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A Fine Weekend of Dance
Didn't make it to either May Day or the International Steampunk City (which I hope folks have pictures from), because we'd long since made plans to attend the Northpass Dance Academy. So on Friday night I collected ladysprite and umbran, and the three of us headed south to Chez Dad for the night. We passed the time with ladysprite DJ'ing -- as usual, she managed to play almost entirely tracks that I liked and hadn't heard before, so I have some music shopping ahead of me. (Particularly excellent was the 80s hair band mashup group, who I need to look up and buy.)

Saturday was spent entirely at the event, and it was a complete hoot. While one shouldn't overdo specialty events, they have a distinct charm: an event that is all about people geeking on their favorite art has a friendly camaraderie that is hard to find elsewhere.

The main point of the trip was the three classes ladysprite was teaching, and those went quite well -- in particular, she demystified Villanella to the point where we had a goodly number of folks on the floor for it in the evening's Ball. The only downside of the day was that she strained her knee, so wasn't able to dance as much as she would have liked.

Other than that, I'd say the highlight of the day was the classes that Dafydd Cyhoeddwr was teaching on the Lovelace MS. This is a book of English Country dances that came to light only very recently: academics discovered it perhaps ten years ago, and the SCA found out about it last year. The original is at Harvard, so Gundormr managed to get access to the microfilm and put that online, and Dafydd has been tooling with it ever since. Many of the dances are related to the ones in Playford (indeed, Dafydd argues that the presence of Lovelace may have forced Playford to rush to press), but aren't identical, and the differences are even more intriguing than the similarities. I think the Society is going to have a lot of fun picking through this, but he's given it all a fine headstart, providing a transcription to go with the images.

I learned several dances at the event, but the winner is probably Lightly Love, from Lovelace. This is a simple, ridiculous, utterly delicious flirting dance game that I predict is going to utterly eat Pennsic alive this year. The verse is simply up a double and back twice, then set and turns, but the chorus is the meat of the dance. The first gentleman wanders down to the last lady, and proceeds to engage in a formalized dance duel with the last gentleman for her attentions; eventually, he takes her by the hand, escorts her to the top to become his new partner, and it all repeats. Done straight, it would be fairly dull, but if you ham it up and flirt outrageously it's a blast. We got one three-couple set for the evening Ball, and kept the crowd entertained for a fair while as we all got more and more into it.

(The best discovery of the day was that Lady Jane Milford can match me flirt for flirt on the dance floor. This was a great deal of fun, and calls for further practice.)

Plus a simple but tasty feast (I haven't had Savory Toasted Cheese in an age, and had forgotten how addictive it is), and a ball that ran longer than we could cope with (we bowed to exhaustion after 4+ hours at 10:30ish, while things were still going strong) -- overall, an excellent time. We really need to drag more of Carolingia down next time.

Today was relatively lazy: we got up when we woke, and had bagels with Dad and Sandy before heading northwards again. (Becky finally got to understand just how much like my father I am.) Travel home was uneventful, but they introduced me to Traveler's Food and Books, which I've driven past hundreds of times but never gone into before. Lovely place, with truly excellent clam rolls, and I did pick up one strange but neat book: "The Quintessence of Ibsenism" by George Bernard Shaw -- apparently a summer assignment he got from the Fabian Society one year, in which he explains what Ibsen's plays are *actually* about. (Regardless, of course, of what Ibsen might have thought.) Not entirely sure what to expect, but an unusual book of Shaw from 1905 (I appear to have the only copy of this edition in LibraryThing) for $2 is by any definition a win...
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I just noticed the sign for "Traveler's Book Restaurant" for the first time on our way home- guess we'll be going by there next time!

We stayed until the middle of the last set, which was about 12:20. Oof.

The thing to note about Traveler's is that the upstairs and downstairs are separate. Upstairs has racks of miscellaneous used books -- some nice stuff, but nothing especially fascinating. OTOH, the price can't be beat: you get three free books per person with your meal. (Which I approve of on *so* many levels: this is a family restaurant I can really get behind.)

Downstairs is a real and slightly quirky used bookstore, that you have to pay actual money for but is still on the cheap side. The 1905 Shaw was unmarked, so the cashier sort of shrugged and said, "Two dollars?". I wasn't going to argue -- if she'd asked, I would have suggested ten...

Sounds like marvelous fun. :-)

Will you be able to join us all at KWDS this July?

Good question, which came up during dinner. The simple truth is that my planning horizon's been pretty short lately, and I hadn't even thought about it, but I'm chewing it over now...

A Propos Nothing in Particular....

We're going--I'm looking forward to being back in my old stomping grounds... :-)

It was a lot of fun flirting with you as well! (This is Lady Jane Milford, mka: Niki) Glad you came out and had a good time.

Thanks, and I look forward to doing so again when next we find ourselves on the dance floor...

The name of the '80s hair band mash-up group is Rock Sugar.

Naturally, you are the person able to tell me what Becky was playing for me. (I am never playing Encore against the two of you, especially if you are teamed up: I know when I'm entirely overmatched in sheer musical knowledge.)

Thanks! It's quite ridiculous fun, and I need to get a copy...

Ah, that looks like such fun, and I do wish I could have been there -- sadly, there just aren't enough weekends in the year. Thanks for the pictures!

I didn't really have a choice in my weekend plans, but I was terribly sorry to have to miss this event. I'm certainly hoping to get to it one of these years! Glad to hear you had fun. And I put in another vote for going to KWDS (I'm pre-reg'd).

Yeah, you were a bit booked this weekend. But hopefully there won't be a big conflict next year, so you can make it down -- I think you'd enjoy it. And good to know that you're going to KWDS: always more fun when I know some of the friends who will be there...

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