[Callers] Gender free dances

Greg McKenzie gregmck at earthlink.net
Sun Dec 5 10:30:38 PST 2010

I was hired to call a dance and noticed, when I arrived, that there 
were only two other men in the room besides myself.  When I commented 
on this I was informed that the group who hired me was a local 
lesbian club.  They specifically asked that I not make any 
accommodations, even though many of them were new to contras.  I 
believe that they made a point of NOT informing me of their makeup 
specifically so that I would not try to dance around the gender specific terms.

It worked out very well.  All had a great time, and this in spite of 
the fact that there were also two deaf dancers in the room as well.

Attitude is a key factor.  I understand a lot of dances were called 
here in California at mining towns during the gold rush.  The men 
danced with each other and half of them played the part of ladies.  I 
don't think they ever asked for "gender neutral" terms.  A few shots 
of whisky probably helped as well.

- Greg

At 10:02 AM 12/2/2010, Susie wrote:
>    I have been asked to call for a new dance group forming in a small town
>    near our regular dance. Experienced dancers were asked to come help
>    these absolute newbies, and some local musicians have volunteered their
>    services. It became obvious that about half the dancers were lesbians
>    who asked me to use non gender specific terms when calling. I tried
>    'lead' and 'follow' because the syllable numbers worked, but I'm not
>    happy with that. I also had some regular dancers comment on not wanting
>    to deal with 'some' peoples' political agendas as related to contra
>    calling. I have never dealt with gender free calling and would
>    appreciate ANY help from those of you who may have been doing it for
>    years. What terms seem to work best? Any other hints to make things go
>    more smoothly?  These people are very enthusiastic and I want to see
>    the dance succeed.
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