[SCA-Dance] Sca-dance Digest, Vol 112, Issue 7

Justin du coeur jducoeur at gmail.com
Fri May 1 10:43:37 EDT 2015

On Fri, May 1, 2015 at 10:07 AM, Barbara Webb <bwebb at inf.ed.ac.uk> wrote:

> I think one reason the undercut (or some form of 'step-together-step') for
> piva tends to recur is that people make their steps too large. Doing three
> passing steps at piva tempo is quite difficult if you are not used to it.
> I find emphasising that the individual steps should be quite small (at
> least when starting out) helps a lot to counteract this tendency.

Huh.  YMMV, but my experience is the opposite -- folks tend to gradually
turn the cut-under into a skipping step, which sometimes gets *huge* when
they get enthusiastic about it.

I find that teaching the steps as written tends to constrain step size
somewhat.  We take piva to be exactly a quick double step (which the
sources suggest), and we teach the down-flat-up rising double step quite
early on.  That tends to become down-up-up at piva tempo, so you're doing
most of the step on the balls of your feet, which in my experience *tends*
to make my steps a bit smaller.  Not Caroso-level tiny, but not great

> There is
> probably also, to some extent, a carry over from other forms of dance
> where 6/8 rhythm will often go along with a cut-step - and if some members
> of the group are confidently (if mis-guidedly) doing this, others will
> copy them, and pick up a habit that is very hard to break.

*That* I totally believe.  Indeed, I've always assumed that this tendency
was basically the 16th century spezzato sneaking into 15th century dances
simply because it sounded right, and spreading through osmosis.  Which I
don't mind overmuch -- I treat the SCA as a living dance tradition to some
degree -- but I like to make sure I'm usually *teaching* the best
interpretation I know.

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