Atlantia Twelfth Night event report for Performing Arts

The Performing Arts community achieved new heights at this year’s Twelfth Night event in the Barony of Sacred Stone! Peruse the pictures below and watch out for these gentles in the coming months if you want to come join in the fun!
1) European Dance! Sacred Stone’s own Lady Elizabeth of Northumberland led the dancing with excellent teamwork and support from Lady Nicolosa d’ Isenfir, our Royal Player in Dance. These two ladies brought dance education and graceful leadership to the event such that over 50 people got to enjoy the noble art of dance at the evening ball.

 

2) The dancing was supported by skillful and joyful efforts of Mistress Azza and the pick-up dance band under her direction! Ten instrumentalists followed Azza’s fearless direction and organization to produce high energy, live dance music deep into the night. Mistress Azza also serves as a Royal Player and will be producing live pickup bands at more events in the future. Watch for her at Ymir!

3) Our Royal Player in Theater, Lady Meriorie Matheson, produced an enlightening competition for actors to present their favorite Shakespeare pieces! Nine actors presented a wide variety of scenes from The Bard. The winner of the competition was a pair of amazing actors, Lady Machteld Cleine and an SCA newcomer, Cody, portraying Benedict and Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing. See the video clip of their scene here:  https://www.facebook.com/Lara.Coutinho.Orange/videos/1877274525623126/?l=6072083277919904046

It’s one of the most excellent pieces of theater I’ve seen at an SCA event in years! These still pics are of some of the other excellent monologues.

  

 

    

4) One of Sacred Stone’s multi-talented performers, Lord Akiyama Kazuhiko, took on the great challenge of producing the Twelfth Night Murder Mystery play… and it was a hoot! The cast was talented and engaging as they kept us laughing and guessing at the causes of sudden death all day.

 

5) The Royal Bard competition proceeded per tradition at Twelfth Night with a long list of talented participants. Royal Bards for 2016, Lord Gideon ap Stephan and Master Ruaidhri an Cu, presented three brilliant performers to Their Majesties for the final competition during feast that night. Despite the most extremely challenging conditions of noise and interruptions in the feast hall, all three competitors, Lord Hakon Erfikvaethiskald, Harper an Cu, and Lord Richard Wyn, proved worthy of the position. The young lady Harper An Cu finished the evening with the title of Royal Bard!

6) The Rotunda, the circular area between the staircase and hall of art, hosted a non-stop stream of performers bringing music to the people throughout the day. Performers in the Rotunda included: Lord Johann von Solothurn, Cornelia Caeciliana, Baroness Margaret Cochrane, Baroness Morgan Wolfsinger, and the amazingly talented instrumental group Lillies Among Thorns!

7) The lunchtime tavern also brought some musical thrills when “Painted Wheel” band took the stage and kept the lunch patrons entertained!

8) Laughter brought the event to new heights with i Firenzi’s performance of Italian, 16th Century, improvised comic Commedia dell’ Arte in the afternoon’s play “Arlecchino of La Mancha!” The premier of this play included many new commedia actors enjoying their first performance. We were blessed by the presence and service of a silent herald who interpreted the whole improvised show into sign language! A special moment was also brought to us when the final scene was interrupted (with permission of the director) by Their Excellencies of Windmasters’ Hill bringing an award to one of our actors in the name of TRMs. Lord Jaume de Monco was honored with an Award of the Coral Branch for his many artistic talents including acting, stage magic, bardic performance, and brewing. See the video of the whole play and Jaume’s honoring here:  https://youtu.be/MKedlRJ-VwQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twelfth Night again brought too much fun to cram into one day! Many thanks to the event’s Autocrat, Baroness Caitlin Macdonoughue for her tireless efforts at organizing and providing event space for the Performing Arts Community to enjoy their arts!

By Lady Evelynn Merrymet

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) dance community has been learning and teaching English dances for as long as there has been an SCA. That would be 50 years this coming spring. Most commonly taught are what is known as English Country Dances (ECD) which we take from the first edition of the Playford dance manuals first published in 1651. These were then ­traditional dances done by the gentry in their country homes. Stylistically, they are often for 2, 3 ,or 4 couples, never 1. We also have the 10 dances from the Inns of Court that were taught in the London law schools and known by all the nobility of England in the 16 couples, all doing the same thing. The 4 Inns of Court still stand and still teach, but only law these days, not dance. Check them out if you ever make it to London. The ancient trees alone are worth the side trip.

Then in 1995 someone in England was looking through some old ledger books from what is now the Gresley estates. Where they recorded how many sheep, how much grain, and the like that were harvested that year and they noticed there was something stuck into the ledger sheets. “What’s this?” It was dance notes written by the scribe who was learning to dance. Paper was expensive and so the scribe used the masters ledger sheets. Now we have student notes for 26 dances we never heard of before! Wow ­ cutting edge stuff for a historical society. One problem, however, was that with the normal language drift over so much time we don’t know what many of the words mean in terms of dance. What is a trace or a tret or a rak? So several people went to work on the text. The notes also included music for some of the dances so the music geeks went to work on that. Another problem was that the music did not always correspond to the dances. Two of those people live together with their son in Canada. She is a dance teacher. He is an accomplished period musician. Mistress Emma Dansmeyla and Master Martin Bildner worked on this project for 12 years and are nearly finished with the book and CD set that many of us are waiting for.

A few years into the project they started teaching the dances they had worked out. They released Ly Bens Distonys early on and the SCA dancers embraced it. Later on, with more experience working with the other dances, Emma and Martin would now interpret Ly Bens differently but it is too late ­ we already know it this way so that is what we do. They brought some of the Gresley dances to a Known World Dance and Music Symposium a few years back and I took the classes they offered. I was intrigued and learned as many as I could. Although they also supplied sheet music for the dances they taught, I do not have any live music at my local dance practice so I could not teach them. The next Pennsic and the next Known World Dance and Music symposium I followed Emma and Martin and begged them for recorded music. They were not ready with any of the music for publication but they burned me a copy of a practice CD they use for Emma to teach when Martin cannot come along. Here is a link to one of their handouts

http://rendance.gyges.org/content/seven_gresley_dances/KWDS_VIII_Notes.pdf

Armed with Emma’s magnificent notes and that CD, I started promoting Gresley dances in the Kingdom of Atlantia (SCA). I have been teaching 7 dances from the set for several years now at the University of Atlantia and at events and at Known World, and Pennsic if Emma is not going to be there.

Their book is mostly complete. I now have a copy for proofreading purposes. I hope to learn all the dances from the book and give them feedback as to the learnability of the notes for the proof reading before the final printing. My Lord, Master Stefan of Cambion, will do the spelling and grammar stuff I am not to be trusted with. I have now gotten through and taught the 8 dances Emma describes as easy and several of the moderate ones. Winter should be a good time to work on that. It is a very good thing we built a dance floor in the basement of our house, don’t you think?

I do not have the sources or the research Emma and Martin used. You will need to catch up with them if you have questions regarding the original text or the reconstruction process. I just teach Gresley. You can contact them at:

Emma Dansmeyla (Sarah Scroggie)  Sarah.Scroggie AT gmail DOT com

They are of course not the only folks doing this reconstruction.  Mistress Judith of Northunbria found Cait Webb and Chris Elmes in Scotland doing the same kind of work with predictably different results. They are both mostly period musicians and the music and dance steps they produced is more complex. They played and taught at the most recent Known World Music and Dance Symposium in Germany last April that Judith autocrated. I took the classes and enjoyed them immensely. They are delightful folks and truly fine musicians. Judith likes the complexity they bring to the Gresley. I, on the other hand, am in it for the joy of the dance, and the pleasure it give me to promote dance to the populace at large, and newbies in particular. That will be easier with Emma and Martin’s work so that is what I will be teaching.

Cait and Chris have published a manual and a CD with 5 or 6 Gresley dances in the mix of other period dances. They have some of the original wording, pdfs of music and downloadable recordings. They can be reached at  www.gaita.co.uk  or  Info@gaita.co.uk

One of my students, Wenllyan Goch, has found a CD with all 26  dances on it. The group is The York Waits. The CD is called Cherwell Thy Wyne, Dances of Fifteenth­century England from the Gresley manuscript. Wenllyan is trying to get a bulk rate to get more than the one copy of the CD. I will use it until I get an updated and more complete version of the Martin’s music.

I have one other lead. I was told at the last University that a group of Morris dancers under one Rose Moresk (if I have the spelling right) are working up the Gresley dances in somewhat different reconstruction.

When you search for Gresley Dance Manuscript you get 1,640,000 hits. I could spend weeks full time weeding those out for you and make this a better document. I would never catch up since new ones are added all the time. I want to teach dance and do my part of the proofreading.

As always, the historical dances we do are subject to interpretation. Different reconstructors, different teachers, different regions are bound to do them differently, as I am sure was true in period. That adds to the richness of the dance heritage and while it may put you off balance on the dance floor on occasion, we have all been there and no one will mind. Just listen to what the teacher is saying and try to do it their way so we don’t run into each other in the line and all will be well. By the way, it is a good idea to be sure you are all dancing the same version in a set, especially if you go out of your Kingdom.

The dances include 8 easy or very easy dances, 11 moderate, and 7 difficult dances. All of the dances are for 2 or 3 people. This will be very welcome to those of us teaching dance, since very often we find we do not have critical mass for our four couple dances. This will also make for many more dances we can teach at demos to random people from the crowd. The easy ones are really easy. Among the easy dances is New Year which would be boring unless you take it as a danced for drunkards and everybody pretends to be very drunk while they do it.  Many of these dances have interesting little quirks, once you get into the moderate and difficult dances. I like the funky hey in Armynn very much. Those moves may take a few tries to get, but they are fun and very worth the effort. I have taken to using some of the 1500 language for calling the dances. For example trett is enterpreted as a single. So trett, retrett, is a single forward and back. Trett, retrett is easier to call than single forward, single back and it feels good to use the original language.

I am delighted to be working with Emma and Martin’s book for many reasons but let me give you a few. They have included three tables of dances at the beginning of the book. One with the dances in the order they appeared in the manuscript. One that gives the dances in alphabetical order, and one for the musicians, giving the source of the music they are using either original from the manuscript or from other sources. They have given an introduction to the book and to each dance describing their process in reconstruction. Best of all is the instruction for each dance. These include, the original text, the musical section for each part of the dance, modern language for their reconstruction and diagrams with little people and arrows to show you what is going on at each step. I love the handouts this produces for teaching.

So, in conclusion. This is really fun to be working on totally new stuff in the dance community. I am having a good time learning and teaching it. I hope to get through my part of the proofreading this winter or at least make a grand attempt. Wish me luck.

In service to the dream,

Evelynne Merrymet

(Evelynn does not maintain an online presence, but she does teach dance at nearly every Atlantia University session, so you can catch up with her there if you’d like to continue the conversation with her about Dances from the Gresley Manuscript.  If you leave comments here, I’ll do my best to get those comments to her on your behalf – Sophia)

Here are all the Performing Arts activities in chronological order. Some locations DID change since we lost use of Vingulf Hall, so please watch for announcements, signs, and disturbances in the force to inform you of location changes once you get to site! Friday night Vingulf Hall activities moved to the Picnic Shelter “Madrassa” and Saturday night Vingulf Hall activities moved to the Bardic Center tent. See notes in red below.

FOR ALL PERFORMANCES AND CLASSES – BRING YOUR OWN CHAIR!!!

Activity Name Day and Time Location
Hofla Dance Band Practice Thursday 2:00 – 3:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Beginner’s Dance Class Friday 9:00 – 11:00am Bardic Center tent
European Dance Pick Up Band rehearsal Friday 12:00noon – 3:00pm Castle
Introduction to Middle Eastern Dance class Friday 1:00 – 2:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Improvisation Skills class Friday 1:00 – 2:00pm Bardic Center tent
Who’s Line Doth It Be Anyway show Friday 2:00 – 3:00pm Bardic Center tent
Tribal Improv with Sagat Friday 2:00 – 3:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Hofla Dance Band Practice Friday 3:00 – 4:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Unbelted Bardic Tournament Friday 3:00 – 5:00pm Bardic Center tent
European Dance Practice Ball with Pick Up Band Friday 7:00 – 10:00pm Castle
Bardic Smackdown War Point Competition Friday After the Torchlight Tourney Castle Courtyard
Bawdy Bardic By Ky (Adult Only) Friday 8:00 – 9:30pm (approx.) Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Rabble Rousing skits (Adult Only) Friday 9:30 – 10:00pm (approx.) Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
i Firenzi Commedia dell’ Arte show (Adult Only) Friday 10:00pm – ?? Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Dances for Odd Numbers class Saturday 10:00 – 11:00am Bardic Center tent
Atlantia Performers Guild meeting Saturday 11:00am – 12:00noon Bardic Center tent
European Dance Pick Up Band rehearsal Saturday 12:00noon – 3:00pm Castle
Intro to Commedia dell’ Arte class Saturday 12:00 -1:00pm Bardic Center tent
Bardic Madness Challenges Saturday 12:00 – 2:00pm Class A tent
Iron Commedia class/practice Saturday 1:00 – 4:00pm Bardic Center tent
Bardic 101/102 class Saturday 2:00 – 3:00pm Class A tent
Hofla Dance Band Practice Saturday 2:00 – 3:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Research for Performers class Saturday 3:00 – 4:00pm Class A tent
Belly Dance Drills Saturday 4:00 – 5:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Iron Commedia performance Saturday 4:15 – 4:45pm (approx.) Wherever Royal Court is
European Dance Masked Ball with Pick Up Band – Children start at 7:00pm; Adults start at 7:30pm. Saturday 7:00pm – 10:00pm Castle
Middle Eastern Dance Hofla Saturday starting at 8:00pm Picnic Shelter / “Madrasa”
Inter-baronial Bardic Champions Competition Saturday 9:00pm – 9:30pm Bardic Center tent
Bards and Brewers Concert at the White Phoenix Inn Saturday 9:30pm – ??? Bardic Center tent
Pouring Sophie into a cup of coffee… Sunday starting at noon… Windmasters’ Hill Camp

 

Bardic Madness Challenges have been posted!  Lady Scholastica challenges the bards and performers of Atlantia to the following Fyts of Madness:

  • A Tale a Tale, My Kingdom for a Tale (Pass the Tale)
    • All those who wish to participate get up together and tell a tale from beginning to end. The challenge’s patron will ‘conduct’ by pointing to the person whose turn it is to continue the tale, and deciding when it is time to end the tale.
  • Descriptionary
    • Sometimes words have hidden meanings and it will be up to our team to define their given word, one word at a time to the audience until the word is completely defined.
  • Wisdom is Often Fleeting
    • Aesop a mere slave, is credited for presenting teaching stories with a touch of wisdom so for this challenge you would be wise to come with a prepared Aesop story to tell. Stories should be five minutes or less.
  • Shakespeare on the Fly
    • No preparation, for you will be handed a piece by Shakespeare and must stand and perform on the fly after 60 seconds. Sing it, dramatize it …own it.

Rules of the Challenge:

  1. This is a challenge and not a competition. If you are playing then you have already won.
  2. Challenges are designed to encourage you to try your hand at something new, to stretch yourself, to enjoy, and to celebrate the creative spirit.
  3. Follow as closely as you can to the instructions as possible.
  4. In order to allow the largest number of people to participate, prepared entries should be limited to five minutes or less (that includes the introduction).

 

If you are a Baronial Champion for your Barony in the Performing Arts, and if you wish to compete in Saturday night’s Inter-baronial Bardic Champions Competition, please be sure to sign up with the MC, Lady Sophia the Orange NO LATER THAN 12:00noon on Saturday!  Please send email ahead of time to  dmoas-performance AT atlantia.sca.org OR leave an UNMISTAKABLE message at Windmasters Hill Camp.

 

DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK QUESTIONS!  Numerous folks are well versed in this whole program and ready to answer your questions! Please contact any or all of the following people to ask questions or advice on the best way to get the best bang for your buck per minute of fun at War of the Wings!

Lady Sophia the Orange, Whole Program and Commedia: dmoas-performance AT atlantia.sca.org

Lord Johann von Solothurn, Bardic Classes and Competitions: RoyalBard AT atlantia.sca.org

Vrouwe Machteld Cleine, Rabble Rousing: faerieeva AT hotmail.com

Lady Scholastica Joycors, Bardic Madness: totallystories AT gmail DOT com

Reynsa Kyferin, European dance band: meganfair.clarinet AT gmail DOT com

Lady Elizabeth de Northumberland, European Dance: mills_se AT yahoo.com

Mistress Azza: Middle Eastern Dance Hofla and Dance Band

Baroness Alianor of Sacred Stone, Bardic Smackdown War Point Competition:  https://sites.google.com/site/sscoronets/contact

The rule of the day at this event is to be as flexible, forgiving, and polite as possible to your fellow SCA volunteers. This event has had some rocky changes to juggle at the last minute, so please keep lines of communication open as we juggle and squeeze as much fun into these few days as possible!

Thanks for playing!

Lady Sophia the Orange

War of the Wings, Deputy Village Steward for Performing Arts

Kingdom of Atlantia, Minister of Arts and Sciences, Deputy for Performing Arts

Capocomico, i Firenzi

Fan of Anything That Comes To Life On Stage!

Herein contains a report on the performing arts activities made known to me for two Atlantian events on the day of January 24, 2015:

The Barony of Storvik held the event “Storvik Song and Dance – All The World’s A Stage” where a wide variety of performances entertained the people including dance, music, theater, and more!

This portion of the report is submitted by Lady Teleri the Well-Prepared (and boy is she!).

First, Their Excellencies of Storvik, Griele and Badouin, opened the event, welcoming all to the hall.

Yves de Fortanier, come from Meridies, and Mirabella taught an Absolute Beginner Dance Class lasting one hour.

The populace, having ignored the rows of chairs facing the stage in favor of the tables along the walls, dictated a shift in venue for the performances from the stage to the dance floor. (Note to the populace: if chairs are set up on purpose for performances by the events staff, chances are good they will provide you the best view of the performance.  Note to event staff: if the populace votes with their feet regarding where they want to sit, regardless of your best laid plans, make note of their behavior and adjust plans for the next event. Ed.)

In the first block of performances, each 20 minutes in length:

  • Lady Swannoc Beag regaled the hall with a story of her experiences with the Ghost of the Dulin Waters, the eye(s) of St. Amblyopia, and the power of compassion.
  • Lord Richard Wyn sang, with and without his guitar, songs of the current Middle Ages and the Tudor era.
  • Members of Clan Cambion (having recorded their names without their many honorifics as Igor, Fevronia Murometsa, Volodya of Cambion, Gwaithin of Cambion, and James of Rutland) did perform harmonies both rousing and sublime.

Yves de Fortanier did teach the dances “Goddesses” and “Hide Park” in a class lasting one half hour.

In the second block of performances, each as long as those in the first set:

  • Vagando Stolti, a commedia dell’arte troupe in Lochmere, did perform three most humorous sketches, alerting the audience to the dangers of feeding one’s dragon energy drinks.  Their names be given as Avelina del Dolce, James Butler, Constanza de Talavera, Kalie, and Deryk LeGard.
  • Three Left Feet, a dancing troupe who form the third pillar of Storvik’s Monday practices along with the heavy and rapier fighters, exhibited their precision and grace.  Their names be given as Fred Blonder, Eowyn Ellison, Dale Neiburg, and Melinda Grotsinger.
  • Lord Maugorn the Stray, playing tambourine, guitar and harmonica all at once, sang a trio of pieces.  At one point, needing a member of the audience to play the vuvuzela, Baron Baduin did volunteer – and revealed that Storvik’s ring-giver is a man of many talents, including the playing of trumpets!
  • Lady Gwen of Lochmere sang some Tudor era songs.  For the first, she was accompanied by Lord Watkin of Kent on mandolin.  Despite the duet being unrehearsed, it was a most delicate and pleasing sound.

Avelina del Dolce did teach Beginning 15th Century Italian Dances, being “Petit Vriens” and “Amoroso,” in a class lasting one half hour, or somewhat more.

In the final block of staged performances:

  • Master Rhuaidhri an Cu told tales and sang songs to the delight of all.
  • Lady Scholastica, having so recently laid aside the responsibilities of Royal Bard, amused and edified the populace with a tale of foolish Jack and his many attempts to bring his wages home.
  • The Performing Artists’ Guild Extraordinaire (PAGE) of Bright Hills played several pieces in a consort of harp, mandolin, and flute.  Their names be given as Yseulte Trevelyn, Reyne Telarius, and Bridgette Cunningham.

Finally, before feast, there was a basic beginner’s dance class.

Many musicians did lend their skill on behalf of the dancers.  With Lord Maugorn the Stray acting as the apparent ringleader, the others whose names I recorded are: Patricia of Trakai, Watkin of Kent, Rose, James of Rutland, Cynthia Anne of Silverlakes, Donal Sutton, Sir Jeff Schmitt, Barbara Schmitt, and Lisbeth of Spinning Winds.

After the potluck feast, I retired to the bardic circle, where 11 good gentles kept company with songs, stories, music and poetry.  I cannot speak to the attendance at the Grand Ball, being as I was not present for it.

All errors, mis-spellings of names, and absent honorifics are my own, and I plead that they are not from any malice but rather the perpetually harried state of the deputy autocrat.

All in all, I have heard that slightly fewer than eighty gentles passed the day with us in good cheer, despite the threat of foul weather.  Their Excellencies of Storvik pronounced themselves well-pleased with the efforts of Lady Sonya (aka: Patches) – indeed, elevating her into their Order of the Lozulet for all her good works – and they desire that the event occur again in the next year.

This being an account as true as I can make it.  Teleri the Well-Prepared; Deputy Autocrat for Performance, Storvik Song and Dance

This portion of the report on dance at Storvik Song and Dance was prepared by Lady Sonya, aka: “Patches”

  • Beginner Dance class taught by Mirabella Walmesley of Grimsby and Yves de Fortanier included Belle Qui Pavanne, Black Alaman, and Hearts Ease.
  • Advanced English Country Dance taught by Yves de Fortanier included Goddesses and Hyde Park.
  • 15th Century Italian Dance taught by Avelina del Dolce.  She did Petit Vriens and Amroso.

More general dance dictated by student requests was taught by Yves, Mirabella, and Patches.

The ball ran for almost 3 hours, with 3 sets.  We did the following dances:

FIRST SET

  • Belle Qui Pavanne
  • Montard Bransle
  • Sellenger’s Round
  • New Boe Peep
  • Black Nag
  • Horse’s Bransle
  • Black Alman
  • Petit Vriens

SECOND SET

  • Gathering Peasecods
  • Amoroso
  • Washer Woman’s Bransle
  • Hide Park
  • Ly Bens Distonys
  • Upon A Summer’s Day

THIRD SET

  • Rufty Tufty
  • Heart’s Ease
  • Rostiboli Gioioso
  • Chestnut
  • Gelosia

Ice Castles Barony of Black Diamond Bardic Competition report – contributions by Their Excellencies Black Diamond and Their Current Bardic Champion, Lord Johann von Solothurn:

Baron Girard and Baroness Maaline had the privilege of observing the bardic competition in the afternoon as well, and after careful consideration they decided that a further competition was needed before a decision regarding the Black Diamond new baronial bardic champion could be made. A second round of competition and decision will be had at Seven Hills Skirmishes (http://acorn.atlantia.sca.org/event_flyer.php?event_id=3a8e3553) on March 21 in Lynchburg, VA .

 

If you have questions about anything posted above or wish to add or offer corrections, please post a comment below!

Sincerely yours

Sophia the Orange