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January 18, 2008


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Susan, you're missing the LJ cut. Don't put the close tag on, just the open tag, and everything below that will be hidden.

Marilee - I'm not putting the close tags on; Typepad is adding them automatically for some reason and I can't seem to get rid of them. I've no idea why the cut tags work in some posts but not others. I'll try to deal with this next week with Typepad tech support.

Oh, that sounds like _so_ much fun! I wish I could be one of your test dancers.

We call it bleeding edge reconstruction - "Okay, now we're going to try something but I don't know if it actually works or not..." My students seem to get a mild thrill out of it, or maybe are just concealing their exasperation really well! There are limits to what one can do with pencil and paper or little chess pieces.

Something interesting they discovered for me at a recent class is that you can actually do the star figure with different numbers of couples - it just either leaves you with a different partner at the end or requires a different number of repeats to get you home. Not a period variation, but it was an amusing diversion!

Oh, that was fun (the reconstruction, I mean; the figure still is. Not to mention figuring out how to do the star figure with an arbitrary number of couples).

And thinking of modern inventions, like the n-couple star figure, at Arisia, Marc and I and other people were discussing the distinction between historical dance and other (social?) dance, given stuff like being able to reconstruct 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's dance -- that being that in historical dance, you're concerned foremost with replicating what was done, and secondarily with functionality, beauty, elegance, fun, etc. (that being both a selector of -which- things that were actually done you want to do, and a tool toward figuring out what was done). Whereas in social dance, you can use historical dance as a jumping off point, but what was done is secondary to other considerations.

One of the advantages of "fantasy dances" such as the "Goblin Ball" at this past Arisia and the Kushiel ball you're running at Lunacon is that you can use historical research while not being bound by it -- leaving room open for originality and improvement where desired or needed.

And thanks for the credit, and you're very welcome!

I think you don't want to set "social" and "historical" in opposition to each other; one term refers to how a dance is used (social vs. theatrical) and the other to its time period (historical vs. modern). An 1860s reenactment ball and a goblin ball are both social events with social dancing, merely of varying degrees of historicity. Modern social dance, folk dance (though that's acquired a term-of-art meaning nowadays that one has to be careful of), community dance, living tradition dance (for forms which never died and are still evolving), etc. Some historical dance forms are revived and then acquire ahistorical variations which grow into traditions which make them effectively living tradition modern forms - you can see some of this in the SCA (partner-swapping in the Bransle de l'Official) and in "vintage dance" as well.

Fair, yeah, was just trying to figure out the right words.

Susan at 2:25 in the video above (and maybe at other times, this is the one that caught my attention) the dancers do a balancé and turn. The end of the first Lancers figure has a corner balancé and turn. I think I will teach it holding a left hand as in the video. It makes more sense to me (and more fun) than facing your corner with less connection and doing a balancé at them and then turning two hands.

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