[Callers] Gender Swapping w.s. report

Barbara Groh barbaragroh at bellsouth.net
Mon Sep 14 13:24:00 PDT 2009


Hey, fellow callers,

I had lots of great suggestions from many of you re: putting together a 
gender-swapping w.s., and a couple of people asked me to report on how it 
went.  So here goes:

The workshop took place at the Moondance weekend in S.C., and we had a good 
turnout....a couple of longways sets for most of it.  The dancers were all 
very experienced, and many of them had done some gender swapping at regular 
dances.  We spent several minutes talking about the swing, the change of arm 
position (I liked Jack's suggestion not to do the symmetrical swing at the 
w.s.), how many counts to twirl someone out of a swing, and the complaints 
that each gender can have about the other gender's bad habits in a swing. 
i.e. giving too much, or not enough, weight; forced twirls; awkward body 
positions, hanging on the shoulder of your partner.  I had folks swap gender 
roles with their partner and practice a little bit, with an opportunity to 
give each other feedback.  Then we danced a simple dance (Robert Cromartie's 
Pooh Bear's Holiday) that had a P and a N swing, but no chain.

For the next dance I had folks pair up w/ someone of the same gender.  We 
talked about the joys of a regular courtesy turn, the twirl, how to signal 
that you don't want to twirl, and how to guide the twirlee to be ready for 
the next move. I also reminded followers not to back-lead a twirl.  They 
practiced chaining in groups of four, & then we danced Summer Sunshine by 
Paul Balliet.

Before the 3rd dance, we talked about gender swapping at a regular dance 
that includes beginners, and how and when to swap back if you see someone 
coming who would be confused or irritated by your swap.

Then we just danced for the rest of the time, & folks chose same gender or 
opp. gender for each dance. I thought everyone did really well.  There was a 
little confusion, of course, as folks forgot which side to be on after a 
swing and were not able to use visual cues of gender to do the dance.   I 
was glad I stuck w/ easy dances, because the dancers had enough to think 
about.

I had several people tell me they enjoyed the workshop, so I want to thank 
all of you who took time to send suggestions.  They were very helpful!

Happy calling,
Barbara





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