[Callers] spiking the 'booking ahead'

Seth Tepfer labst at emory.edu
Fri May 19 05:56:53 PDT 2006

So my original post asked for pointers, not to get into a religious 
discussion about booking ahead. I should have known better. It's a volatile 
topic, and I've heard many people speak out against caller intervention 
into dancer's personal affairs.

I'm disappointed that there aren't more pointers about how to encourage 
dancing on the fly (or not booking ahead). However, since I've invoked this 
discussion, I might as well put in my two bits.

I've heard :
* it's manipulation - won't work for the long run and builds resentment 
(and the caller loses dancer trust/caller points)
* it's not the caller's business who the dancer's dance with
* some dancer's only do one dance in a row
* manipulation might pair dancers who have antipathy toward each other
* dancers come to dance with their friends. If they don't book ahead, they 
won't get to dance with them.

Okay. I acknowledge the masses. Forcing partners after a circle mixer seems 
to be bad.

I've heard numerous defenses for choosing your partner for future dances. 
But I do not hear discussion or acknowledgement about why booking ahead is 
detrimental to the community.

Booking ahead
* creates an 'elite' micro-community - those who are dancing, and those who 
are not.
* makes it very challenging for those who are sitting out to get a dance 
* makes the dance intimidating and less welcoming for new dancers
* clumps the levels of dance experience together, making it more 
challenging to call dances
* creates an atmosphere of exclusivity
* reduces the amount of social mixing, thereby reducing the primary reason 
people come to the dance - to meet people!

I posit that booking ahead *IS* the domain of the caller, because it is 
detrimental to the long term health of the dance. However, I will 
acknowledge there are plenty of dance series where booking ahead has been 
the rule for many years, and they are still chugging along quite nicely, 
thank you very much. 

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