[Callers] Gender free dances

Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing winston at slac.stanford.edu
Sun Dec 5 10:52:30 PST 2010

Greg wrote:

> 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.

All the references I've read to the all-male dances at the mining camps:

 - don't mention contra dancing
 - do mention wearing armbands to distinguish roles
 - call out waltzes and polkas

so given that it seems to have been all-couple dancing and no called dancing,
there wasn't a lot of need for terminology.

(Incidentally, the gender-free couple dance is the only place where I feel
fully comfortable calling the roles "lead" and "follow" because that's what
they are.)

-- Alan

 Disclaimer: I speak only for myself, not SLAC or SSRL   Phone:  650/926-3056
 Paper mail to: SSRL -- SLAC BIN 99, 2575 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park CA   94025

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