strathspey Archive: Publishing Dances

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Publishing Dances

Message 2615 · Anselm Lingnau · 10 Oct 1995 16:02:32 · Top

Here are some thoughts which occurred to me when I wrote my last posting:

When I was in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago I had a chat with a
gentleman who is involved with selecting new dances for publication
in RSCDS books. Apparently each dance which is submitted for consideration
by the RSCDS is tried by a set of (presumably super-expert) dancers in
a double-blind fashion (they just get the description of the dance,
no title, no deviser, some random piece of music etc.) to see whether
it works at all from the description and whether it is worth publishing
in an RSCDS book. For all of this scrutinizing which goes on, most of the
books contain dances which you never see danced anywhere. The gentleman
in question, who for the purposes of this discussion shall remain unnamed,
said that the next book the Society is going to publish will contain a
number of popular dances which have only been printed as leaflets. He then
wondered whether new dances should be published exclusively in leaflet
form, to be collected into books and re-issued once they have turned out
to be popular in the `real world'. (To a certain extent this is already
the case; we've been doing Gothenburg's Welcome long before book 37 came
out, well, a while at least.)

When the (R)SCDS started out towards the end of the 1920s, this was
basically what they did: popular dances were collected throughout Scotland.
>From this point of view the `leaflet, then maybe book' approach seems
more consistent with the Society's mission than the `let's put the dance
in a book and see whether anybody likes it besides ourselves' approach.
At least in my opinion, a dance in a book somehow feels more `official'
than one on a leaflet. On the other hand, having lots of leaflets will
make keeping track of the published body of dances even more difficult.

What is your opinion? Would you prefer lots of leaflets and subsequent
`best of' books to just books and occasional leaflets? (Of course this
has no immediate impact on what the RSCDS is going to do!)

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau ......................... lingnau@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
Caveat: untested, so there may be typos, or even thoughtos. --- Donald Arseneau

Publishing Dances

Message 2622 · A J Dewdney · 10 Oct 1995 19:02:32 · Top

What an excellent idea. I have often wondered why the RSCDS publishes the
dances it does, whilst so many good dances are being devised elsewhere! I
often miss the London Branch dances in favour of non-society ones, because
they insist on RSCDS only, and devise very tedious programs. Do other
people find this as well, or is it just London that persists in being boring?
______________________________________
* Andrew Dewdney,
* IRC for Semiconductor Materials,
* Imperial College,
* SW7 2AX
* 0171-589-5111 Ext 56667 (lab)
* 0171-594-6669 (office)
* Try out our Web page http://sparcy.sc.ic.ac.uk/
*_____________________________________

Publishing Dances

Message 2642 · Nicola Howarth · 11 Oct 1995 10:56:58 · Top

>What an excellent idea. I have often wondered why the RSCDS publishes the
>dances it does, whilst so many good dances are being devised elsewhere! I
>often miss the London Branch dances in favour of non-society ones, because
>they insist on RSCDS only, and devise very tedious programs. Do other
>people find this as well, or is it just London that persists in being boring?

No it's not just London, the RSCDS branch in Cambridge also use almost
entirely RSCDS dances on their programmes, and not well-known ones
either. It is perfectly possible to put together a really super
programme composed of just RSCDS dances - there are lots of good and
popular ones. Cambridge RSCDS tends to put on dances that don't seem to be
done elsewhere. Sometimes there might be a reason why noone else does
some of these dances?? A point in the branch's favour, and also
London, is that since other clubs in the area do other dances, then it
is perfectly reasonable for the RSCDS to stick to their own dances.
But can we have the good ones please!

Other RSCDS branch dances in the area vary. Bedford seem to have the
same programmes as everywhere else, not all RSCDS. Norwich have a
lot of RSCDS dances but keep an enjoyable, popular and varied
programme, albeit not the same run of dances one tends to do every
week elsewhere. I feel that a mix of popular dances with a few less
well known is the best answer. While it is sometimes nice to go to a
dance and not have to think because you know all the dances, it's also
good to have the challenge of a few new ones, and to do some of the
more esoteric figures.

But there are limits - I remember an RSCDS dance at Cambridge a few
years ago where the programme seemed to attempt to include every sort
of pousette ever devised - at least six different ones. This was
supposed to be an annual dance - not a class!

The RSCDS talk about attracting new members. They have lots of really
good dances, but many functions only offer an uninspired selection. Come
on RSCDS - you've got the good dances - share them, give us all a good
time, and you might get some new recruits.

Nicola Howarth
Cambridge, UK

Publishing Dances

Message 2644 · A J Dewdney · 11 Oct 1995 11:32:35 · Top

>The RSCDS talk about attracting new members. They have lots of really
>good dances, but many functions only offer an uninspired selection. Come
>on RSCDS - you've got the good dances - share them, give us all a good
>time, and you might get some new recruits.
>
>Nicola Howarth
>Cambridge, UK

My sentiments exactly! Have you ever had the experience where you've
invited a new person along to a dance and then spent much of the time
apologising saying 'but its fun _really_'?
______________________________________
* Andrew Dewdney,
* IRC for Semiconductor Materials,
* Imperial College,
* SW7 2AX
* 0171-589-5111 Ext 56667 (lab)
* 0171-594-6669 (office)
* Try out our Web page http://sparcy.sc.ic.ac.uk/
*_____________________________________

Publishing Dances

Message 2645 · Anselm Lingnau · 11 Oct 1995 12:24:11 · Top

Nicola Howarth <njh@ansa.co.uk> writes:

> Bedford seem to have the same programmes as everywhere else, not all
> RSCDS. Norwich have a lot of RSCDS dances but keep an enjoyable, popular
> and varied programme, albeit not the same run of dances one tends to do
> every week elsewhere. I feel that a mix of popular dances with a few
> less well known is the best answer.

The publication of dances by the RSCDS serves two different goals:

- To collect dances that are popular `in the field', make them widely
available and thus preserve them for posterity. This is what the SCDS
did during the first few years of its existence -- they went around,
looked at what the people actually danced, wrote the dances up and
printed them in a book. Later on this came to include poring over
old books and manuscripts to find out about dances that seemed to
have been popular in former times.

- To publish new dances that individuals submitted to them. Presumably
the Society thinks the newly devised dances that they publish are nice
and should be made widely available, preserved for posterity, ... Note
that it took the SCDS nearly twenty years to actually publish a dance
that had neither been done for aeons by the old folks at home nor been
found in some mouldy manuscript, namely the Reel of the 51st Division
in the Victory Book (book 13).

People tell me that, by now, all the traditional dances `of value' have
been published in RSCDS books. It appears that the Society must look for
more dances to publish from the body of the `new tradition', namely
dances that have been devised during the SCD renaissance of the last
40 years or so. I don't know what the Society's position is towards dances
that have been previously published elsewhere (less than a century ago,
that is), but it seems to me that there are recent non-Society dances
which are by now so much part of the SCD `tradition' that they should,
by all means, go into an `official' RSCDS book -- dances like J. B. Milne,
Irish Rover and so on. On the other hand, with the current rate of a book
of eight dances every two years, those of us who are yearning for something
new would probably be disappointed if the Society brought out, by way of
publication goal 1 above, a Best of Hugh Foss book of dances that
everybody knew already.

This is why the two goals above, in my opinion, call for a two-pronged
strategy like the one suggested in my last posting: leaflets for the
all new dances, books for those that prove popular. Another interesting
point to ponder is that, once upon a time, there were twelve dances in
a Society book; this number then dropped to ten, and now there have been
only eight dances in the last couple of books. Still the Society complains
about a backlog of submitted dances that will keep the Publications
Committee busy into the next century. What keeps them from putting more
dances into a book (twelve should be fine), or even stepping up the rate
of publication?

Anselm

PS. Sorry for another long and rambling message.
--
Anselm Lingnau ......................... lingnau@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
Those who believe without reason cannot be convinced by reason. --- James Randi

Publishing Dances

Message 2652 · Nicola Howarth · 11 Oct 1995 14:54:41 · Top

In light of some comments, perhaps I should clarify what I said about
RSCDS annual dance programmes.

I have nothing against RSCDS dances, I enjoy a lot of them and would
put them on programmes myself. But an Annual Dance is NOT the place
to do a LOT of dances that never get done elsewhere. Two or three
maybe. While the local branch class can teach all the dances on the
programme, most of the dancers must come from other clubs - unless you
have a huge branch with lots of classes. If the programme is full of
unheard-of dances, it is not, in my opinion, a good programme. While
a few individuals who are good dancers (or who learn in the local
class) might enjoy dances they have not previously had the opportunity
to do, many struggle, and people who might otherwise join the RSCDS
may be discouraged (because they do all these weird dances). The
opportunity to do less popular dances can be given in classes, and
maybe other branch events which are primarily populated by the branch.

The RSCDS has some very good
dances, and surely an annual dance is the an opportunity to show them
off to other dancers. If other dancers are not encouraged, how can
the RSCDS survive. There is far too much of a "them and us" attitude,
and the annual ball is an ideal opportunity to broach this.

I apologise if I am rambling on, but wherever I go I hear RSCDS people
rubbishing other dances, and other dancers talking about the
snobbishness of the RSCDS. We all enjoy Scottish dancing, surely we
can be more open and make an effort to come together.

Nicola Howarth
Cambridge UK
(Member of Cambridge RSCDS branch and two non-RSCDS clubs)

Publishing Dances

Message 2660 · McOwen · 11 Oct 1995 17:09:26 · Top

To dance devisors: A small suggestion from a musician re Sandra Rosenau's
suggestion of getting good music to go with your dance creation: find the
piece of music first, and create your dance to go with the music. One good
source for those who haven't yet worked up their musical skills (it's never
too late!), and have no music buddies, is alternate tunes on recordings.

Sincerely,
Barbara McOwen
mcowen@aol.com
Arlington, Mass.

Publishing Dances

Message 2711 · Courtney Cartwright · 14 Oct 1995 04:11:52 · Top

At 11:15 AM 10/11/95 +0100, Anselm Lignau wrote:
>I don't know what the Society's position is towards dances
>that have been previously published elsewhere (less than a century ago,
>that is), but it seems to me that there are recent non-Society dances
>which are by now so much part of the SCD `tradition' that they should,
>by all means, go into an `official' RSCDS book -- dances like J. B. Milne,
>Irish Rover and so on. On the other hand, with the current rate of a book
>of eight dances every two years, those of us who are yearning for something
>new would probably be disappointed if the Society brought out, by way of
>publication goal 1 above, a Best of Hugh Foss book of dances that
>everybody knew already.

I believe the RSCDS position on these previously published dances is that there
is too much work to secure copyright privileges for these dances. If these
popular dances are published already, in relatively available form, why spend
time and trouble to re-publish them? I also believe that the RSCDS would have
difficulty securing the rights to a number of the more popular dances -- it
would certainly be more expensive than using dances "in the public domain" by
virtue of antiquity, or simply securing consent to publish a brand new dance
from an RSCDS member.

This would not, however, explain the RSCDS reticence to deal with anything
not associated with the Society. At the St. Andrews Summer School, for example,
the only publications you're likely to find are either published by the Society
or by Branches or Instructors at the Summer School or Summer School members.
No Pilling books, no Foss Leaflets, no Drewry Books, except for those dances
donated to the society...


Courtney Cartwright
Tucson, Arizona
ccartwri@primenet.com

Publishing Dances

Message 2648 · Kate Gentles · 11 Oct 1995 13:21:21 · Top

> No it's not just London, the RSCDS branch in Cambridge
> also use almost entirely RSCDS dances on their
> programmes, and not well-known ones either. It is
> perfectly possible to put together a really super
> programme composed of just RSCDS dances - there are lots
> of good and popular ones. Cambridge RSCDS tends to put
> on dances that don't seem to be done elsewhere.
> Sometimes there might be a reason why noone else does
> some of these dances?? A point in the branch's favour,
> and also London, is that since other clubs in the area
> do other dances, then it is perfectly reasonable for the
> RSCDS to stick to their own dances.

The last RSCDS dance I went to in Cambridge included (as far as I can remember)
a number of dances from the early books that aren't done elsewhere, but that
were pleasant to dance. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and was grateful for
the opportunity to dance some dances that I don't come across elsewhere.

Kate Gentles
Cambridge University Press

Publishing Dances

Message 2721 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 14 Oct 1995 19:46:26 · Top

On Wed, 11 Oct 1995, Kate Gentles wrote:

> The last RSCDS dance I went to in Cambridge included (as far as I can remember)
> a number of dances from the early books that aren't done elsewhere, but that
> were pleasant to dance. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and was grateful for
> the opportunity to dance some dances that I don't come across elsewhere.

When I put together a program, I try to include a dance or two from RSCDS
Bks 1-8, 10-13, and 14-20, one or two from 21, 22, 36-38 (i. e., the modern
ones), and the remaining. That way I have added the different flavors that
appear over the years and the different progressions.

My programs have migrated from one or two non-society dances in the
1950's to about half non-society in the 1990's because there are so many
good party dances published these days. The dances revived from
manuscripts aren't "bad," but they were devised for long sets
(four-couple sets with only twice through for the dancing couple
originated in the early days of this century) and, also, they were
devised to allow for a different dress code and a different level of
physical ability (I don't mean stronger or weaker, I mean different).

happy dancing,
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage (priscilla.burrage@uvm.edu)
Vermont USA (pburrage@moose.uvm.edu)

Publishing Dances

Message 2727 · Colleen Putt · 15 Oct 1995 05:15:16 · Top

>On Wed, 11 Oct 1995, Kate Gentles wrote:
>
>> The last RSCDS dance I went to in Cambridge included (as far as I can
remember)
>> a number of dances from the early books that aren't done elsewhere, but that
>> were pleasant to dance. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and was
grateful for
>> the opportunity to dance some dances that I don't come across elsewhere.
>
>When I put together a program, I try to include a dance or two from RSCDS
>Bks 1-8, 10-13, and 14-20, one or two from 21, 22, 36-38 (i. e., the modern
>ones), and the remaining. That way I have added the different flavors that
>appear over the years and the different progressions.
>
>My programs have migrated from one or two non-society dances in the
>1950's to about half non-society in the 1990's because there are so many
>good party dances published these days. The dances revived from
>manuscripts aren't "bad," but they were devised for long sets
>(four-couple sets with only twice through for the dancing couple
>originated in the early days of this century) and, also, they were
>devised to allow for a different dress code and a different level of
>physical ability (I don't mean stronger or weaker, I mean different).
>
>happy dancing,
>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>Priscilla Burrage (priscilla.burrage@uvm.edu)
>Vermont USA (pburrage@moose.uvm.edu)
>
>
Priscilla (hello from Pinewoods, BTW!), your comment about "a different
dress code and a different level of physical ability" intrigues me. Could
you please elaborate further?

HISCD!
>

Publishing Dances

Message 2777 · A J Dewdney · 18 Oct 1995 19:03:29 · Top

The arguements for not republishing dances are sound, but why do they insist
on ignoring their existence, simply because they are not published by the
RSCDS? The terrible epithet 'it's not RSCDS' means that many good dances
are excluded from strict RSCDS socials, you end up doing boring ones,
because someone else published the good ones separately. This is a
different issue to the publishing one, and far more short sighted and petty!
______________________________________
* Andrew Dewdney,
* IRC for Semiconductor Materials,
* Imperial College,
* SW7 2AX
* 0171-589-5111 Ext 56667 (lab)
* 0171-594-6669 (office)
* Try out our Web page http://sparcy.sc.ic.ac.uk/
*_____________________________________

Publishing Dances

Message 2785 · Anselm Lingnau · 19 Oct 1995 10:36:16 · Top

Andrew Dewdney <a.dewdney@ic.ac.uk> writes:

> The arguements for not republishing dances are sound, but why do they insist
> on ignoring their existence, simply because they are not published by the
> RSCDS?

We just have to wait for a while. Many of the more popular non-RSCDS dances
have been devised by people who are, sadly, no longer among us. Once the
appropriate time has passed (here in Germany, 70 years after an author's
demise -- I believe in the UK the period is similar) the copyright for the
dances in question lapses.

To be consistent with their goal of preserving the tradition of SCD, the
Society will then have no choice but to collect and publish many of the
dances they have ignored for so long -- especially when they have been
popular for a century or so, which is more than can be said for some of
the dances in early RSCDS books at the time of their first publication!
Unfortunately most of us won't be around when the RSCDS will finally
have to bring out the book containing J.B.Milne and Mairi's Wedding, but
maybe our grandchildren will be able to enjoy these dances at a
strictly-RSCDS social.

(Of course it would be much nicer if the RSCDS took efforts to acknowledge
the popular non-Society dances even before the time described above. I
should also like to point out, lest I be gravely misunderstood, that I do
wish a long life, good health and happiness to all the devisers of dances
who are still around!)

:^)

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau ......................... lingnau@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
Host: What a parasite lives in or on. Your programs have this relationship to
the computer. --- Larry Wall & Randal Schwartz, *Programming Perl*

Publishing Dances

Message 2787 · A J Dewdney · 19 Oct 1995 13:22:07 · Top

>Unfortunately most of us won't be around when the RSCDS will finally
>have to bring out the book containing J.B.Milne and Mairi's Wedding, but
>maybe our grandchildren will be able to enjoy these dances at a
>strictly-RSCDS social.
>
Anselm, please can I send this to the London RSCDS Reel Newsletter!!! It's
brilliant!
______________________________________
* Andrew Dewdney,
* IRC for Semiconductor Materials,
* Imperial College,
* SW7 2AX
* 0171-589-5111 Ext 56667 (lab)
* 0171-594-6669 (office)
* Try out our Web page http://sparcy.sc.ic.ac.uk/
*_____________________________________

Publishing Dances

Message 2643 · Tony Gibbons · 11 Oct 1995 11:18:21 · Top

Perhaps some kind person would like to start up 'Scottish Dance
Archives - Second Series'. The first series was certainly very
successful.

Tony Gibbons <Tony.Gibbons@ed.ac.uk>

Publishing Dances

Message 2788 · Alan Paterson · 19 Oct 1995 13:38:02 · Top

With reference to all the recent postings hitting the poor old RSCDS for not
'permitting' non-society dances, I feel that it has all gone a bit too far.

A few days ago, it was clearly described (I cannot recall by whom - sorry) why
the RSCDS do not (cannot) publish some of our favourite dances. So, at least
for me, the publishing aspect is clear. There need be no adverse criticism
directed to Coates Crescent.

Regarding the contents of a ball programme, this is also no reason to slag off
the RSCDS as an institution. As has been stated in recent postings, some
branches include 'foreign' dances and some don't, so the 'blame' (if such need
be distributed at all) lies with those branch officials responsible for ball
programs. I.e. it is a *personal* choice by those individuals. Since the vast
majority of dances are not under branch control anyway, why all the fuss?

Having personally seen Bees of Maggieknockater, Posties' Jig and the Irish
Rover done at Summer School Ceilidhs I can testify that one does not get
automatically excommunicated by deviating from the society dances.

---------------------------
Alan Paterson
Berne, Switzerland
alan@paranor.ch

Publishing Dances

Message 2792 · Ian Price · 19 Oct 1995 16:46:20 · Top

>We just have to wait for a while. Many of the more popular non-RSCDS dances
>have been devised by people who are, sadly, no longer among us. Once the
>appropriate time has passed (here in Germany, 70 years after an author's
>demise -- I believe in the UK the period is similar) the copyright for the
>dances in question lapses.
>
>To be consistent with their goal of preserving the tradition of SCD, the
>Society will then have no choice but to collect and publish many of the
>dances they have ignored for so long -- especially when they have been
>popular for a century or so, which is more than can be said for some of
>the dances in early RSCDS books at the time of their first publication!
>
>Anselm

Highly plausible argument, very succinctly put! However, is the RSCDS so stingy
that it will only publish stuff on which it does not have to pay a royalty?

All you RSCDS Publications Committee people who are reading this, Take Note!!
:-)

Publishing Dances

Message 2795 · Nicola Howarth · 19 Oct 1995 17:17:05 · Top

>Highly plausible argument, very succinctly put! However, is the RSCDS so stingy
>that it will only publish stuff on which it does not have to pay a royalty?

>All you RSCDS Publications Committee people who are reading this, Take Note!!
:-)

>From what I understand, and I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm
wrong, current RSCDS dance books are all copyright RSCDS. In fact if
someone submits a dance to the RSCDS for publication, the devisor
loses the copyright, and the RSCDS retain not only the copyright, but
the right to modify to dance so that it fits what they consider the
"correct" form (Reel of the 51st and Miss Gibson's Strathspey are two
examples of dances modified prior to publication).

On this basis, unless they change their ideas, the RSCDS is unlikely
to want to publish dances which are already well-known, and whose
copyright belongs elsewhere.

Nicola Howarth
Cambridge, UK

Publishing Dances

Message 2798 · Mcgarrity · 19 Oct 1995 18:05:31 · Top

Part of Nicola Howarth's message:
"...the RSCDS retain not only the copyright, but the *right to modify
to dance* so that it fits what they consider the "correct" form (Reel
of the 51st and Miss Gibson's Strathspey are two examples of
dances modified prior to publication)."

How interesting...I didn't know this. Could someone tell me how
these two dances were modified for publication? Thanks.

Kim McGarrity
Palo Alto, CA
mcgarrity@aol.com

Publishing Dances

Message 2799 · Nicola Howarth · 19 Oct 1995 18:35:09 · Top

>Part of Nicola Howarth's message:
>"...the RSCDS retain not only the copyright, but the *right to modify
>to dance* so that it fits what they consider the "correct" form (Reel
>of the 51st and Miss Gibson's Strathspey are two examples of
>dances modified prior to publication)."
>
>How interesting...I didn't know this. Could someone tell me how
>these two dances were modified for publication? Thanks.

As I understand it, the Reel of the 51st Division was originally
written for 5 couples (and all men of course in the circumstances).
The RSCDS refused to publish it until requested to by the current
Queen Mother.

Miss Gibson's Strathspey was originally written as follows:
After the 1st couple have danced twice, they end in 3rd place as
usual. From here they dance the first sixteen bars of the dance with
4th couple, which puts them at the bottom. This of course makes the
dance part 3-couple and part 4-couple, so it doesn't conform with the
usual standards. But it's fun to do it the original way. (I was told
this by an RSCDS teacher, although he wasn't teaching at the time).

cheers

Nicola Howarth
Cambridge, UK

Publishing Dances

Message 2823 · Irene x3716 · 20 Oct 1995 19:10:43 · Top

A number of people have discussed copyright restrictions as inhibiting the
RSCDS from publishing a number of popular dances.

It seems to me that one of the main reasons why the RSCDS wouldn't want to
publish a number of "non-RSCDS" dances under their own name, is because they
don't conform to what the RSCDS currently accepts as being sufficiently
traditional.

For example, on Thu 19 Oct, Nicola Howarth said:

> Miss Gibson's Strathspey was originally written as follows:
> After the 1st couple have danced twice, they end in 3rd place as
> usual. From here they dance the first sixteen bars of the dance with
> 4th couple, which puts them at the bottom. This of course makes the
> dance part 3-couple and part 4-couple, so it doesn't conform with the
> usual standards.

But, the RSCDS is now accepting new ideas that would have been rejected
previously. For example, in Book 38, John Drewry's "Corners pass and turn"
has been given the stamp of approval, and a number of the other dances also
have variations on "standard" formations that I'm sure wouldn't have been
accepted some years ago. With someone like John Drewry on the Publications
Committee, there's hope yet!

Irene van Maarseveen
Pretoria, South Africa
ivmaarse@mattek.csir.co.za

Publishing Dances

Message 2824 · briscoe · 20 Oct 1995 21:18:48 · Top

The Publications Committee asked for permission to change one thing about
"Follow Me Home;" I submitted it as a reel, and they wanted to publish it
as a jig. I agreed with the change happily. I GAVE the dance to the RSCDS
to publish. It cost me nothing but a stamp to send it in, and the Society
got Muriel Johnstone to pick out a tune, paid someone to typeset it
nicely, put it in a book and sent it all over the world. My payoff is the
delight I feel when I see it on a program and see people having fun with
it. I do not begrudge the Society "ownership" of the dance. I'm a member
of the Society, after all.

Mel and I have other dances we have published privately. We didn't
copyright them; we don't care if people copy them. We would rather
someone did the dance from a photocopy than from notes!

The advantange of using RSCDS dances on a program is that the
instructions are readily available, and people coming from distant
locations can rely pretty much on the dances being done the same way
everywhere. It's very reassuring and welcoming to visitors, so thank
you to all those devisors who keep themselves from filling their
programs with all "local favorites" that are not commonly available.

There are some non-RSCDS books that have been in print pretty
continuously that also fit the "standard" category like 22 by Cosh, and
Jack McConachie's Book of Eighteenth Century Dances. Mel put together a
list of those, for our candidates; I'll ask him to send it to the web
site for posting.

ellie briscoe
Alexandria, VA
briscoe@access.digex.net

Publishing Dances

Message 2793 · Anselm Lingnau · 19 Oct 1995 16:49:47 · Top

Alan Paterson <alan@paranor.ch> writes:

> A few days ago, it was clearly described (I cannot recall by whom - sorry)
> why the RSCDS do not (cannot) publish some of our favourite dances. So,
> at least for me, the publishing aspect is clear. There need be no adverse
> criticism directed to Coates Crescent.

I'll not let them get off the hook that easily. I assume you refer to
Courtney Cartwright <ccartwri@primenet.com>'s assertion that

> I believe the RSCDS position on these previously published dances is that
> there is too much work to secure copyright privileges for these dances. If
> these popular dances are published already, in relatively available form,
> why spend time and trouble to re-publish them?

Many of these popular dances came out thirty years ago or so. I doubt that
all of them are still in print or can be readily obtained. This makes
life difficult, e.g., for budding teachers who prefer teaching a dance
from the original instructions rather than the Wee Green Book, or something
jotted down during the coffee break at a workshop three years ago, or a
`pirate' photocopy of the original instructions. I, for one, have never
seen the original instructions for, say, Wee Cooper of Fife or Irish Rover,
to name but two of the most popular `recent' non-RSCDS dances.

Courtney continues:

> I also believe that the RSCDS would have difficulty securing the rights
> to a number of the more popular dances -- it would certainly be more
> expensive than using dances "in the public domain" by virtue of antiquity,
> or simply securing consent to publish a brand new dance
> from an RSCDS member.

It is not as if the Society would have to buy the copyright to the
dances in question in the way Michael Jackson bought the copyright to
the Lennon/McCartney songs (just to cite an example). Simply negotiating
a non-exclusive right to re-publish should be enough. I assume that this
should not be too difficult/expensive, especially when the original has
long since gone out of print. Given the fact that nobody actually makes
a living from devising and publishing Scottish country dances -- actually,
most dance descriptions I've seen retail at prices that seem hardly to
be covering the costs -- the devisors should eagerly welcome the chance
of gaining `official' acknowledgement of their efforts as well as even
more wide-spread coverage.

Consider also that the proceeds of the sales of many dance booklets
are passed on to some charity or other. Would a republication of a
dance out of such a collection not cheat the charity in question of
a donation? Not really, I'd say -- first of all, if the dance is
well-received (which can be regarded as given for the kind of dance
we're talking about, namely those which are popular already) people
may get interested in other dances by the same person or group of people,
which should actually *increase* sales of the whole collection. Secondly,
the RSCDS is also a charity, so the money will not be lost to Worthy
Causes in general.

Of course, in many cases one would have to deal with the devisor's
estate rather than the person him/herself. It is difficult to predict
but I have a gut feeling, considering again that the income to be
realised from selling dance booklets doesn't seem to be exactly
staggering, that many folks would regard a request for permission to
reprint one of dear old Grand[pm]a's dances a honour to the person's
memory rather than an attempt to make money off their labours. Especially
when such a request comes from the RSCDS, the official Keepers of the
Faith. I mean, if these people are interested in the stuff, it must be
*good*, mustn't it? The same considerations as before apply, namely
that it might actually entice people to come back for more.

In my own opinion, it would be quite in line with the Society's
professed goals to check into publishing a book of the proverbial
Not-So-Very-Old Chestnuts. Surely it can't be too much trouble sending
a couple of letters to find out about permission to reprint? Simply saying
`this is going to be much too much work and far too expensive' just
plain doesn't cut it, in my book. This is what the Society is *for*,
after all!

> Having personally seen Bees of Maggieknockater, Posties' Jig and the Irish
> Rover done at Summer School Ceilidhs I can testify that one does not get
> automatically excommunicated by deviating from the society dances.

I've not been to a Summer School yet, but from what people who've been
there told me I used to believe that the social programmes there were
strictly RSCDS. It is nice to hear that this is apparently not (always)
the case.

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau ......................... lingnau@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
Unix is not a `A-ha' experience, it is more of a `holy-shit' experience.
--- Colin McFadyen in alt.folklore.computers

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