Unto the dancers of Meridies does Master Lorenzo Petrucci send greetings!
As of the guild meeting that was convened at Magna Faire, I have taken over stewardship of Saltare from the capable hands of Lord Runolfr. I look forward to the opportunity to work with all of you in promoting dance in the many lands of our fine kingdom. For those of you whom I have not yet met, I would like to provide some introduction of myself and my goals for the guild.
I have been a member of the SCA since 1993, getting my start in the Barony of Bryn Madoc. Though I did not initially see the appeal of dance, my first event was the Saltare collegium held in 1994, and my eyes were opened to the social and expressive aspects of this fine art. During the years I spent in Bryn Madoc, the barony -- and the kingdom as a whole -- had a very active dance community. Dance revels were regularly held and well attended, and were a vital part of any event. In the years since then, interest in -- and knowledge of -- dance has flagged somewhat among the general populace. I feel that dance is a valuable part of the shared experience that we all come to the Society for, and that it is worth the effort required to return it to the popularity it once enjoyed.
My goal as head of Saltare is to develop and disseminate a kingdom-wide repertoire of basic dances. I would like for anyone to be able to go to a revel anywhere in the kingdom and be able to jump right in to most of the dances, and also to have the dance vocabulary to pick up ones that may be unfamiliar. I do not expect the average dancer to learn obscure or complex dances; those are left as an exercise for those for whom the basic dances are not enough.
While the annual Saltare collegium is an excellent opportunity to learn new dances, it is not the primary venue through which knowledge of dance will be spread to the general populace. Dance, like any physical activity, requires regular practice to build muscle memory and technique. This can only be accomplished at local dance practices, and therefore this is where I intend to focus most of my efforts. I would like to establish active communication with local dance teachers, whether they are the official dance master/mistress for their local group or simply interested in organizing local practices. Choreographies and music are readily available online in this day and age, and I will gladly point interested parties in the right direction.
In addition to helping local teachers acquire the necessary resources, I would also like to arrange more opportunities for the more experienced dancers in the kingdom to share their knowledge, both of the dances themselves and the methods they use to teach them. This past weekend Vulpine Reach hosted a regional dance practice, and it was a great success. I would like to organize similar regional practices in the future to supplement the annual Saltare collegium, with a focus on propagating basic dances and giving newer teachers opportunities to practice their craft.
While Eastern dance also falls under the purview of Saltare, I admit that my knowledge of its intricacies is minimal at best. To avoid doing any disservice to the Eastern dance community, I would like to appoint a deputy to oversee that aspect of the guild. I would very much like to see the annual Saltare collegium continue to be a venue for showcasing both types of dance. As the structure for teaching Eastern dance is different, however, I will leave the scheduling of any regional practices up to my deputy.
I look forward to working with all of you in the future, and hope to build a reputation for our kingdom as one whose populace knows its way around a dance floor. If you are (or would like to be) a dance teacher for your local group, or if you would like to volunteer to serve as my Eastern dance deputy, please contact me directly by email. I also intend to create a new web page for the guild in the near future.