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  • Harrison, Rosemary M

    Harrison, Rosemary M Nov. 4, 2001, 9:02 p.m. (Message 28039)

    PS Lead up - which hand?

    Sorry - I've just spotted a silly inversion of "up" and "down"! Corrected
    version of my message a few minutes ago below.
    Rosemary M Harrison 
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Harrison, Rosemary M 
    Sent: 04 November 2001 19:47
    Subject: RE: Lead up - which hand? - CORRECTED VERSION
    From my memories of dabbling in historical dance a couple of decades ago,
    the earlier periods of court dancing tended to have the "man's palm UP,
    woman's palm DOWN" type of hold, which I think evolved gradually by stages
    into the "shake-hand" hold common today. (Before that, I believe there was a
    very early version where both the man and the woman had their palms facing
    down.) If this is correct then it would be consistent with a preference for
    taking nearer hands in earlier periods, since a right hand lead would be
    awkward unless a "shake-hand" way of taking hands were used.
    Rosemary M Harrison 
    Colchester UK
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Patricia Ruggiero []
    Sent: 01 November 2001 15:07
    To:; x.xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xx
    Subject: RE: Lead up - which hand?
    Eric asked:
    "Why do we have a strong tradition of RHJ when LHJ is more elegant and gives
    better contact with your partner?  Should not tradition aim to promote the
    best choreography?  Can anyone tell us how the tradition arose, and why it
    should be applicable in this case?"
    My understanding is that the "lead" in Renaissance dance and in 17th c. and
    18th c. country dance was always a *nearer hand* configuration, and that the
    RHJ developed in the 19th c.  This understanding is based primarily on my
    dancing experience and secondarily on random readings for dance of the time,
    not on exhaustive research.  For that, perhaps we will hear from Marjorie
    McLaughlin or Richard Goss.
    When country dance was revived in the 20th c., it was left to those who
    reconstructed the dances to determine style.  To what extent they tried to
    follow what was done in a given historical period, to what extent they
    blended styles from various periods, and how much owes to their own
    interpretations of ambiguous material is a subject for endless discussion
    In ECD today the lead is always nearer hands, unless indicated otherwise, no
    matter from what time period the dance occurs; whereas in SCD today the lead
    is RHJ unless otherwise indicated, again, no matter from what time period
    the dance occurs.

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