Dance, Arbeau noted in 1589, is necessary to well-order a society. He then gave a review of the major social dances that order society of his day. Among these dances were 26 varieties of Bransles, line and circle dances of the French court and country that possessed the power of getting numbers of people to move together in a community effort.
These are the only examples of this sort of dance from any period source, and yet we know simply by perusing the iconography that line and circle dances must have been terribly popular. How, then, does one reflect this in dancing in the SCA?
There are traditional line and circle dances that show pronounced relationships to period dances. Miserlou is a Bransle Double, for example, and the Greek Soustra a Bransle Simple. They are simple and show no influence from later popular dances, points which lead me to believe that they either were very old or were, at least, made in an old style, a practice that continues today.
This class will present a few line and circle dances, both traditional and modern, that make a community to move together, something that is missing in many of our dances.
Dansur (Traditional, Faeroe Islands)
[Double left, single right]
Repeat this until end of music.
Rača (Traditional, Serbia)
[Double right, double left, single right, single left, double right]
Repeat beginning to the left, and then alternate right and left beginnings until end of music. Warning, music speeds up.
Djelem djelem (Modern, Serbian tradition, choreographer: Patty Yanich)
[3 steps (4 beats) on left foot, circling backwards, 3 steps (4 beats) on right foot, sideways to the right, 3 steps (4 beats) big cross behind on left foot and 2 recovery steps, 1 step (2 beats) a big step forwards on the right foot]
Repeat this until the end of the music. Note that the steps do not match the music.
The Road to Santiago (Modern, SCA creation, choreographer: Sion Andreas o Wynedd)
[Slow single right (3 beats), 6 grapevine steps left (6 beats), Slow step left (3 beats)]
Repeat until end of music. Note “glitch” in bridge after 4th verse.