Shield Dancing

A Valdutani Traditional Dance and Duel

Written by Ademal


Shield Dancing is a Valdutani tradition thought to have derived from Shalegkua. It is almost exclusively played by Parisan.   In it, two or more contestants arm themselves with only a shield and try to knock the other over using it.

It's quite the thing to see these massive, muscular Parisan doing pirouettes in the sand, then finding traction out of nowhere to launch at eachother and slam together with a great din and a show of sparks.
Archivist Gorkam

History

Shield Dancing began as a duelling sport between Valdutani nobles, but quickly grew to become ingrained in their social traditions. It became a staple performance among Valdutani festivals for there to be elaborate shows of Shield-Dancing, sometimes between entire platoons of participants.   The tradition is alive and well today, typically only celebrated by Parisan Valdutani but there's always exceptions.

Execution

Overview

At first the two combatants bow to each other from opposite sides of the arena. After that, how they act and move is up to them and their personal tactics. Some prefer to charge in, others are more guarded and careful.  

Objective

The objective of Shield Dancing is to knock your opponent over. This is called a knock. If someone is knocked down, they lose. Most matches go best out of three or best out of five.   You gain style points for cuffs and dance. Style won't win you a match, but it is graded on its own, and some Dancers put more weight into style than knocks, which is why choreographed Shield Dancing emerged.  

Cuffs Cuffs are when you hit your opponent with your shield loud enough to make a sound. Frequency, volume, and consistent rhythm are all counted into the style points gained

Dance Dances are changing in footing and body carriage. They're used to line up cuffs and knocks, and to compensate for cuffs you've received. You gain style for complexity of moves.

Components and tools

Anyone tells you you need anything more than a shield and willpower to dance, you cuff them with your shield.
— A veteran Dancer

Arena Shield Dancing can be done in any circumstance, and variety of field is considered a part of the sport, but the standard official arena is circular with a 5m diameter, lined with sand.

Shield There is no Shield dance without a shield. In official duels it's customary to use your familial shield, but for common matches there are sparring shields ranging from buckler to tower.

Observance

Shield Dances are common at faires and in plays, and are as often staged and choreographed as they are done for sport. It is not unusual for Valdutani families to have their own choreographed Shield Dances that they perform during Valdutani Family Moots.

Related Ethnicities

Trivia

Due to the nature of Shield Dances, many Dancers use elaborate costumes and tools, such as shields with shoot off sparks when struck, battlegowns with long, flowing ribbons, and choreographed dances/  
Clang
Cla—krunch
Clang
Cla—krunch
  The growling of Family Helmshigh grew.   At first it merely tickled at our ears, unnoticed amid the rhythmic crashing and crunching of their shields colliding and sending off streaking hologram sparks—they resembled wheat, the historic staple of the Helmshigh family brewers.   The growling grew, unbroken despite the way the family danced around and collided with eachother. They ricocheted in various directions, but their gravity pulled them back together.   Clang
Cla—krunch
  Their voices rose in song. The older ones held the bass. The younger held the high chorus, and all between sang the song of the family.   Clang "Proudly stands"
Cla— "Helms-high;" —krunch   Clang "Brewers of your"
Cla—"fine wine." —krunch   More accomplishments followed, but I was far too lost in their wine and dance to hear. Their beautiful voices and Dance mesmerized me. It was water in the way it flowed and crashed, it was fire in the way it curled and flickered.

Comments

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17 Oct, 2018 16:30

First of all, the layout of your article is beautiful. Well done on that! I love this idea that the Shield Dances are done for sport and entertainment. A lot of similar "sports" are either one or the other, so I like that this can be both. Are there particular families that are well known for having particularly skilled shield dancers? Are there rival "teams?"

17 Oct, 2018 17:01

Families are the spine of Valdutani culture, as it can get pretty nepotistic/dynastic at times. There are definitely families with a greater investment and pride in Shield Dancing than others, such as military families who want to prove they are all skilled shieldbearers or artists who want to show off their dancing choreography.   That's a great question, maybe later I'll add some prominent families to the trivia! Thank you for the helpful feedback!

18 Oct, 2018 14:07

I love the concept and I love the execution of the concept. <3  

It is almost exclusively played by Parisan.
  Can outsiders play? Different sophonts? Is it considered a great scandal and has the sport spread elsewhere? Kind of like how kickboxers used to go to Thailand to get their asses whomped by the muay thai champs there? Is it considered an exceptionally humiliating thing to lose to an outsider? :)  
Shield Dancing began as a duelling sport between Valdutani nobles, but quickly grew to become ingrained in their social traditions
  Do the nobles resent that their fine dueling tradition is now available to the lowly masses? Is there a divide? Old curmudgeons, hanging on to older traditions? (Also, you have 2 l's in your dueling)  
After that, how they act and move is up to them and their personal tactics.
  Are there recognized 'schools' or styles? Kind of like how in boxing you can be a counter-puncher or volume puncher, or the different types of hooks, etc?  
The objective of Shield Dancing is to knock your opponent over. This is called a knock. If someone is knocked down, they lose. Most matches go best out of three or best out of five.
  If it's going to there and I knock you down twice, does the third round still play out? Is there a way for the one behind to win somehow? Or are they doomed?    
There is no Shield dance without a shield. In official duels it's customary to use your familial shield, but for common matches there are sparring shields ranging from buckler to tower.
  Are there different leagues for different types of shields? Or is it a free for all? Is there a pro vs amateur league?   Can you make a living as a professional Shield Dancer? :)

18 Oct, 2018 21:07

I love this article, the whole thing is rich and interesting. The initial quote right at the top sets the mood and tone really well, and as always, I'm weak for a good quote. Speaking of, the formatting in the article is beautiful and very clean. The tradition itself is very detailed and interesting, I'd love to see one.
You mention that in official duels they use familial shields, does that mean just duel or the performances as well? Also, what do the familial shields look like? Do they have the family's crest on them?

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