleased with how it ran, but disappointed
that we were unable to get more drop-in traffic from local SCA groups.  I
feel that, being such a Grand Event, it is one that can be a catalyst for
local dancing at non-dance events.  Because so often now, our events have
not been in the most spectacularly Period of spaces, and while Camping
events are great for Atmosphere, there is nothing to compare with having a
Grand Ball, with wonderful dancers decked out in their finery, Musicians
from around the known world, and likely a grand ballroom.  I think it is a
piece of the dream that we are looking for, and that it could have been
effective to inspire local SCAdians to the fun and beauty of Dance again.
 Perhaps creating the right atmosphere at local events could help in this

But yes, otherwise, I'm still thinking that bringing in more young people
 (we need a Major recruiting drive at universities and colleges), might be
the best route to go, if possible.  I've run Dance at an Anime convention
in Toronto for the past 6 years, and I get around 400 very willing
participants, many coming back year after year, and ALL joining in!  It is
insane, and the kids LOVE it!

Maybe some kind of cross-pollination would help, I don't know?

Personally, if I had the time, I'd really like to start a local chapter
where I am now, and perhaps lay a foundation from the start that includes
dance and music.  Seems that we have to change the SCA Culture back to that
sort of thing, to be effective at this.  I'm wondering if the impact of
North American culture may also play a role.  Folk Dance seems bigger in
Greece and other places as more acceptable than here.

I know that Judith definitely had more success in Europe with getting
everyone dancing, even the fighters!

But then, some places that have had more success, also seem to have more of
a Period focus.  Might be another influence.

Sorry to ramble on.  If you figure out a solution, let me know!  I
definitely think your Ball at Pennsic helps!

P.S.  I've felt guilty before for running dance at the end of an event,
while others are cleaning up.  Not sure what to do about that issue.  But I
am providing a service there as well.  Perhaps events are too short staffed?
P.P.S.  Oh yeah, just remembered that, I think there used to be a LOT more
dance back when each local group had their own Dance Teacher.  Lately, at
least around here, we have a handful of us scattered around, but not a
local one for each particular event, and not a local practice in each area,
just a few in our kingdom total.

On Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 5:34 PM, Sonya <patches023 at verizon.net> wrote:

> Greetings,
> I would love to get a discussion going about dancing at non-dance themed
> events (i.e. 12th nights, local baronial events, etc.).  Maybe my
> experience
> is not the norm.  However, when I have attended an event that is not dance
> focused, such as the ones listed above, the dancing is usually scheduled
> for
> right after the feast and it only happens 20 percent of the time.  What
> usually happens is that court runs long or the feast runs long or both run
> long and then everyone wants to pack up and go home or people need to help
> clean up in the kitchen (which IS a very worthwhile thing to do) and
> dancing
> is dropped.
> Is this something that just happens in Atlantia (I admit that I do not
> travel outside of Atlantia for non-dance events)?  Have others found this?
> How can we as a dance community address this?  I suspect this issue is why
> there are many dance themed events. At dance themed events, the ball
> happens
> because that is the focus of the event.
> Any ideas would be appreciated.
> YIS,
> Lady Patches
> PS. I hope this doesn't come off as a slam or insult to non-dance events or
> stewards of those events. I know that everyone works very hard to put on
> the
> best event they can and something has to give. I am wondering how the thing
> that gives can stop being dancing.
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