[SCA-Dance] Misc. questions from KWDS - Leading and repeating in 15th c. dance/Amoroso

Rachel/Judith judithsca at aol.com
Mon Apr 27 04:46:50 EDT 2015

 Again, since my name is getting tossed around on the question of leading, I thought I would once more comment here (although I do not have much more time for this, sadly. The reporting and followup for KWDS is pretty extensive)

 Denyel de Lyncoln asked about leading in 15th c. dance, to which 

Mary Railing (Urraca) replied:

  I'm not so sure about the
"leading" thing. I seem to recall references to the lady leading the repeat of
the dance, using the verb "guider", which doesn't necessarily mean leading in
the sense of "preceding". However, after skimming through various dances, I
haven't found an example of this. Now I'm wondering if our practice of repeating
the dance with the lady leading is the exception rather than the rule with these


I do not recall the word "guider" (which strikes me as french and not Tuscan) from the sources, but I do not have all my books here with me in Spain. What I do know from what I do have here is the phrase "and the man sends the lady forward" or "they dance it again and the woman goes forward", among other phrasing (all with the word "imnanzi", i.e. forward). This phrase tends to appear in dances that end with the woman having assumed the left position in the couple. The left position is often refered to in the Italian as being "above" (disopra) and the right position is often refered to as being "below", and sometimes as "in front" and "behind", which I said in my class "Regilding the lilly" might imply that the left person is actually leading the right person from a slightly front position - a theory for which I have visual evidence in which couples dancing feature the man leading the lady, with his hand over top of hers. Not to mention that "sending forward" certainly conjures images of one person being ahead of the other. Now, I was clear in my class that this was a theory on which I was working, and I did not mean to imply that this is set in stone, and the only way form up for a dance, i.e. with one person ahead of the set. However, the nuances and subtleties of language do need to be taken into consideration (translation being my profession...), and there might well be a very tangible reason why "above/ahead/in front" are all synonymous with "on the left", and vice-versa for "on the right".
     Regarding repeats...Specifically in the version of Amoroso that I taught, it ends with the statement that the closing figure puts the woman forward - you are correct, it does not explicitly state that there is a repeat in this instance, but for nearly all of the other dances I have read and reconstructed ending with the woman forward/above, they generally come with the instruction to repeat the dance, someties explicitly stating until everyone has had their turn to lead, or something along those lines (for dances with sets of three or multiple couples, for instance). I therefore feel that Amoroso should repeat to return the universe to its zero state, as it were.
    There are even instances in which one or several versions of the dance do not specify a repeat, and other versions do - so it could be a case of either distinctions in custom by region and/or time, or the fact that repetition was so common that they author felt no need to explicitly state it. Certain sources, for instance, tend to explcitily always state a repeat for ay given dance, while the other sources say nothing of it at all, even though they do say that the dance ends with the woman "forward" One dance in particular, Marchesana, has several versions that clearly change across time, the earlier of which has the dancers ending as they did at the beginning, with the woman on the right, while other versions have a figure that puts the woman on the left and states there should be a repeat. A quick scan of Smith's concordance makes it clear which sources tend to demand a repeat, and which ones as a rule do not, even when one repeat of the dance ends with the woman "forward".

Okay, back to the work for which I actually get paid... :-)



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