Monday, November 19, 2007

Crystal Ball Aftermath

I spent last weekend in St. Louis attending the Barony of Shattered Crystal’s dance event, Crystal Ball. For the first time at this event, I actually stayed all the way through the last set. For those not in the know, Crystal Ball is a dance marathon with six sets of about ten dances each. The last set finished at about 4:00 am, and there were still some pick-up dances requested after that.

I didn’t learn a lot of new dances at Crystal Ball; mostly I refreshed myself on some dances that I’ve done a few times but haven’t performed enough to really know them “by heart”. The two new ones for me were a reconstruction of the Spanish Pavan by Mistress Alphia and Gratiosa, which Lady Tsire taught me in a crash course before the Caroso Ball.

Speaking of the Caroso Ball, this was also a first for me. Caroso Ball is a format which I’m considering using for Monday Night at Gulf Wars. Basically, it’s a glorified all-request ball, but it’s still rather fun. Basically, the host chooses a partner and a dance. After that dance, the partner chooses a new partner and dance, and so on through the evening. The number of people on the floor can vary – it doesn’t have to be all couples dances – but who decides what to dance next is always determined by the “line of succession” from the lead couple.

It was, of course, lovely to see Lady Tsire again. I’m sure she won’t take offense when I point out that she’s a Dance Nazi Snob (EDIT: OK, I was wrong). The arguments that come up over whether we should include non-period dances in SCA ball lists always amuse me. I can sympathize with Tsire, too: non-period folk dances certainly can be fun, but that doesn’t mean we should include them on the list for period balls. Some of them are so traditional in the SCA, though, that including them can become a Royal Edict. I’m on the fence about non-period dances; I avoid putting them on my lists, but I don’t boycott them if someone else puts them on their list.

After a few hours of crashing on a futon (thank you again, Tsire), I managed to roll myself home with only one stop along the way for a quick power nap. Now if the soreness in my legs will subside, life will be about back to normal.


Amanda said...

Some of them are so traditional in the SCA, though, that including them can become a Royal Edict.

...which are these?

Lord Runolfr said...

You can be hard-pressed not to include Hole in the Wall and Korobushka. These may be the only dances that some Royals actually know. Hole in the Wall is traditionally the first dance at the Coronation Ball in Meridies.

Hole in the Wall has a relatively mild case of non-period. It's actually an English Country Dance from the English Dancing Master; it just comes from a very late edition, around 1696 if memory serves. Since the earlies documentation of ECDs comes from 1651, it might be forgiven.

Korobushka, on the other hand, dates back to the end of World War II, unless I'm mistaken. It's hideously out of period, but again, it tends to be extremely popular, and it may be the other dance that the Royals know.

Tsire Tuzevo said...

My dear Runolfr,
Thanks for including me in your blog. I do take somewhat small offense at being referred to as a Nazi in any way as I do not espouse genocide nor am I bend upon world domintation of my kind. I've been working hard to erradicate this Seinfeldian phrase from my SCA life.
As per Hole in the Wall it is not technically and English Country Dance but it's progeny, the contra dance from my understanding. The sourse is also closer to 1751 than 1696 in the incarnation that we do it. It's a lovely slow line progression but certainly not on the fence of period in any way.
My advice given the Royal Edict issue is to creat new traditions. Have thoughtfull conversations with crowns, teach, share and nurture period dances and they will become your new traditional favoites.
It was a delight and a half to have you up at Crystal Ball this year and you're welcome anytime.

HL Tsire Tuzevo - Dance Monkey of Calontir.