westdance: Thoughts on 15c Italian for KWDS?

Cin cinbarnes at gmail.com
Tue May 8 20:37:40 PDT 2007

On 5/8/07, Matthew Larsen <matt1.larsen at gmail.com> wrote:
> I guess I feel like we have a good idea about the kind of patterns
> people would have improvised just because we have so many variations
> that were written down.  Of course, what people write down is often
> more refined and complex than what they improvise, but it at least
> gives an idea of what they were aiming at.  With the 15th c. stuff, we

Careful there, you're reading intent merely because a book is famous
*to us*.  We do not know whether Lady Whatnot or Lord Whosit thought
the author important, interesting or even relevant. Oh, sure we know
Domenico da Ferrara was at the Duke Court in Ferrare, but did the
Gonzagas of Mantua think him interesting, <shrug> or horrible merely
because his patron was an Este?  Betcha it differs whether or not the
current wife, best friend, in-law was an Este relative or estranged
somehow from the family. Either family.

You have only to read the letters from the Borgia pope to his children
to get a glimpse of the inter-family, intra-family & court politics.

Geoffrey> don't even have unequivocal descriptions of the basic steps, much less
> what people were improvising off of the basic.

We do too know what steps someone (not necessarily all of "they" but
at least a few) of "they") thought fit together.  We make fun of the
"bookending" style of bassedanse, or the "cant have a reverence
without a few contenenza". We've noted that trabs tend to follow
passi, and so on.

Geoffrey>>...  I'm wondering if you can give people a start on the
>>improvisation part _before_ they can even do two different steps.

I think yes. This is what I tried in the class I ran 2 yrs ago at day
of Crosston Ball.  I think I bit off more than *they* could chew. (I
only had an hour and over-did the theory bit.)  Mea culpa and I
learned something from the process.  That said, we didnt provide any
opportunities for "freestyle sauterello" or whatever it was called at
the time.

Xtal>I can imagine how you'd teach it just like teaching swing or
>waltz variations. Do four of these standard galidards, then four...

Touche, madame.  Five bucks says not one of them said: "Lets recreate
a ball just like so and so did".  Betcha they downed a glass of wine,
grabbed a partner and danced for the joy & flirtaciousness of it.
Betcha choreo was the *exception* not the rule.

Greg>That's what I call a "vague idea", since he only describes moving
> forward and a conversion for turning around. And for the Almain you
>have that kissing game, again only a "vague idea".

Hmm, I'm going to have to read some of this stuff.  <sigh>  It's so
much more fun to dance, tho'.
Cynthia Barnes
CinBarnes at gmail.com

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