SCA Dance

SCA Dance home page for Sophia the Orange:

This page contains some of my favorite and most used links for SCA dance resources. It is absolutely not comprehensive for all or the best ever resources as vetted by the most educated dancers in the SCA, but they’re my personal favorites.

My personal favorite introduction document to SCA Dance is written by Baron Lorenzo Pettrucci, mka: Benjamin Pung, a Laurel who is extremely proficient in dance, costuming, Italian culture, and fabulous leadership. He’s one of my favorite people in the SCA overall and I’m thrilled he wrote this document as an overview of SCA Dance to include the sources we rely on, the recorded music we use most often, steps written out, and a summary of each style. You can download the document here:beginner_book Dance handout from Lorenzo  or get it from his web page here: 

Lorenzo built a great database available here: that shows a list of all the 428 dances he was aware of that were documented within SCA scope. He has a filter that allows the user to select for style, # dancers in the set, Author/Creator, which documentation source, and type of source. Looking at this web page may be overwhelming to the new SCA dancer, but it can also be a great education into the scope of what SCA dance covers and allow a new dancer to see what’s possible.

Lorenzo also offers a few links under “Links” in the header, and I’ll offer a few more details on a few of those links:

  • Letter of Dance
    • This was a newsletter for the SCA Dance community that was active from 1988 – approx. 2002.
    • Some of the earlier material is available online if Greg Blount managed to web it, but most of the later material is not. The problem with earlier material is that later research improved upon earlier material, so it’s better information. I don’t know how to get ahold of the more recent material, but I might be able to if I can get ahold of Catherine Dean again on Facebook…
  • SCA Renaissance Dance Homepage by Master Gregory Blount
    • Greg is a former Atlantian, now in the West, and expert in SCA dance and music AND has devoted a great deal of time getting SCA dance resources onto the web. His homepage slowed down by 2008, and updates since then are links to large dance events and the occasional new link to an interesting research source. Be sure to hit the link to “What’s New” at the top of his page to see when the latest updates have been.
    • This page is a firehose of information on SCA Dance, so I suggest starting with a document like Lorenzo’s Beginner Book, then sifting through his database with filters to see what areas of study you like, then dive into Greg’s homepage to find links to further study.
  • Del’s Dance Book by Master Delbert von Straßburg
    • Del is a very generous Dance Laurel from the Kingdom of Lochac who has traveled a lot, including to the far reaches of Indianapolis once upon a time.
    • His online dance book is a lot like Lorenzo’s beginner book in that it provides an overview of the whole SCA Dance scope, but Del dives deeper. (see what I did there? 😉  He finished this version somewhere between 2000 and 2003, so the most up to date Gresley information is not in here, but plenty of Gresley reconstruction info is here.
    • Del also provides what few SCA Dance Laurels dare to publish nowadays, and that’s online information about dances NOT within SCA scope like Korobushka, Hole In The Wall, Saltarello la Regina, and dances written by SCA members. He actually has this information in two places:
      • The Unbibliography:
        • This is a list of the dances Del knows about that he’s seen done in the SCA that are clearly out of SCA period.
      • SCA Inventions:
        • This is a list of dances choreographed by SCA members. Sometimes SCA members will create dance steps themselves in the style of documented dance, and that’s sometimes done to music that’s documented to SCA period – then sometimes not.
      • Note that these lists are old and from one person’s perspective. Read these lists to get an idea of what kind of dance art happens out there in the world, then… watch your step!  😉
  • Timeline of Dance Research Sources  One of the hardest things I had to sit and learn after getting addicted to SCA dance was how all these research sources related to each other. One of the most helpful learning aids I found was again provided by Master Lorenzo. This graphic he built shows the primary sources we use in SCA dance and when they were published in a timeline. This visual presentation helped me see how many resources we had and how unrelated most of them are from each other. They were written in different countries over hundreds of years for vastly different audiences.


The Terpsichore Booklet

After you’ve learned some dances, a cheat sheet comes in very handy. The best cheat sheet in the SCA is called the Terpsichore Booklet (“Terp Book”) produced by the excellent dancers and friends of the Barony of Cynnabar under the leadership of Mistress Alina of Foxwood for their annual spring dance event, “Terpsichore at the Tower.”  Many people have contributed to this annually updated booklet since 1995. It includes as many dances as they can cram into one document including those documented to SCA period plus those created by SCA dancers in period style PLUS those Grossly Out Of Period (GOOP) dances that are not at all within scope of the SCA study period but have been fun to dance and end up at SCA events anyway.

To find the most up to date copy of the Terp Book, check here:

The Gresley Manuscript’s Dances

This manuscript was discovered relatively recently and published in 1996 by Mr. David Fallows:

Fallows, David. 1996. “The Gresley Dance Collection, C.1500”. Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle, no. 29. [Royal Musical Association, Taylor & Francis, Ltd.]: 1–20.

Two SCA Laurels, Mistress Emma Dansmeyla and Master Martin Bildner, have spent the past 10 years investigating the Gresley Manuscript and working towards producing instructions on how to do the dances and music to dance to. This is a herculean effort because only 7 of the dances in the manuscript had clear links between the dance choreography descriptions and the accompanying music. Many more choreographies were described and more music was included, but not matched clearly together. You can see their products so far published here:  I suggest reading their notes from the Known World Dance Symposium (KWDS) and dowloading their PDFs and MP3s for careful consideration before you go to dance practice.


Gaita is a medieval music ensemble from Scotland dedicated to performing their music, secular and courtly music of Medieval Europe – particularly from Scotland, France,Spain and Italy, in a medieval context. They use instruments that seem to me to be period recreations, and their scholarship seems reliable to me. They have 3 CDs with accompanying step instruction books that cover many dances done in the SCA. You’ll have to pay with PayPal though if you want your own copies. Start here to explore their resources:

Note that they have recorded tunes for many of the Gresley dances. Since this is art, and reconstruction of historic art, you will find that Gaita’s final products differ from those of our SCA Dance Laurel friends mentioned above.  So, just watch your step…