[Callers] Fwd: Contra dance guests and booking ahead

Lisa Greenleaf laleaf at verizon.net
Tue Nov 22 20:46:46 PST 2005

I agree with everything everyone else has written,
especially about introducing new dancers to your
experienced friends.

It's all about networking, and I have networked with
new women I've just met in an effort to make them feel
welcome at the dance. I give them hints such as,"Try and
dance with different partners, and if someone asks you for
a second dance and you aren't comfortable with that, it's
perfectly OK to say, "I'm sorry; I've already danced with you
this evening.   I'd like to meet other people as well.'" Or if you
feel uneasy about a potential partner, just say,"No thank you,"
or "I'm sorry," smile, and walk away.  Don't take
it personally if you ask someone to dance and he refuses;
there's a lot going on in an evening and we can't know everything.

I mention the above boundary-buiding skills because at our
large urban Boston dances, we have men whom I call
Venus Flytraps.  These are the men who do not have good
social behaviors, aren't great dancers and who lie in wait for
new, unsuspecting females to enter the hall.

I know the gentleman to whom the original writer referred,
and I myself had to perform a social inetervention around him
this past Monday when I was calling at the Concord Scout
House.  I noticed he had  zeroed in on a new woman, had
danced with her twice in the first half, had done the waltz with
her and was now cornering her in conversation, under the
guise of showing  her the fine points of dance moves
(and he's a terrible dancer!).  Alarm bells went off.

All the regulars  know about this dancer and have
seen him drive women away  from the dances (and the regulars
do not like to dance with him  or near him).So I went up to two
strong women in the community, explained
that an  intervention was needed, and watched as they gently
interrupted the conversation and scooped the newcomer up into a
gaggle of women (her response, "Wow, people are friendly here!").
Then  I ran around and lined up a few partners for her for the
second half.

I contend that any well-known dancer in our community
could have  done the same thing, and others have in the past.
It was not  just because I was the caller that I could rally the
troops in such a fashion.

It's true that a lot of people complain about this man, but
I contend that everyone has a purpose, and his is to build
community,  no matter how inadvertently (he's not dangerous,
just  distasteful).  Various organizers have talked with him about
his dancing and about his lying in wait at the front entrance.
He just doesn't get it, so we have to get it and pass it on.

-- Lisa

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