2015 – Study forum 2 Abstracts (2015)

This blog hosts a number of resources which were created for an event held in 2015 – Study Forum 2: Dance Disguised & Obscured, at Goldsmiths, University of London – 21-22 March 2015. The event consisted of a stimulating programme of papers, workshops and discussion led by researchers, teachers and practitioners relating to theatrical, social and traditional dance and performance from the 15th century to now.

A new source for the study of the Spanish baroque dance: Choregraphie figurativa, y demonstrativa del Arte de Danzar, en la forma española de Nicolás Noveli (Madrid, 1708)

This paper aims to present the Noveli manuscript, written at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The manuscript has been discovered recently in the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando of Madrid. The text is rather peculiar, as it proposes the Beauchamps-Feuillet chorographical notation system to represent the Spanish dance steps described by Juan de Esquivel in his Discursos sobre el Arte del Danzado of 1642. Apart from that, it contains the verbal description of a collection of dances from the seventeenth century Spanish school.

The study of this manuscript and its comparison with other sources known about the Spanish dance in the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, allows us to get a deeper knowledge about this school, and to refine our interpretation of these sources. The paper will offer a brief historical contextualization and a comment on its content, with special emphasis on the way the author used the Beauchamps-Feuillet notation to represent Spanish dance.

Workshop: “The Pavana in the Choregraphie figurativa, y demonstrativa del Arte de Danzar, en la forma española by Nicolás Noveli: practical study”

In this workshop I propose to introduce the practice of Spanish baroque dance, concentrating on the study of some sections of the Pavana conserved in the manuscript of Noveli.

Diana Campóo Schelotto

Diana Campóo Schelotto holds a Bachelor Degree in Spanish Dance from the Conservatorio Superior de Danza “María de Ávila” of Madrid, and a Master Degree in Early Modern History from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, where she’s currently working on her doctoral thesis, focused on the study of courtly dance in Spain during the XVIIIth Century. She is specialized in historical dance, and received her formation in this discipline from Françoise Denieau, Marie-Geneviéve Massé, Bruna Gondoni, Bárbara Sparti y María José Ruiz. As a dancer she formed part of the Compañía de Danza Histórica Esquivel and the dance company of Ana Yepes, and has performed as a dancer and choreographer at the companies Les Plaisirs, Xuriach, and in concerts as a soloist. Since 2005, she teaches at the Centro Superior del País Vasco “Musikene” the subjects Historical Dance and Dance for Music Education. In 2011 she started teaching Historical Dance in the Bachelor’s Degree in Dance Science at the Universidad Europea of Madrid.

Recreating Lambranzi Dances – a workshop

I would like to give a workshop recreating some of the dances of Gregorio Lambranzi from the brief sketches set down in his book Neue und curieuse theatralische Tantz-Schul, 1716.

I’d give a short talk to introduce the workshop, explaining what these plates represented, where the dances would have been performed, who would have performed them, how we might decide what style of dances they were, the steps they might have used etc. I intend the workshop to be accessible to all comers.

Barbara Segal

Barbara Segal is a performer, teacher and historian of dance from the 15th-19th centuries (http://www.baroquedance.co.uk). She is director of Chalemie, a group specialising in early dance and music theatre, particularly the 18th century. She has performed and taught throughout Europe, the Baltic States, Russia, Australia and South America. She has toured for the Early Music Network and the British Council, and has taught early dance to degree students at The Royal Academy of Dance in London. She holds a PhD in Psychology from London University (LSE).

A paper and workshop from Jennifer Thorp.

A very obscure dance: La pavanne a sept passages dont le premier a vingt huict pas (Instruction pour dancer c. 1612) (Paper and workshop from Anne Daye)

The Identification of dance forms in English mumming and disguising c.1370-1430, with particular reference to the texts of John Lydgate.

Introduction. This will define previous practice and perception of mime, masking and pantomime which in turn will provide a framework for the following recording of mummings and disguisings. It will then put John Lydgate, poet and monk of St. Edmunds Abbey at Bury St Edmunds into context.

1. Dancers disguised in a mumming. A civic mumming was enacted for the young king Richard II at the palace at Kennington, Christmas 1377. We know who the mummers were and how they were disguised. We are told of the music that accompanied them and the mysterious silent game of mumchance that was played. But then who danced what and with whom?

2. Mummers disguised. Lydgate wrote poetic texts or ballads for five mummings and a disguising c1425-1427, enacted at Windsor, Eltham, Bishopswood and London. Themes were drawn from chivalric, classical, allegorical and biblical sources. Characters depicted values and vices integral to early renaissance cultural representation.They were masked and costumed but the nature of the physical performance is not recorded. How might dance or drama, debate or dumb show have been utilised to convey the enactment of such diverse material?

3. Dance disguised as gesture and expression. Lydgate’s Disguising at Hertford castle was presented as entertainment for the young king Henry VI at Christmas c.1427. It uses the devices of mumming and disguising but incorporates the spoken text of a presenter and broad physical yet silent characterisation in the form of six rustic husbands and wives. Dance games and dances of the 15thc and mid 16thC from Italy and France support the notion of choreographed gesture and music to enhance dramatic characterisation.

**Conclusion. ** The Disguising at Hertford has been defined primarily as the earliest extant English secular comedy. Yet many years into the future John Weaver was to define the history of stage dancing as “first designed for Imitation… by the Gestures and Motions of the Body, and plainly and intelligibly representing Actions, Manners and Passions; so that the Spectator might perfectly understand the Performer by these his Motions tho’ he say not a Word”. This broad spectrum of dance defined by Weaver has already been embraced and utilised within the scope of Lydgate’s texts.

Structured workshop participation will draw on existing dance and drama practice in Early Renaissance sources.

Hazel Dennison

Hazel Dennison’s work draws on a diverse practice of dance, drama and theatre studies through production and performance, writing and research. She has taught extensively at all levels of education and worked in theatre in education and was a founder of Bedford Youth Theatre. Initially inspired by early dance classes with Litz Pisk at the Central School of Speech and Drama, Hazel later gained the DHDS teaching certificate. She continues to contribute to Summer Schools, workshops and heritage programmes. Her work on mime, masking and pantomime draws on practical studies of Jacques Lecoqu mime and studying and performing with the Harmel Dance Theatre Group during the 1960’s. Hazel has continued research on the practice of choric representation in Greek tragedy, and the developement of English pantomime. She has reconstructed dances from Lambranzi and reconstructed an original 1812 Dibden pantomime script for a DHDS summer school in 1995. Hazel wrote and produced her first pantomime alongside her school studies which was performed by the 6th form girls for the local children’s orphanage.

The interplay between the dances of the gentry and the morris in 17th century England

The English Reformation and Civil War were crucial periods for the development of Morris dancing. Sources of information are few and throw circumstantial light on what happened. Following John Forrest in his ‘History of Morris Dancing 1458-1750’ we shall look at the visitation articles and the ‘Book of sports’ and examine the relationship between the Morris as recorded by Francis Bacon in the Black Book, and John Playford’s ‘English Dancing Master’. After a short foray into the geography of surviving ‘strands’ of traditional dance, we shall consider whether those obscure sources which have survived can throw any light on what, why, when and how there was a two way traffic of influence between the dances of the gentry and the traditional parish based dances of the area around Oxford.

Jeremy Monson MA

From before he could remember, Jeremy has been absorbing and taking part in Morris and Playford dancing with London Pride and the Old Round clubs, home of many of the earliest officers of the Morris Ring. He learnt his dancing craft with Cambridge Morris Men and is currently Squire of London Pride Morris Men. He has been published in the Morris Dancer and in 2013, from original research, reconstructed Kemp’s Jig at the Sidmouth Folk Festival. He currently divides his time between writing a book on the origins of Morris Dancing, playing folk music in schools, and working for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

Talk (20 minutes) and Workshop (40 minutes)

This session will start with a short talk examining West Country Friendly Society stave dancing in its historical and revival context. This talk explores the people behind the revival, particularly Roy Dommett, the sparse historical sources used to create this distinctive dance style and the context in which stave dancing was revived in the 20th century. This talk summarises by giving particular attention to the contemporary context of the revival and the impact this had upon performances of stave dancing in the late 20th century.

This is then followed by a practical workshop. This will look at the evolution of stave dancing by focusing on three areas. Source, interpretation and creation. Each of these areas will be a guided, practical and danced exploration.

  • Source: What information was actually collected.
  • Interpretation: How stave dancing was interpreted by Roy Dommett.
  • Creation: New stave dances created recently by Somerset Morris.  This session will end with a brief discussion amongst participants about their perception of and reaction to Stave Dancing.

Chloe Metcalfe

Chloe has been involved with folk music and dance for her entire life. An expert in English folk dance costumes Chloe lectures regularly and writes for The Morris Federation and Open Morris Newsletters. She is looking forward to her first Folk Music Journal publication “Laura Ashley Mill Girls and Modernity: English Step Clog Costumes” in 2015. More detailed information about her research can be found on her website: http://www.englishfolkcostumes.co.uk/ Whilst completing her post-graduate degree in English step and sword costumes Chloe joined ‘Somerset Morris’ who dance stave dancing. In 2013 Chloe co-authored a paper with the team’s founder Barbara Butler on ‘West-Country Stave Dancing: Revival, Re-Appropriation and Renewal’. She was later invited to lecture on the subject at MERL who hold the biggest collection of Friendly Society stave heads in the world.  She is good friends with Roy Dommett.

I propose that mumming scholarship has been over reliant on notions of tradition, survival and revival thereby disguising performances and obscuring our readings of them. A recent conference series (The Mumming Unconvention Bath 2011; 2012; Gloucester 2013; 2014) has encouraged contemporary mumming performers to describe their own ‘embodied ethnography’. My paper draws on these ethnographies to illustrate a wider co-existence of ideas, beliefs, intentions and performance practices than previously acknowledged and questions whether acceptance of this complexity may better help us understand historical practice.

Peter Harrop

Peter Harrop is Professor in Drama and presently Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Chester. He studied at the University of Leeds (Ph.D. 1980) and previously taught at Addis Ababa University (1980-85) and Bretton Hall (1985-96). He has also taught at Colleges and Universities in Romania, Singapore, South Africa and the USA and examined at Royal Holloway, Sheffield, Surrey and Warwick. He has published in Lore and Language; Folk Life: A Journal of Ethnological Studies; Studies in Theatre and Performance; Performance Research and Contemporary Theatre Review.

A Practical exploration of mumming and related plays, including associated dances (Introduction, demonstration and workshop from Adrian Burrows.

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