The Novice Schola was, by and large, a raging success. Lots of interesting classes, mostly well-attended as far as I could tell. Scads of novices, perhaps more than I've ever seen at a single event, with a total attendance over 140. Lots of students from a variety of Boroughs (especially a gratifyingly large turnout from Fenmere), but also a remarkable number of non-Borough new folks. I have to say, it's been a long time since I've felt quite so optimistic about the way things are going -- if we can manage to hang onto even a majority of these novices, it bodes quite well.
I spent most of the day in the dance room. We had two 2-hour dance sessions: first, an English/French session taught by myself and Mara, then an Italian one run by bess and ladysprite. The room was a bit cute, but sufficed for the number of dancers we had so long as everyone was friendly. Whereas most such Dance 101 classes have historically tended to be a lot of dance practice ringers and a few novices, this was quite the opposite -- mostly made up of newbies, most of whom did quite well at catching on. There's nothing quite like dancing with someone who is getting the clue, seeing the dance click even while you're in the middle of it.
I did teach SCA 201, and thank you all for your suggestions -- the class was mostly built up from the most frequent requests in my thread of a few weeks ago. I wasn't entirely happy with how it went -- it was more me talking and less interactive than I would have preferred -- but it seemed to be at least moderately useful, based on the feedback I got.
I wound up off-board for dinner -- since the feast sold out, I told them to sell my spot to one of the novices. (I'm a Brandeis alum, and I'm still pretty comfortable going down to the cafeteria in garb for takeout.) So I had my painfully OOP quesadilla while sitting with some of the Fenmeri and fiantha and having a good schmooze.
The ball was smallish but enthusiastic. Indeed, enthusiastic enough that fire alarms couldn't stop it. In the middle of the break between sets, the fire alarm went off -- we couldn't tell what had happened, but we could smell smoke (not apparently related to anything we had done, fortunately). So we all trucked outside and stood around in front of Usdan. And waited, and waited. Eventually, Alyson, who had been standing around with her cello, not wanting to put it down on the concrete, decided to start playing Scottish Bransle. ladysprite, ever quick on the uptake, started calling, and before long we had a good-sized circle dancing around the cello. So the rest of the Waytes started joining in, and more dancers, and Mara gave up and simply ran the rest of the Ball out there in front of the building. Not exactly the most elegant dancing, but fun and high-spirited, and a fine proof that you really can't stop Carolingians from dancing.
So overall, it was a really good day -- enjoyable and successful. A fine omen for the new year...