A Dance Duel Recreation – Hermankyn

For more videos see: https://sites.google.com/view/danceduels/executing-the-job?authuser=0

I first came upon the idea of a dance duel in a conversation with Dr. Emily Winerock (Dance Historian, Guest of Honor, Known World Dance and Music Symposium XIII). On her advice, I found a book “The Art of Dancing in Seventeenth-Century Spain: Juan De Esquivel Navarro and His World”A.

There were some references by Juan De Esquivel Navarro to the custom of Retos, or dance duels. They were described in this slightly post-period manual (1642) thusly:

“…by channeling grievances through the procedure of the reto (challenge). Calling to mind the careful code of honor cultivated by the Spanish gentleman, and adopting the language used by swordsmen of the age, Esquivel devotes considerable discussion to the practice of retos, which were typically sparked by insults about a dancer, or even more frequently, about the dancer’s master. Retos were actually danced duels, performed within the context of a prescribed ritual and formula, with the dancer’s technique serving as his weapon [ff. 40v-44v]. These events themselves were highly staged encounters. They required a formal publication of the challenge, including setting a time and place for the face-off at which one dancer was set against another in an established sequence of choreography drawn from the dancing school syllabus. A ritual of accepting the challenge was also prescribed. And, as in any duel, each contestant must have his respective seconds.”…B

After reading about this custom I realized I had a friend, Gun∂ormr Dengir, who was about to receive a Laurel and who would love this kind of zaniness. I then discussed the idea with Mistress Þóra Eiriksdottir and Master Justin du Coeur, both of whom agreed it would be a welcome addition to the vigil.

Sadly for us, the translator of the source reports not finding any other references to this custom and concludes it was not widespread, or may even be an invention of Navarro.

For full details see my website for this project: https://sites.google.com/view/danceduels/home?authuser=0

13 thoughts on “A Dance Duel Recreation – Hermankyn

  1. Fascinating — a period precedent for krumping! Thank you for presenting this. I hope we’ll see more dance duels.

  2. I would love to hear more about dance duels. Thank you for looking into a little-known area of history.

  3. This looks like a lot of fun! I’d love to learn more about the crossover from swordsmanship.

  4. I know this way not period to say and reminds of Guardians of the Galaxy. “Dance off Bro.” More likely paraphrased.

    I really like the concept this must have been really fun to research and do.

    Great Job. Thank you.

  5. It brings to mind the Ba People, who resolve all their arguments with dance! Thank you for this entry!

  6. I am now wondering how to resolve all sorts of issues with a dance duel. Thank you also for sharing the video, I got to see two do this in person and it made me smile.

  7. The history of dance is such a fascinating topic, and I’m so thrilled to see you taking on a project in this area. Now I *really* want to attend Quintavia dance practice whenever it is able to start back up!!

  8. Very cool concept, and fun to watch! Thank you for sharing! Hopefully more extant sources exist that we just haven’t found yet — I hope Navarro was portraying it accurately, because I’d love to see more of this at SCA events!

  9. This was very enjoyable to watch and learn about. I do hope to see more of this in the future.

  10. This was awesome!!! I really loved learning about Dancing Duels! And what a wonderful way to celebrate your friend’s elevation!!
    Thank you for sharing!!

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