A Summary of Dancing at Pennsic 23

Details as recalled by Rosina and Jessa:

Dance was organized by Baroness Jessa d'Avondale, who assembled a book of dance music that musicians could obtain prior to Pennsic.

Evening Dancing:

The "official" evening dancing started on Sunday, August 13, although plenty of dancing was taking place before that. Aside from general "open" evenings, when dances were being taught, there was also a ball of Popular SCA dances sponsored by Clan Blue Feather on Wednesday night, and a Masked Ball on Friday night. For these evenings, programs of dances were organized and teaching was kept to a minimum. Many of the dance teachers volunteered to lead the dancing for specific nights.


The ball was on Friday, Aug 19, scheduled for 9:30, but started at 10 PM, because of the Chartres Cathedral set for the Pennsic Choir, which was very impressive, but we were having problems with people walking the maze in the middle of the dancing .... It also took up room on the floor, and the set designer wanted the walls (cloth) left up as they would make it so pretty, but I wanted them down, because I knew how hot it was going to get. Ended 12 or 12:15.

The paper's report of the ball noted that several popular dances were left off, and 'some that were included, most notably the Italian Renaissance balli, were known to less than a tenth of the crowd.'

Another article noted that there had been a HitW for and against competition, for the second year, as a chirurgeon's fund raiser. It didn't say which day, but I presume at the ball, and the tally was taken at midnight, so I think they did it at the end. 69$ in the for jar, against was 65$, but the musicians donated an extra 10 repeats.

Blue Feather Ball on Aug 17, Weds, was supposed to be a populist ball, 'SCA favorites'. (It was an actual ball, not a party called a ball.)


Classes were scheduled for regular times (11-1 and 2-4 almost every day), so that even if the dancers didn't remember the exact class schedule, they would always know the classes times.

The class schedule & teachers: Sunday PM: English Country Dance 1 – Julianna d'Antioche, Katriona op den Dijk

These dances are not just for peasants; Queen Elizabeth I was quite fond of them. For those dancers who wish to expand their repertoire of English Country Dances. The first 15 minutes of class will be devoted to reviewing the steps, if necessary.

Monday AM: Beginning Dance - Olwen ferch Rhys, Nansie of Woodstock, Umm Yasmine Sahar

Monday PM: Basse Danses - Roselyne de l'Estrangere

These "low dances" were the most popular style of dance in Burgundy, France, Italy, and Spain around the year 1500.

Tuesday AM: Galliards - Henry of Maldon

These quick, light-footed dances are the companions to the more stately Pavans and Almans. This class will present the basic galliard, some variations, and also the Tourdion and the Volta.

Tuesday PM: Beginning Dance - Juliana d'Antioche, Rosina del Bosco Chiaro

This class is targeted at first-time dancers, or those looking for a refresher course. A basic selection of dances will be covered, including Bransles, English Country, Pavans, & Almans. This class will be offered several times during the week, and the dances taught at each session will vary slightly. New dancers are encouraged to attend more than one session.

Wednesday AM: Beginning Dance - Nathan Roselande, Dani of the Seven Wells

Wednesday PM: 15th C. Italian - Rosina del Bosco Chiaro

These lively dances were popu1ar in Italy throughout the 15th century.

Friday AM: 16th C. Italian – Countess Mara

These ornate dances were performed by the nobility in the European courts of the late 16th century.

Friday PM: Beginning Dance - Fred Blonder, Trahaern ap Ieuan, Janelyn of Fenmere

Saturday PM: English Country Dance 2 - Fred Blonder

For those dancers who wish to learn the more challenging English Country Dances. Some previous dance experience (or classes) is strongly recommended.

Other teachers assisted at these classes, including: Guiseppe di Borgia, Katriona ni Chonarain, and Berengaria de Montfort of Carcassonne


The dance teachers met at the end of the week to discuss how the dancing went, overall. From notes taken by Dame Cassandra:

"On the administrative side, having the overall dance coordinator function as a supervisor and not teach dance class or run the evening dancing worked quite well. Keeping things coordinated and running smoothly is a large enough job without trying to do anything else."

"Also administratively, having dance under the umbrella of the arts and sciences autocrat helped to facilitate the smooth running of dance and the coordination between other classes. "

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Gregory Blount of Isenfir (Greg Lindahl)