Sunday, February 27, 2011

Local Music/Dance News

First, the music news: Dr. Joanna Manring of the Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies (JASSYL) has set up a blog for JASSYL. Click here for the link; we've also added it to our list of links on the right. And we will certainly include it among the sites we discuss at our Lady Day meeting--"iJane: Jane Austen in the Information Age, 2011"--in the Sargent Room of the Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., Liverpool, on Saturday, March 26, at 2 pm. We'll give more details about this meeting in an upcoming post.

Second, the dance news: Here is a video of the debut of a new English Country Dance that was written for Co-Coordinator Lisa Brown and named after her! “Lisa’s Maggot” is truly an all-Upstate-NY effort: It was choreographed by two dance callers from Syracuse--Carmen Guinta, a chemistry professor at LeMoyne College, and David Smukler, an education professor at SUNY Cortland. The music was composed by a dance musician from Binghamton, Charlene Thomson, who works at SUNY Binghamton. And it is performed in this YouTube video (made by Eric Borresen of Rochester) by the Rochester Country Dancers.

For those of you who may well be wondering about the word “maggot,” it's an archaic term for a whimsical or fanciful dance. The best-known maggot is "Mr. Beveridge's Maggot," because it plays a pivotal role in the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.

Lisa says that the video shows the first time anyone has danced this piece, and there were several beginning dancers participating, so it doesn’t look as polished as some other dance videos. However, your Regional Coordinator is impressed as all get-out by how well the dancers all perform this very complex maggot on their first run-through. And if you'd like to see some English Country Dancing performed in costume, check out Eric's various YouTube videos of past Jane Austen Balls in Rochester--or, better yet, attend this year's edition on Sunday, May 1 (again, more details will be provided in future posts).

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Reminder: Joint JASNA Syracuse/Colgate JABC Meeting, Sat., Feb. 12

"Very well," was her ladyship's contented answer--"then Speculation if you please, Mrs. Grant. I know nothing about it, but Fanny must teach me."

Here Fanny interposed however with anxious protestations of her own equal ignorance...but upon every body's assuring her that nothing could be so easy, that it was the easiest game on the cards, and Henry Crawford's stepping forward with a most earnest request to be allowed to sit between her ladyship and Miss Price, and teach them both, it was so settled....[T]hough it was impossible for Fanny not to feel herself mistress of the rules of the game in three minutes, he had yet to inspirit her play, sharpen her avarice, and harden her heart, which, especially in any competition with William, was a work of some difficulty....

Thus Jane Austen introduces the famous Speculation scene in Mansfield Park. Although we won't have the dubious benefit of a Henry Crawford at hand to teach us the rules, we're going to observe the second annual joint meeting of the JASNA Syracuse Region and the Colgate Bookstore JA Book Club by trying a few rounds of Speculation ourselves--and by talking a bit first about Regency card and parlour games in general. The David Parlett Games site's "Rewrite" rules for Speculation seem to be the clearest set available online, so those are the rules we'll be using. (Click on the link for the online version, although hard copies will be available at the meeting.)

Please don't be shy about joining in the game: Your JASNA Regional Coordinators have never tried it before either, so we will all be starting from a position of "equal ignorance," unless some of you can advise us! And, to "inspirit your play, sharpen your avarice, and harden your hearts," a prize will be awarded to the player with the afternoon's cumulative high score: a copy of the book Regency House Party, by Lucy Jago (this was the companion to a U.K. Channel Four TV series a few years back).

So we hope you'll join us at the Colgate Bookstore (3 Utica St., Hamilton) on Saturday, February 12, at 2 pm! The Bookstore's meeting rooms are on the third floor.